The Olympic Games is considered the world’s foremost sports competition attracting thousands of athletes from more than 200 nations participating every four years. The games were inspired by the ancient Olympic Games in Olympia, which were held from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.
The modern Olympic Games were founded in 1894 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin who wanted to promote international understanding through sporting competition. He also founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894 which is the governing body of the Olympic Movement, consists of international sports federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and organising committees for each specific Olympic Games. The IOC is responsible for choosing the host city for each Games, organises and funds the Games according to the Olympic Charter and determines the Olympic programme, consisting of which sports to be contested at the Games.
The first Olympic games were held in Athens in 1896, attracted 245 athletes from 14 countries, of whom more than 200 were Greek. Although the majority of athletes were Greek, the U.S. finished with the most champions. The Games is the biggest international sporting event to that date attracting 100,000 people participating the opening of the games. Despite many challenges, obstacles and setbacks, the 1896 Olympics were a huge success.
The second Olympics was held four year later in Paris as the IOC decided to rotated to various host cities around the world. The 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris attracted more than four times as many athletes, including 20 female athletes to officially compete for the first time, in croquet, golf, sailing, and tennis.
the 1904, 1916, 1940, 1944, 1980 and 1984 Olympics Games were cancelled due to World wars and boycotts.
In the 20th and 21st centuries, several changes were made to the Olympic Games, including the creation of the Summer Olympic Games, Winter Olympic Games for snow and ice sports, the Paralympic Games for disable athletes, the Youth Olympic Games for athletes aged 14 to 18, and the like.
The growing importance of mass media has also encouraged corporate sponsorship and commercialization of the Games.
Qualification rules for Olympic sports are set by the International Sports Federation (IF) in which, maximum of three individual athletes and one team may represent each nation per competition.
For individual sports, athletes qualify by attaining a certain place in major international events on the IF’s list. National Olympic Committees (NOCs) registers and decides which qualified competitors to select as representatives in each sport.
Qualify teams for team sports are selected through continental qualifying tournaments, in which each continental association has only a certain number of spots.