US Olympics and their Olympians have been dominating The Olympic Games for quite a while now. And whether it is because the US is the richest Country in the World per capita, or whether they have the best technology for now, or whether they offer the best opportunity for one and all to live out their dreams, all can be debated. But one thing is for sure, The US Olympic Athletes who compete in The Olympic Games, always put pressure on their opponents and force them all to step up their game. And you already know as well, that there is nothing like A Gold Medal to prove yourself as not only the best in your Country, but also The Very Best in The World. And so today we will look at some history about The Olympics, and about some Great Athletes:
Olympia, the site of the ancient Olympic Games, is in the western part of the Peloponnese which, according to Greek mythology, is the island of "Pelops", the founder of the Olympic Games. Imposing temples, votive buildings, elaborate shrines and ancient sporting facilities were combined in a site of unique natural and mystical beauty. Olympia functioned as a meeting place for worship and other religious and political practices as early as the 10th century B.C. The central part of Olympia was dominated by the majestic temple of Zeus, with the temple of Hera parallel to it.
Olympic Flame: The Olympic flame has been part of the games since the ancient Olympics and is associated with positive values. The Olympic flame can only be lit by the sun’s rays and is lit months before the opening of the Games for the torch relay that carries the flame to the host city for the opening ceremony.
What’s an Olympiad?
An Olympiad refers to a period of four years. This term was used during the ancient Olympic Games to refer to a specific competition. Back then, an Olympiad started with the Games.
In the modern Olympic Games, an Olympiad is a period of four consecutive years based on the calendar. 2012 is the start of a new Olympiad, so you will often hear the London Olympic Games referred to as “the Games of the 30th Olympiad.”
The Special Olympics all began in the early 1960s, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver saw how unjustly and unfairly people with intellectual disabilities were treated. She also saw that many children with special needs didn’t even have a place to play. She decided to take action. Soon, her vision began to take shape, as she held a summer day camp for young people with intellectual disabilities in her own backyard. The goal was to learn what these children could do in sports and other activities – and not dwell on what they could not do. This vision eventually grew into the global Special Olympics movement
At the age of 18, Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) won the Light Heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics. At the age of 54 and suffering from Parkinson's disease, Ali lit the torch at the opening ceremony of the 1996 Atlanta Games. Additionally, Ali was given a new gold medal to replace the one he earned – but no longer possessed – from the 1960 Olympics (supposedly, Ali threw the original gold medal in the Ohio River, after being refused service at a "whites-only" restaurant).
Conn Findlay's - Olympics: 1956, 1960, 1964, 1976 Medals: 4 (2 gold, 2 bronze)
One of just a few athletes with medals in two distinct disciplines, Conn Findlay's Olympic odyssey began with a distinguished rowing career in which he won medals at three consecutive Summer Games. Twelve years after retiring, he re-entered the Olympic arena at age 46 as a sailor and took bronze in the mixed two person keel-boat event.
The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team accomplished great things in the 2004 Athens Games, when Abby Wambach scored the winning goal against Brazil in overtime – earning the team their second gold medal in eight years. And for those who are wondering, this was not the women's soccer victory in which defender/midfielder Brandi Chastain took off her jersey to expose her sports bra (that would be the 1999 Women's World Cup
Helen Wills (Tennis) Olympics: 1924 Medals: 2 (both gold)
At the 1924 Paris Olympics, Helen Wills became the first woman to capture both the singles and doubles tennis titles (a feat since matched just once, by Venus Williams in 2000). A titanic figure in the sport, Wills was among the first American female athletes to gain international celebrity
Florence Griffith-Joyner (also known as Flo-Jo) won three gold medals in the track and field competition at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100 meters relay competitions, resulting in Flo-Jo being christened "the fastest woman of all time." Despite rumors of steroid use, Griffith-Joyner was tested during the competition and did not fail any drug tests. Sadly, Griffith-Joyner would die at the age of 38 in 1998, due to suffocation during an epileptic seizure
Connie Carpenter-Phinney (Cycling) - Olympics: 1984 Medals: 1 (gold)
Twelve years after she competed as a long-distance speed skater at the 1972 Winter Olympics, Connie Carpenter-Phinney, then age 27, won the first-ever women's road race—edging fellow American Rebecca Twigg by less than a tire length. Carpenter-Phinney's son, Taylor Phinney, is now among America's best young Olympic cyclists and is slated to compete in London.
