4649 WORDS


The Olympic Games, an international sports competition, are held once every four
years at a different site, where athletes from different nations compete against
each other in a wide variety of sports. There are two classifications of

Olympics, the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics. Through 1992 they were
held in the same year, but beginning in 1994 they were rescheduled so that they
are held in alternate even-numbered years. For example, the Winter Olympics were
held in 1994 and the Summer Olympics in 1996. The Winter Olympics were next held
in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, while the Summer Olympics will next occur in 2000 in

Sydney, Australia. The Olympic Games are administered by the International

Olympic Committee (IOC), which is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. The

IOC was created in Paris in 1894 as an independent committee selecting its own
members but "to begin the process, however, Coubertin himself chose the
first 15 members"(White 60). IOC members are officially considered to be
"representatives from the IOC to their own nations, not delegates from
their own countries to the IOC"(White 65). Most members are elected to the

IOC after serving on the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of their own
countries. The first IOC members were all from either Europe or the Americas,
with the exception of one representative from New Zealand. Currently, members
from European and North American countries still account for a majority of the

IOC membership. IOC members must retire at the end of the year in which they
reach the age of 80, unless they were elected before 1966, in which case they
can serve for life. The IOC oversees such functions as determining the site of
the Olympic Games, the establishment of worldwide Olympic policies, and the
negotiation of Olympic television broadcast rights. The IOC works closely with
the NOCs and with the International Amateur Athletic Federation (the
international governing body for track and field), and other international
sports federations (ISFs) to organize the Olympics. The ISFs are responsible for
the "international rules and regulations of the sports they
govern"(Gary 22). The IOC president, who is chosen by IOC members, is
assisted by an executive board, several vice presidents, and a number of IOC
commissions. The IOC's first president, Demetrius Vikélas of Greece (served

1894-1896), was succeeded by Coubertin himself (1896-1925). The other IOC
presidents have been Count Henri de Baillet-Latour of Belgium (1925-1942), J.

Sigfrid Edström of Sweden (1946-1952), Avery Brundage of the United States
(1952-1972), Michael Morris, Lord Killanin, of Ireland (1972-1980), and Juan

Antonio Samaranch of Spain (1980-) . In order to host the Olympics, a city must
submit a proposal to the IOC, and after all proposals have been submitted, the

IOC will vote. If no city is successful in gaining a majority in the first vote,
the city with the fewest votes is eliminated, and voting continues with
successive rounds, until a majority winner is determined. Typically the Games
are awarded several years in advance in the hopes of allowing the winning city
adequate time to prepare for the Games. In selecting the site of the Olympic

Games, the IOC considers a number of factors, mainly among them is which city
has, or promises to build, the best facilities, and which organizing committee
seems most likely to stage the Games effectively as well as efficiently. The IOC
also considers which parts of the world have not yet hosted the Games. For
instance, Tokyo, the host of the 1964 Summer Games, and Mexico City, the host of
the 1968 Summer Games, "were chosen in part to popularize the Olympic
movement in Asia and in Latin America"(Gorman 69). Because of the growing
importance of television worldwide, the IOC in recent years has also taken into
account the host city's time zone. Whenever the Games take place in the United

States or Canada, American television networks are willing to pay significantly
higher amounts for television rights because they can broadcast popular events
live, in prime viewing hours. Once the Games have been awarded, it is the
responsibility of the local organizing committee-not the IOC or the NOC of the
host city's country-to finance them. This is often done with a portion of the

Olympic television revenues and with corporate sponsorships, ticket sales, and
other smaller revenue sources, such as commemorative postage stamps or proceeds
from a national lottery. In many cases there is also some direct government
support. Although many cities have achieved a financial profit by hosting the

Games, the Olympics can be financially risky. Montreal, Canada, for example,
spent a great deal of money preparing

Read the full essay 4649 words