Lighting the torch: 2012 Summer Olympics approach

Two and a half weeks, 26 sports, over 200 countries all vying for gold, silver and bronze; the 2012 Summer Olympics begins in July.

This year the games will be taking place in London; sports will range from basketball, cycling and tennis to archery, judo and gymnastics. There will be thousands of athletes, but only three from each category will walk away with an Olympic medal.

The last Summer Olympics took place in Beijing, China; the United States team walked away with a total of 110 medals, the third highest medal earning record our country has had since the modern day Olympics were created in 1896, according to nbcolympics.com.

Before the athletes start competing for the coveted gold, a time honored tradition must take place: the relay of the Olympic torch.

“It’s great to watch the relay and then see it (the Olympic cauldron) lit at the opening ceremony,” student Sean Clancy said. “It’s cool to know that the flame traveled so far, between so many people.”

This year the torch will be relayed between 8,000 people nominated by someone who finds them to be an inspiration, according to london2012.com, the official Olympic games website.

The torch will travel to more than 1,000 locations starting in Greece and ending in London, relayed through the means of horseback, steam train and even on a zip line according to the website.

Student Adonia Palaeio enjoys seeing the torch get handed off between runners.

“It’s going to be fun watching the torch travel using forms other than running, but it’s hard not to think that the torch won’t go out somehow,” Palaeio said.

When it comes to the Olympic games, everyone has their favorite countries they are rooting for.

“Of course you have to root for the U.S.A.,” Palaeio said. “But I gotta show some love for Belize too, my family is from there.”

When it come to sports, everyone has their favorites, too.

“I like watching cycling, archery and water polo,” student Mike Neill said. “It’s fun watching the final rounds when the last four competitors are going for the gold; that’s the best part about watching the Games.”

The Olympics are all about competition, but the Games also aim to bring the world together.

“It’s cool to see all the people from different countries gathered together to see and participate in something so unique,” Clancy said.

This year the Olympics are aiming to build a better world through sport, according to Olympic.org, the official website of the International Olympic Committee. The Committee will be promoting three Olympic values: excellence, respect and friendship.

THE HISTORY

The Olympic games began in Ancient Greece as a way to pay homage to the Olympian gods and continued on for 12 centuries until they were banned in 393 A.D. because the Olympic gods were considered to be part of pagan worship, according Olympic.org. The ancient games included running, long jump, the discus throw, shot put, javelin, boxing, wrestling and equestrian events.

The modern day Olympics were born in 1896 and took place in Athens, Greece. Only 14 countries participated in the games, including the United States. According to the website, an American long jumper, James Connolly, was the first person to earn a gold medal; making him the first champion in more than 1,500 years.

For the next few weeks, The Telescope will be publishing brief descriptions of most of the Olympic sports, including facts, history, and how the games are played. Keep checking back on the website for the most recent articles.

INTERESTING FACTS

Source: london2012.com

-  The Olympic torch is lit from the sun’s rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece before it is delivered to the host country.

-  During the Opening Ceremony, teams enter the Olympic stadium in alphabetical order according to the language of the host country; with the exception of the Greek team, which enters first, and the host country team, which enters last.

-   During a victory ceremony, the flags of the winning athletes’ countries are raised and the national anthem of gold medalist’s country is played.

-   There will be 305 victory ceremonies at the London 2012 summer Olympics.

nsoldoff@the-telescope.com

Author: Natalie Soldoff

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