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The Olympic Games
Winter 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada

Canada map
Vancouver, in southwestern Canada, hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. For information and activities on Canada, click here. For a page on Canada's flag, click here.
The 2010 Winter Olympics will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The opening ceremonies are on February 12, 2010; the closing ceremonies are on February 28, 2010. Over 80 countries will send a total of over 5,500 athletes to the competitions. This is the third Olympics held in Canada (the other Canadian Olympics were the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary).

The motto of the 21st Vancouver Olympics is With glowing hearts / Des plus brillants exploits, excerpts from the English and French versions of the Canadian national anthem, O Canada!.

The Ancient Olympics:
The ancient Greeks dedicated the Olympic Games to the god Zeus. The original games were held on the plain of Olympia in Peloponnesos, Greece.

The Greeks held the first Olympic games in the year 776 BC (over 2700 years ago), and had only one event, a sprint (a short run that was called the "stade"). The race was run by men who competed in the nude. A wreath of olive branches was placed on the winner's head (in Greek, this is called a kotinos). The olive tree was the sacred tree of Athens, Greece.

Women were neither allowed to compete in the games nor to watch them, because the games were dedicated to Zeus and were therefore meant for men.

The four-year period between the Olympic games was called an olympiad. Every four years, for 1,170 years, the Greeks held an Olympics, which continued to grow and change. Many other sports were added, including other races, wrestling, boxing, pentathlon (five events, including the long jump, javelin throw, discus throw, foot race, and wrestling), and equestrian events (events with horses and people, like chariot races and horse races) The Olympic games were banned by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II in the year AD 394.

The Modern Olympic Games:
Over a fifteen hundred years later, Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin (1863-1937) (a French educator and sportsman) revived the Olympic Games. An all-male Olympic games were held in 1896, in Athens, Greece. The first winter Olympics were held in 1924, in Chamonix, France.

The Flag of the Olympic Games:
The flag of the Olympic Games has five interlocking rings (blue, yellow, black, green, and red) on a white ground. The rings represent the five parts of the world that were joined together in the Olympic movement: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe. Baron de Coubertin designed the flag of the Olympics in 1913-1914.

The Olympic flag was first used in the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium. The Olympic flag is paraded during the opening ceremony of each Olympic Games. At the end of an Olympics, the mayor of the host-city presents the flag to the mayor of the next host-city. The flag will remain in the town hall of the next host-city until the next Olympic Games, four years later.

History of the Olympic Flame
flameThe tradition of the Olympic flame began during the ancient Olympic Games, over 2700 years ago in Greece. A flame was lit for each Olympics, every four years, and it burned throughout the games. The flame symbolized the death and rebirth of Greek heroes. There was no torch relay in the ancient Olympics. The first torch relay took place at the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany.

The Torches of the Olympics:
torch 2004For each Olympics, a new flame is started in the ancient Olympic stadium in Olympia, Elis, Greece, using a parabolic mirror to focus the rays of the Sun. This flame begins its Olympic Torch Relay by touring Greece. The flame is normally taken to the country where the games will be held (usually by airplane). Following that, the flame is then carried around the country where the games are to be held, using a series of torches carried by people running, walking, riding horses and camels, scuba diving, and using other means of human conveyance. The last runner uses a torch to light the large Olympic torch which burns throughout the games. The flame is extinguished during the closing ceremony. A new Olympic torch is designed for each of the games.

The Olympic Motto:
The Olympic motto is, "Citius, Altius, Fortius," which means "Swifter, Higher, Stronger."

Olympic Events:
The events in the Summer Olympics include: archery, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, football (soccer), gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, kayaking, marathon, pentathlon, ping pong, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, taekwando, tennis, track and field (many running, jumping, and throwing events), triathlon, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, wrestling (freestyle and Greco-Roman).

The events in the Winter Olympics include: ice hockey, figure skating, speed skating, snowboarding, luge, bobsleigh, skeleton (a type of sledding), curling, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, slalom, downhill (Alpine) skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined (skiing plus ski jumping), and biathlon (skiing and shooting).

