About The Olympic Games
The Olympic Games are an international sports festival, held every four years. The ultimate goals are to cultivate human beings, through sport, and contribute to world peace. Summer Games and Winter Games are held separately.
In 2012, the commemorative XXX Olympic Games were held in London, with athletes from 204 countries and regions participating in 26 sports, with a total of 302 separate events.
The Ancient Olympic Games
The history of the Olympics began some 2,300 years ago. Their origin lays in the Olympian Games, which were held in the Olympia area of ancient Greece. Although there are some theories on its initial purposes, the Games have been said to have started as a festival of art and sport, to worship gods. The ancient Olympic Games, however, ended in 393 because of the outbreaks of wars in the region in which they were held.
The Modern Olympic Games
After a 1,500 year absence of the ancient Olympic Games, the event was resumed in the late nineteenth century, thanks to the efforts of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a French educator. In 1894, his proposal to revive the Olympic Games was unanimously approved at the International Congress in Paris, and the first Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece, two years later. He also devised the five-ring emblem that is familiar to most people as the Games’ symbol, which represents the unity of the five continents.
The Olympic Games in Japan
The “Father of the Olympic Movement” in Japan is Jigoro Kano – a man who also contributed to the propagation of judo - who was the president of the Tokyo Higher Normal School (the present day University of Tsukuba). In 1909, he was appointed a member of the International Olympic Committee for the first time as an Asian and established the Japan Amateur Athletic Association (today’s Japan Sports Association) to realize the participation of Japanese athletes in the Olympics. The selection of athletes for the Olympics was carried out in 1911, when Yahiko Mishima, a track athlete, and Shiso Kanaguri, a marathon runner, were chosen to represent Japan. Japanese athletes participated in the Olympic Games (the V Olympic Games) for the first time in Stockholm, Sweden in 1912.
Olympism, the spirit of the Olympic Games advocated by Coubertin, is “The elevation of the mind and soul, overcoming differences between nationalities and cultures, embracing friendship, a sense of solidarity, and fair play; ultimately leading to the contribution towards world peace and the betterment of the world. “ This philosophy has been passed down, unchanged, to this day, so Coubertin is considered to be the “Father of the modern Olympics”.
Since the word “environment” was recently added to “sports” and “culture” as a theme of the Games, the Olympics have also provided an opportunity for people to consider the global environment. In these Games, the excitement and emotions generated by the athletes, together with the environmental themes, will unite people across the world.
(This article is reproduced by the courtesy of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.〈As of July 1st, 2015.〉)