The Official Olympic Flag: It was created by Pierre de Coubertin in 1914 and first flown during the 1920 Olympic Games. It contains five interconnected rings on a white background. Each ring symbolizes one of the significant continents. They are interconnected to symbolize the friendship to be gained from these international competitions. The rings, from left to right, are blue, yellow, black, green, and red. The colors were chosen because at least one of them appeared on the flag of every country in the world.
The Olympic Motto: In 1921, Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games, borrowed a Latin phrase from his friend, Father Henri Didon, for the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius which stands for “Swifter, Higher, Stronger.”
The Olympic Flame: The Olympic flame is a practice continued from the ancient Olympic Games. In Olympia (Greece), a flame was ignited by the sun and then kept burning until the closing of the Olympic Games. The flame first appeared in the modern Olympics at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. In 1936, the chairman of the organizing committee for the 1936 Olympic Games, Carl Diem, suggested what is now the modern Olympic Torch relay. The Olympic flame is lit at the ancient site of Olympia by women wearing ancient-style robes and using a curved mirror and the sun. The Olympic Torch is then passed from runner to runner from the ancient site of Olympia to the Olympic stadium in the hosting city. The flame is then kept alight until the Games have concluded. This Olympic Torch relay represents a continuation from the ancient Olympic Games to the modern Olympics.
Real Gold Medals: The last Olympic gold medals that were made entirely out of gold were awarded in 1912.
Current Medals: The Olympic medals are designed especially for each individual Olympic Games by the host city’s organizing committee. Each medal must be at least three millimeters thick and 60 millimeters in diameter. The gold and silver Olympic medals must be made out of 92.5 percent silver, with the gold medal covered in six grams of gold.
The First Opening Ceremonies: The first opening ceremonies were held during the 1908 Olympic Games in London.
Opening Ceremony Procession Order: During the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, the procession of athletes is always led by the Greek team, followed by all the other teams in alphabetical order (in the language of the hosting country), except for the last team which is always the team of the hosting country.
A City, Not a Country: When choosing locations for the Olympic Games, the IOC specifically gives the honor of holding the Games to a city rather than a country.
First Modern Champion: James B. Connolly of the United States was the winner of the hop, step, and jump (the first final event in the 1896 Olympics). He was the first Olympic champion of the modern Olympic Games.
Women: Women were first allowed to participate in 1900 at the second modern Olympic Games. This year, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, it is the first time there is a female athlete from every country.
Winter Games: The winter Olympic Games were first held in 1924, beginning a tradition of holding them a few months earlier and in a different city than the summer Olympic Games. Beginning in 1994, the winter Olympic Games were held in completely different years (two years apart) than the summer Games.
Cancelled Games: Because of World War I and World War II, there were no Olympic Games in 1916, 1940, or 1944.