by Kristen Bagwell
It seems like just yesterday that our USA athletes wowed the audiences in Beijing and here at home, but it's been 4 years already! Starting tomorrow morning, team USA will be taking on competitors from all over the world in various London, England venues. The Olympic Games' opening ceremonies begin tonight, but the sporting events themselves started yesterday (women's football / soccer).
Why do we even celebrate the Olympics, you ask? According to legend, the ancient Olympic Games were founded by Heracles (Greek), a son of Zeus. The first Olympic Games show on written records were held in 776 BCE, although it is generally believed that the Games started many years earlier. At the first Olympic Games, a naked runner, Coroebus, won the sole event at the Olympics, the stade: a run of approximately 192 meters (210 yards). This made Coroebus the very first Olympic champion in history.
The ancient Olympic Games grew and continued to be played every four years for almost 1200 years. In 393 CE, the Roman emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, abolished the Games because of their pagan influences. Roughly 1500 years later, a Frenchmen named Pierre de Coubertin began their revival. In 1894, Coubertin brought together a council of 79 delegates from 9 countries and basically persuaded them to reinstate the Olympic Games. The council voted unanimously to do just that, and became the first International Olympic Council (IOC). The first Games with IOC presence were held in 1896, and were cancelled during the first and second world wars. (Thank you, wikipedia.com!)Back to "what's happening this weekend..." Between July 25 and August 12, over 10,000 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees will compete in 29 sports. NBC will be the primary TV broadcast channel, and will share the programming across some of their subsidiary channels. Tune in tonight at 6:30pm to catch the opener, and then check your local listings to decide what you want to view and when.
More info about the Olympic Games from www.nbcolympics.com:
Officially, there are 26 medal sports on the Olympic program for the 2012 London Games, with 39 associated disciplines. NBCOlympics.com considers certain "disciplines" to be "sports," such as diving and swimming (instead of combining them under Aquatics as the IOC does), and thus presents a total of 32 different sports.
Following the 2008 Beijing Games, two sports -- softball and baseball -- were cut from the Olympic program. No sports have been added for London, but the total number of medal events remains 302. Notable new events include women's boxing (three weight classes), mixed doubles in tennis and Omnium racing in track cycling.
Television coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games begins at 4am tomorrow (Women's Beach Volleyball). To see the scores, schedules, results and more, click here and you'll be able to search by sport. This website also allows you to input your ZIP code and it will spit out the listings for you. Very handy!
These Games bring so many parenting opportunities: sportsmanship, dedication, focus, hard work...will you use the Games as a teaching ground for your own family?