The Ancient and The Modern Olympic Games

Reading comprehension and conversation activity

(A) Discuss the following questions in pairs or small groups:

·        Do you like watching the Olympic games? Why (not)? Which sports are your favorite ones?
·        When and where were the first Olympic Games? How many past games can you remember? Where are the next games?
·        Do you know any famous athletes? How many Olympic sports can you name?
·        Do you think that the Olympics are important? Why (not)?

(B)Read the text below and answer the questions that follow.

The first known Olympic Games date from 776 BC, and were held in Olympia, Greece. They were celebrated until 396 AD.
The ancient games consisted of only one race, the "stade" race, which was the length of the stadium and between 180 and 240 meters long. Over the years more running races and other events were added, including boxing, wrestling, chariot racing, long jump, javelin and discus throwing. At the time, only young men could take part. They had to be free men, and speak Greek. They usually competed nude, and the prize was a crown of olive leaves, a sign of hope and peace. Women were not allowed to take part and married women were not even allowed to watch.

The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896. A French nobleman, Pierre Fredy, the Baron de Coubertin, born in 1863, had a passionate belief that sport could encourage peace throughout the world and bring people from all over the world together. Coubertin was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games and travelled around the world, spending his own money, trying to persuade people to revive them. Eventually he managed to bring together representatives of many different countries in Paris, in 1894, and the Olympic Movement was begun.
Women began to compete in 1900. For many years there were problems for the women athletes about what to wear, because it was considered rude to show any part of the body or even the shape of the body.
When Coubertin founded the Olympic Movement he established the International Olympic Committee (the IOC) to supervise it, in 1894. He himself served as its president for 29 years, and there have been 8 presidents since then. There were originally 14 members but the Committee has now grown to over 130 members, all of whom must speak either French or English. Existing members elect new members as required. The IOC is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

1.When were the first Olympic Games?
2.What events took place in the Ancient Olympic Games?
3.Who took part in the Ancient Olympic Games?
4.Who revived the idea of the Olympic Games?
5.When and where were the first modern Olympic Games held?
6.Who supervises the Olympic Games?
7.What is the aim of the Olympic Movement?

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