For the second time in the history of the modern Olympic Games, London, England is hosting the exciting and much-anticipated event. Athletes from 193 independent countries and 11 territories and special regions are participating this year. Eleven of Canada’s Olympians and three of our Paralympian athletes are Nova Scotians: Amy Cotton, Custio Clayton, Danielle Dubé David Sharpe, Devin Gotell, Ellie Black, Eric Gillis, Geoff Harris, Jason McCoombs, Jenna Martin, Jamey Jewells, Mark DeJonge, Paul Tingley, and Ryan Cochrane
The first international Summer Olympics since 393 CE, were held in Athens in 1896 and were called "Games of the First Olympiad." There was no Olympic Village to accommodate the athletes and anyone who wanted to could register and compete. Although 15 countries participated, competitors were not there to represent a particular country and international teams were common. The medals for first place winners were silver. Bronze was given for second and there were no third place awards. The events were few, compared to today, but were highly competitive: track and field, fencing, gymnastics, wrestling, shooting, swimming, tennis, one and two-arm weightlifting, and cycling.
In the 5th and 4th centuries BCE , competition was restricted to free men who spoke Greek. A holdover of that ruling excluded women from the modern Olympic Games until 1900 when they were accepted for golf and lawn-tennis. Athletics and gymnastics came 8 years later. This year, for the first time, women are competing in all events, including boxing. And there’s another 2012 first: there are finally women Olympians from every participating country.
I admire two historical women, Bilistiche and Stamati Revithi who, centuries apart, defied the rules created by and for men. Bilistiche, a former slave, entered the chariot and horse races in 264 BCE and won. Stamati, a poor Greek woman, ran a marathon alone outside the Olympic Stadium in 1896 after event officials barred her from the competition.
In 2012, the Olympic Games are inclusive in all respects.
To excel as they have in their individual sports, all the athletes are winners already. Bravo Bravissimo! They have "done us proud".
Did you know?
Eleven of Canada’s Olympians and three of our Paralympian athletes are Nova Scotians.
In the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, competition was restricted to free men who spoke Greek.
The first Olympic Games since 393 CE, were held in Athens in 1896
In 2012, women are competing in all events, including boxing