Olympic Games

Where can I find information about the Olympic Games?

Image: Olympic Rings by Shawn Carpenter on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 22/11/17

Introduction

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 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.

Olympic.org

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.

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.

NZHistory

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 re l ay 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

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.

Books

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
managed by
proudly supported by

Acceptable Use

Acceptable use means acting like a good citizen online. How you behave online should be the same as how you behave offline (in the real world). AnyQuestions is a free service, staffed by real people from libraries right around New Zealand. Please be respectful and polite to our librarians. We like helping people who show good manners :)


We may end a chat session if we think you are being inappropriate or misbehaving, this includes:

  • Using racist/sexist, offensive or obscene language.

    Please don’t use mean or cruel words when talking to or about someone else; whether they are a male or female, or of another race or skin colour. Obscene language means using words that would upset your grandparents!

  • Using the service to transmit messages that harass or threaten the operators.

    Please don’t be mean to our librarians or act like a bully.

  • Visiting an objectionable website while in session with an operator.

    An objectionable website means a website that you really wouldn’t want your grandparents looking over your shoulder at!

  • Deliberately time wasting in a way that denies service to other legitimate users.

    Time wasting means being silly and not working with our librarians. Time wasting means other students are not getting help, and that isn’t nice!

  • Any form of vandalism, including damaging computer systems or networks and knowingly introducing programs such as computer viruses and worms.

    You might be technically savvy and know about web viruses and worms and how they affect computers but please don’t spread these. It takes our attention away from helping you and other students.

  • AnyQuestions reserves the right to disconnect users at the operator’s discretion. AnyQuestions might also block access to the service for repeat offenders.

    If you act like a troll then we’ll end the chat. Remember everything digital or online can be traced and we can track it back to where you came from and/or your school. If you misbehave on AnyQuestions then we will be in touch with your school or we will block you from accessing AnyQuestions.