Olympic Medals:
At the Ancient Olympics, a wreath of olive branches was placed on the winner's head (in Greek, this is called a kotinos).

At the modern Olympics, each first-place winner receives a gold medal, each second-place winner receives a silver medal, and each third-place winner receives a bronze medal (the bronze medal was introduced in 1904). Different medals are designed for each new Olympics. Certificates called victory diplomas are also given to many top winners in each sport.

Sites of the Modern-Day Olympics:
Locations of the Modern-Day Summer Olympics Locations of the Modern-Day Winter Olympics
1896 - Athens, Greece
1900 - Paris, France
1904 - St. Louis, Missouri, USA
1906 - Athens, Greece
1908 - London, England
1912 - Stockholm, Sweden
1916 - Canceled
1920 - Antwerp, Belgium
1924 - Paris, France
1928 - Amsterdam, Holland
1932 - Los Angeles, California, USA
1936 - Berlin, Germany
1940 - Canceled
1944 - Canceled
1948 - London, England
1952 - Helsinki, Finland
1956 - Melbourne, Australia
1960 - Rome, Italy
1964 - Tokyo, Japan
1968 - Mexico City, Mexico
1972 - Munich, Germany
1976 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada
1980 - Moscow, USSR
1984 - Los Angeles, California, USA
1988 - Seoul, South Korea
1992 - Barcelona, Spain
1996 - Atlanta, Georgia, USA
2000 - Sydney, Australia
2004 - Athens, Greece
2008 - Beijing, China
2012 - London, United Kingdom
2016 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2020 - Tokyo, Japan

1924 - Chamonix, France
1928 - St. Moritz, Switzerland
1932 - Lake Placid, New York, USA
1936 - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
1940 - Canceled
1944 - Canceled
1948 - St. Moritz, Switzerland
1952 - Oslo, Norway
1956 - Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
1960 - Squaw Valley, California, USA
1964 - Innsbruck, Austria
1968 - Grenoble, France
1972 - Sapporo, Japan
1976 - Innsbruck, Austria
1980 - Lake Placid, New York, USA
1984 - Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
1988 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1992 - Albertville, France
1994 - Lillehammer, Norway
1998 - Nagano, Japan
2002 - Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
2006 - Turin, Italy
2010 - Vancouver, Canada
2014 - Sochi, Russia
2018 - PyeongChang, South Korea

Olympics-Related Books to Print:

Olympics Games Activity Book

Print a short, printable, Olympic-theme book with activities including connect the dots, color by number, a maze, finish the drawing, unscramble the words, wordsearch puzzle, and a word path puzzle.

Olympics Book Printout

Print a short book about the Olympics, with pages on the ancient Olympics, the Olympic flame, the Olympic flag, the Summer and Winter Games, Olympic awards, and recent Olympic locations.

Greece: Tab Book

A book about Greece for fluent readers with pages on the map, flag, language, Ancient Greece, the Olympics, and the Greek Gods and Mount Olympus.

Olympics-Related Printouts, Worksheets, and Activities:

The Olympic Flag

Color an Olympics flag and read about the man who revived the Olympics and designed its flag.

Olive Branch Wreath Printout

Color an olive branch wreath (a kotinos), which was placed on the head of a winner of the ancient Greek Olympics.

Olympic Flame and the Torch Relay Worksheet

Color the Olympic flame, read about it, and answer three reading comprehension questions. Or go to the answers.
Word Wheel

Olympics Word Wheel

Make an Olympics word wheel using this 2-page print-out; it consists of a base page together with a wheel that spins around. When you spin the wheel, eight Olympics words are formed, one at a time: athlete, torch, sports, medal, Greece, team, flame, and wreath. The student then writes down the Olympics word wheel words.
Olympics Quiz

to use with the Picture Dictionary Little Explorers. Print out the quiz (for Grades 2-3), then find the answers online using the Little Explorers picture dictionary. This is a fun scavenger hunt activity for students. Or go to the answers.

Olympics Crossword Puzzle

See how many Olympic Game terms you know.


Geography, maps, the flag, and printouts on Greece.

