The Caribbean and the Olympics

| July 9, 2012

Olympic Stadium. Photo courtesy thesportsplayers.blogspot.com

The world prepares for another spectacular show of strength, valour, endurance and ultimately national pride in what can be regarded as arguably the most anticipated sporting event in the last four years – The 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

As is expected there is massive preparation for this august event guaranteed to place London in the spotlight for the world to see.

The Caribbean, long time supporters and participants in the Olympics are working feverishly to field teams and athletes to compete successfully at a show known for making and breaking careers. Indeed, the London Summer Olympics in two weeks will be the stage where participating Caribbean islands will show off the results of years of preparation, hard work and extreme personal sacrifice.

This is not the first time London is hosting this spectacular event as London has hosted the Olympic Games on two past occasions, in 1908 and 1948. The planned 2012 Summer Olympics will make London the first city to have hosted the modern Games of three Olympiads. London is the only city in the United Kingdom to have ever hosted the Olympics; the United States is the only country to have hosted Summer Olympics on more occasions than the UK.
History of the Olympics:

2012 Summer Olympics will be XXX (30th) Modern Olympiad.
The host City for the 2012 XXX Olympiad is London,   England, The United Kingdom. The games are scheduled for later this month with the opening ceremony commencing on the 27th July and the closing ceremony on 12th August 2012.

There have been two distinctive periods in Olympic history,   The Ancient Olympics and Modern Olympics.

Ancient Olympics

It is believed that the first Olympics took place in the valley of Olympia on the west coast of the Peloponnese peninsula in ancient Greece; these first games were sacred to Greek religion and were held as ceremonies honouring the Greek God Zeus.   Historically the games were first known to have been held in 776 BC.

However, in later years the games evolved into competitions where the winning, not competing was important.  With the initial growth of Greek power as a military and cultural civilization the games were used as a testing ground and an arena to celebrate the essential attributes that were needed in Greek warfare for example, skill, stamina, strength, power, endurance and the drive to win.

In 394 AD with the raise of the Roman Empire, the Olympic Games were banned by the Christian Roman emperor Theodosius I who outlawed all pagan festivals. Over 1400 years were to pass before the games were revived (by the dedicated work of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a Frenchman) in the late 19th century and became our modern day Olympics.

The ethos of the ancient Olympics was to “compete ferociously and to the victor goes the laurel wreath” (Greek)

The Modern Olympics

Is the  major international event, but with a “checked history of over 100 years

Jesse Owens. Photo courtesy celevs.com

steeped in controversy  from  the Berlin 1936 games-;  Nazism V Jesse Owen, to 1968 Olympics at Mexico city; Track and field afro American Athletes and the Black power salute . Ethos of the Modern Olympic games, “ building a peaceful and better world by educating the youth globally through sport with the Olympic spirit of Brotherhood (International Olympic Committee IOC)” 2012  Olympic motto is : “ To inspire a generation” (IOC – LONDON)

The Caribbean and the Olympics:

Athletes from the West Indies Federation competed under the name Antilles (ANT) at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy. The short-lived nation only participated at these single Games, as Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago competed independently again in 1964, and Barbados started competing at the 1968 Games.

As this section progresses we shall bring you updates on current Caribbean athletes taking part in this year’s 2012 Summer Olympics; and insights on notable past athletes from across the Caribbean and Guyana.

LIST OF GAMES TO DATE

By Charlotte Greer and David F. Roberts

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Category: Caribbean in the Olympics, Culture & Society, Sports

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