After U.S. runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos won gold and bronze medals, respectively, at the 200 meter race during the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, they realized that they'd have the world's attention when it came time to accept their medals at the podium. Subsequently, each donned one black glove each, and raised their fists (among other symbolic gestures, including wearing black socks with no shoes, a scarf, an unzipped jacket and a bead necklace), which were all meant to signify a variety of human rights statements
Oscar De La Hoya (Boxing) - Olympics: 1992 Medals: 1 (gold)
Oscar De La Hoya first made headlines at the 1992 Barcelona Games, both for his boxing prowess and the vow he made to his dying mother two years earlier that he would win an Olympic gold medal. De La Hoya made good on that promise by defeating German foe Marco Rudolph, the first of many noteworthy accomplishments in his legendary boxing career
Gymnast Mary Lou Retton suffered one of the most peculiar injuries right after the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1984 – she hurt her knee while signing autographs, resulting in an injury that required surgery. Retton overcame this obstacle by becoming the first female gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title from outside Eastern Europe – in addition to taking two silver and two bronze medals the same year. Subsequently, Retton was named Sports Illustrated's Sportwoman of the Year, and can be forgiven for hosting Funfit – a series of short segments similar to The Jane Fonda Workout . . . but for youngsters.
Gail Devers (Track) - Olympics: 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 Medals: 3 (all gold)
Diagnosed with a severe autoimmune illness known as Graves' disease in 1990, Gail Devers overcame the malady to forge one of the longest and most successful careers in women's sprinting history. Devers won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the 100-meter dash (just the second woman to do so) and added a third title running the second leg of Team USA's 1996 victory in the 4x100 relay.
Carl Lewis did his very best to match the unbelievable record of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, who netted a total of four gold medals. And Carl Lewis did indeed manage to accomplish this goal, taking the gold in the following categories – 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump. Lewis would go on to further success in subsequent Olympic games, earning two gold medals in 1988, two more in 1992, plus another one in 1996 – resulting in a total of nine gold medals during his Olympic career
At the Munich Olympics in 1972, Mark Spitz (and his studly 'stache) would win a total of seven gold medals. Thirty-six years later, at the 2008 Bejing Games, Michael Phelps (and his studly six pack) would top Spitz's mark, by earning a total of eight gold medals: 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, 200m freestyle, 200m individual medley, 400m individual medley, 4×100m freestyle relay, 4×200m freestyle relay and 4×100m medley relay
Dara Torres, Swimmer 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, and 2008 Olympics
Some have called her a middle-aged miracle, and she has 12 Olympic medals to prove it. With four gold, four silver, and four bronze medals, Torres has proven to be an international Olympic sensation for the past two decades. After having reconstructive knee surgery and giving birth to her first daughter, Torres returned to the 2012 Olympic trials in hopes of making a splash once again during the London Games. Her Olympic career came to an end, this summer, after coming in fourth place and not qualifying during the 2012 Summer Olympic Trials.
The 1980 Soviet Olympic hockey team was touted as unbeatable – after all, the Russians had taken the gold in nearly every Olympic tournament since 1954. But someone forgot to send the memo to a largely unknown coach from Minnesota (Herb Brooks) and his rag-tag group of collegiate and amateur players, that comprised the U.S. men's hockey team. On February 22nd, 1980, the U.S. shocked the world by beating the Russians, 4-3. Two days later, they would beat Finland, and capture the gold medal. A film would be made about their improbable story in 2004, Miracle, starring Kurt Russell as Brooks
The New Mexico native, Trent Dimas, was the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics outside American soil. Dimas failed to make the 1988 Olympic Games, but four years later, went on to win the gold medal during the 1992 Olympic Games in Spain. After retiring from gymnastics, he went on to coach and serve as goodwill ambassador for the sport. He was inducted into the U.S.A. Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2002.
The Olympic Games is a chance for Legends to be made, especially for The US Olympic Athletes. Also for You, the Fans, to appreciate greatness, along with courageous human capabilities. And those attributes will inspire you in your own life, to become the very best in all that you do. But first, you had to learn the History of the Olympics, and the great athletes who represent The US Olympics. James Dazouloute