Greek Alphabet

See the 24-character alphabet and read about its ancient history.
Sports code

Sports Alphabet Code

Use the alphabet code to find the secret sports message. Answer: "It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game."
Invent A New Olympic Sport

There are many unusual Olympic sports, like skeleton (running and then sledding), biathlon (skiing plus shooting), and curling (using brooms to propel an object over ice). Make up a new sport that would be fun to watch and play, then write about it.
My Favorite Sport

What is your favorite sport? Why do you like it, and what do you like best about it?.
Jesse Owens

One of the greatest track and field athletes of all time.
comprehension quiz

The Olympics Multiple Choice Comprehension Quiz

Print a multiple choice quiz on the Olympics. Or go to the answers.
Cloze Activity on Jesse Owens

Print a fill-in-the-blanks activity on Jesse Owens. Or go to the answers.
find related words

Write Olympics-Related Words

Think of and write eight words related to the Olympics. Then, for each word, write a sentence containing the word. Sample words: games, sports, race, win, lose, medal, gold, silver.
Spelling words

The Olympics Spelling Word Questions

Use the list of spelling words related to the Olympics to answer simple questions. Words: sports, game, torches, Greece, arena, win, medal, gold, silver, bronze. Or go to the answers.

The Olympics Wordsearch Puzzle

Find the Olympics-related words in the wordsearch puzzle, then use the extra letters to find the secret message: "Olympic games." Or go to the answers.
box shapes

The Olympics Word Shape Puzzle:
4-letter words

Solve a word and letter-shape puzzle based on four-letter Olympics-related words. Words: gold, goal, puck, skis, team, sled, luge, jump, race, flag. Or go to the answers.
Write a Sentence

Write a Sentence for Each Sports-Related Word

Write a sentence for each of the sports spelling words. Words: race, run, jump, team, win, lose, champion, play, sports, game.
acrostic poem

Write an Olympics Acrostic Poem

Write a poem about the Olympics. Start each line with a letter from the word "Olympics."
acrostic poem

Write a GAMES Acrostic Poem

Write a poem about games. Start each line with a letter from the word "GAMES."
Write Words by Category

Write Olympics Words by Category

Write 5 Olympics words for each category. The categories include: Winter Sports, Winter Sports Equipment, Summer Sports, Summer Sports Equipment equipment, Champions, Host Cities, Awards, and Miscellaneous Olympics Words. Or go to sample answers.
writing prompt

Write Ten Things About the Olympics

A one-page printable worksheet. Write ten things about the Olympics (plus one thing you would like to change about it).
Olympics Word for Each Letter

Olympic Games: Find an Olympics-Related Word for Each Letter

See if you can think of and write down an Olympic Games-related word that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Or go to a sample answer page.

Sports: K-3 Theme Page

Printouts, books, quizzes, and activities about sports.
Turin, Italy, hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics. For information on Italy, click here. For a page on Italy's flag, click here The opening ceremonies were on Friday, February 10, 2006; the closing ceremonies were on Sunday, February 26, 2006.
Beijing, China, hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics. For information on China, click here. For a page on China's flag, click here The opening ceremonies were on August 8, 2008; the closing ceremonies were on August 24, 2008.

Medals to Print Out and Award to Kids:
Student Medals 1

Medals you can print, decorate, and award to students for outstanding performances in sports, spelling, math, and other subjects. Black-and-white or color printouts.
Student Medals 2

Medals you can print, decorate, and award to students for outstanding performances in sports, spelling, math, and other subjects. Black-and-white or color printouts.
Student Medals 3

Medals you can print, decorate, and award to students for outstanding performances in sports, spelling, math, and other subjects. Black-and-white or color printouts.

Easy-to-make medals to award at parties! This is not a printout, but a simple craft made from the lid of a frozen juice can.


The official site of the Olympics

The 2000 Sydney Olympic Torch

The Olympic Medals - Sydney 2000 - see the Australian and Greek imagery in the medals awarded to the winners.

Information on Greece, including maps, the flag, printouts, quizzes, and coloring activities.

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