Olympic Games

Where can I find information about the Olympic Games?

Image: Olympic Rings by Shawn Carpenter on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 12/03/19


The Olympic Games are one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Athletes from hundreds of countries meet to compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals in individual and team sports. The Olympics include the summer games, winter games, and Paralympic Games. Each type of games is held every four years, with the winter and summer games held two years apart from each other.

In this entry, we'll look at the history of the Olympic Games and the traditional symbols of the Games. We'll also look at the Winter Olympic games, Paralympic Games, and New Zealand's involvement in the Games.

Ancient Olympic Games

Sports men and women have competed in the Olympics for centuries. In this section we'll look at where, when, and why the Olympic Games started, and what the original games were like.


This is the official website of the International Olympic Committee. It's an excellent place to find all types of information about the Olympic Games including the ancient Olympic Games.

To find this information:

  • scroll to the bottom of the home page
  • look under the heading Behind the Games
  • click on the link to the Ancient Games.
Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reliable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can often tell these sites by their web address (they might have .govt or .edu in their address) but you can also look at the About Us of Contact pages.

Penn Museum

This website includes the role of women in the ancient Olympic Games; it also has a great section called the FAQs, which covers some of the myths or false beliefs about the early games.

Tips: This website has a glossary, which is a list of the uncommon words used on the site and their meaning. If you're not sure what a word means check out the glossary. If you can't find the word listed there try using Google as a dictionary. For example, if you want to define the word chariot, your Google search would be 'define chariot'. This searches for all the meanings on the web that define the word.

Modern Olympic Games

Today's Olympic Games are quite different from the ancient games. In this section, we'll look at the modern Olympic Games.

Some modern Olympic Games:

  • 1896: 1st modern Olympics
  • 1924: Winter Olympics introduced
  • 2010: Singapore Olympics - 1st Youth Olympic Games are held
  • 2012: London Olympics - Michael Phelps wins his 20th Olympic medal
  • 2014: Sochi Winter Olympics - Most drug testing of Olympic athletes
  • 2016: Rio Olympics - First refugee team takes part in the Olympics.

Fact Monster

Fact Monster has great information about the Olympic Games with timelines and fun facts. It also has a great overview of the first modern Olympics.

To find this information:

Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to 'click' here'. It's best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we're looking for.

Encyclopedia Britannica

This is an EPIC resource. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics, which has been put together especially for New Zealand school students. You may need a password from your school or local library to access it.

To find information about the Olympic Games:

  • select the middle reading level
  • then type the keywords 'Olympic Games' in the search box
  • once you get your results, if the information looks too complicated you can change the reading level to an easier level by clicking on the Article reading level 1 link at the top of the Olympic games article.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Winter Olympic games

The Winter Olympics occur every four years and include sports that take place in snow and ice, such as ice hokey, ski jumping, and curling. The 2018 Winter Olympic Games took place in South Korea from 9-25 February 2018. There were 102 events in 15 sports, and around 100 nations took part.


This was the official website for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Here you will find a range of information about the Winter Games such as Medal Standings, Athletes, Countries etc.

To search this site:

  • click on the three lines at the top right of the screen
  • when the box opens up, type your keywords into the search bar.

This website has a section about the Paralympic Winter Games, which you may find useful too!


This website also has information about PyeongChang 2018, including information about the Mascot, Olympic torch, medals etc.

To find this information:

  • Click on the Olympic Games link at the top of the page
  • Select PyeongChang 2018.

Paralympic games

The Paralympics are a separate games and start two weeks after the Olympics. To qualify for selection as a Paralympic athlete you must have a physical disability. Blindness, being in a wheelchair, or missing a limb are the most common disabilities of Paralympic athletes.

Paralympics New Zealand

This is the official site of the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) for New Zealand, so we know it will be reliable. It has lots of facts about New Zealand's fantastic Paralympic team members, including our top Para-Athletes like Liam Malone and Sophie Pascoe.

It also has lots of information about para-sport classification. Classification puts sportspeople with a disability into groups so they're competing against others with similar disabilities, and no one has an unfair advantage.

The search box can be hard to find on this website. To start your search:

  • click on the magnifying glass at the top right of the screen
  • a search box will open.
Tips: Some websites have accessibility features that make it easier for disabled people to use the site. This site has a Readspeaker feature, which means you can have the information on the website read out to you. It's really helpful if you're not sure how a word or name is pronounced. Click on the icon of the person in a wheel chair at the top left of the page for more information about using Readspeaker.

International Paralympic Committee

This website has a great section on Paralympics history as well as biographies about Paralympic athletes from around the world.

Tips: Check the 'about us' link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation's mission and values are. On this website the About us information is under the heading The IPC - this stands for the International Paralympic Committee.

New Zealand at the Olympics

New Zealand athletes have competed in the Olympic Games since 1908. In this section, we'll look at New Zealand’s participation in the games, our amazing athletes, and sports they've excelled in.

Some New Zealand Olympians:

  • Lisa Carrington: first New Zealand woman to win multiple medals at the same Olympic Games
  • Dame Valerie Adams: double Olympic Shot-put champion
  • Sir Mark Todd: New Zealand's most capped Olympian having competed in eight Olympic Games.
Tips: When looking for information on a celebrity (people who are currently famous), it's good to try their official website first - the information there is likely to be more accurate than fan sites.


A great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well researched and reliable. The section 16 Olympic Stories covers some of New Zealand's most significant Olympic moments.

Tips: We like this site because it's from a government organisation (Ministry or Council). You can tell this at the bottom of the website where it says they are part of the History Group of the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. It's also a New Zealand site, so relevant for us.

Te Ara: The encyclopedia of New Zealand

Another great website with lots of information about Aotearoa New Zealand. The entry on Olympics and Commonwealth games has some great photos and videos of our champions.

Tips: To view the pictures, video clips and sound recordings from this story, go down to the Short Story Summary and click on the All images and media in this story link on the right of the screen.

New Zealand Olympic Committee

This site has in-depth information about New Zealand’s athletes, and their performance in the Olympic Games.

  • To find out how many medals New Zealand has won at various Olympic Games click on the Games link in the menu at the top of the page. You can see the total medals we won at each games.
  • To find out more about that Olympic year and which athletes won medals at those Games click on the year, eg Rio 2016 and then the Athletes link.

Olympic symbols

Some Olympic traditions, like the lighting of the Olympic flame, are symbolic, meaning they stand for something greater or more meaningful than what we physically see. Olympic traditions and symbols such as the torch relay and Olympic rings are used to promote the games and what they stand for.

Many of the websites mentioned in the sections above have great information about Olympic traditions and symbols, including Olympic.org and Fact Monster .


Wikipedia has good overviews of topics like this and is especially useful because of the references and additional links given at the end of each article. There is an entry on Olympic symbols that covers what the symbols are and what they mean.

Tips: Wikipedia has great coverage of many topics, but you need to be aware that this information is contributed by lots of different people. If you are using this site, it always pays to check the information against that on other sites or books in the library.


There have been many books written about the Olympics - check out your local public or school library to see what books they have.

Some suggested titles are:

SCIS no: 1832689

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