The Olympic Tradition
Thousands of years ago in the ancient world, before the founding of modern nations, people living in different Greek city-states participated in a series of peaceful sporting events that occurred every four years. The games sought to determine the best athletes in each competition, such as wrestling or running marathon races, or throwing javelins. The Olympic tradition began again in 1896, when a French nobleman named Baron Pierre de Coubertin persuaded representatives from nine countries to conduct new Olympic games to celebrate the brotherhood of mankind. The sponsors agreed to include all nations in the games.
The Games Begin Again
The First Olympic Games of the modern era took place in Athens, Greece, with teams from just a few nations participating. A wealthy Greek philanthropist named Georgios Averoff spent the equivalent of two million dollars today in order to refurbish a 2,000 year old stadium in central Athens as the site for these games. Since the Olympic Games began again in 1896, the event has grown in size and prestige. It now attract participants from over 100 countries across the globe. The Olympic Games award Gold Medals to the best athletes in each sport. Runners-up receive Silver and Bronze Medals. Teams from different countries compete in order to claim the highest accolades.
Qualifying For Participation
The Olympic Games only accepts amateurs, i.e. non-professional athletes. Individuals compete for the right to represent their nations at these famous games. Qualifying to serve on a national gymnastics team represents a very high honor indeed. Boys and girls around the world who enjoy participating in Gymnastics aspire to win matches approved by the International Federation of Gymnastics that enable them to rank highly enough to join their nation’s Olympic Gymnastics team. They often travel long distances to compete at the Olympics, which today occur at different locations around the world every four years. When an athlete wins an Olympic Medal, each victory represents the culmination of hours and hours of intense effort. The actual Gymnastic performances of each team member occur in just a few minutes of time during each televised competition. Yet the hard work leading up to these trials involves years of diligent, faithful training. Young athletes compete for the right to call themselves the best in their sport. Olympic stars gain celebrity. Some of the most successful Olympic gymnasts later became highly paid professional athletes and advertising models. A few have launched successful careers in television and film.
A Goal For Gymnasts
Boys and girls who hope for Olympic medals must obtain gymnastics training. Lots of it! Some begin learning their sport at early ages in order to have a chance to eventually compete for inclusion on national Olympic teams. Qualifying requires extensive practice, hard work, training and dedication. It takes hard work day in and day out for years to get the honor to compete in the Olympics, especially for gymnasts. Stay tuned for more on our 10-part series leading up to the gymnastics competitions at the 2016 Olympics!
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