Summer Olympics Facts for Kids

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The summer Olympic games is a time for celebration as athletes from hundreds of countries compete in numerous athletic competitions. The competitions are broadcast around the word on TV and other media. The Summer Olympic games take place every four years, with all the pomp, circumstance, thrills and competition of the athletes competing for historic records and medals.

Ancient Olympics

Olympia, Greece was home to the first recorded ancient Olympic Games in 776 B.C. The ancient Olympic Games were held as a religious ceremony from 776 B.C. until A.D. 393, when they were banned due to religious reasons. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a French educator, proposed a revival of the ancient traditions in 1894.

Modern Olympics

The first modern-day Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece in 1896. However, women were not allowed to compete until 1900. Due to World War I and World War II, there were no Olympic Games in 1916, 1940 and 1944. The Olympics were first covered on American TV in 1960, when the Games were hosted in Rome. The symbol for the Olympics is a series of five rings. The colors of the rings -- blue, yellow, black, green and red -- represent the major regions of the world: Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Participating Countries

The 2004 Games in Athens, Greece featured 202 competing countries. Many of these countries have also hosted the Games, though there have never been any Games hosted in Africa or South America. However, the 2016 summer Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, so at that point Africa will be the only continent that has not been a host site.


The summer Olympic Games revolve around many different sporting events, including archery, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, kayak, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, gymnastics, handball, judo, modern pentathlon, mountain biking, rowing, sailing, shooting, soccer, swimming, synchronized swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, track and field, triathlon, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling. A pentathlon is a competition of five sporting events: shooting, fencing, swimming, show jumping and running. A triathlon is a competition that includes a swimming, running and biking portion. Watching the summer Olympics ensures that you won't miss exciting moments in Olympic history, like swimmer Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian in history or track and field Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who dominated the summer Olympics between 1984 to 1996.