On August 13, 2004 the XXVIII Olympiad will begin in Athens, Greece, the 776 BCE birthplace of the original games and host of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. This year, nearly 10,500 athletes will compete in twenty-eight sports, vying for 903 medals. Many time zones away, we will be watching and clicking.
"Were the ancient games better than ours? More fair and square? More about sports and less about money? Are modern games more sexist? More political? Have we strayed from the ancient Olympic ideal? Read on and decide for yourself." There is much talk of how commercial today's Olympic games are. Where the ancient games purer? The conclusion drawn by this expert from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology may surprise you.
The Internet address (or URL) of the kids section of the official Athens 2004 site is so long, that the easiest way to get there is simply to click on Youth 2004 from this front page. Best kid clicks are the interactive quizzes that test your knowledge of Olympic sports (look in the Playground) and the printable activity books. The printable books include K-12 classroom activities, and a Greek fairy tale, Desina and the Dove. To find them, visit the Library and click on Olympic Educational Material.
If you're looking for one Olympic site that has it all, this is it. As the official Olympics broadcaster, NBC Olympics includes news coverage, commentaries, event schedules, television schedules (there will be over 1200 hours of TV coverage), sport-by-sport analysis, reader polls and photo galleries. Click on O-Zone to zip code customize the site to display stories about local Olympic heroes. Unique features include instructions on text messaging the athletes (look under Athletes) and an interactive globe featuring the best athletes from each country (under Countries.)
The five interlacing rings of blue, yellow, black, green, and red became the official Olympic logo in 1913. "The Olympic rings represent the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes throughout the world at the Olympic Games. However, contrary to a popular misconception, the colors themselves do not represent any single continent. The colors were chosen because at least one of these colors is found in the flag of every nation." Chock full of historical tidbits, this concise site is great place to find answers to your Olympic questions.
Scholastic covers the 2004 Games in six sections. In History of the Games, my favorite clicks are the photo slide show, and the article on Olympic Controversies, such as medals that have been rescinded and doping (" use of prohibited drugs by an athlete to enhance his or her performance in a sport.") In Get in the Game, don't miss It's Greek to Me, where you can learn about Greek influences on the English language. Did you see "My Big Fat Greek Wedding?" "Give me a word, any word, and I will show you how the root of that word is Greek!"