Let the games begin!

news: Let the games begin!

Everything you ever wanted to know about this month’s Olympic Games…

Impress your friends with our facts and figures about the XXVIII Summer Olympic Games.

· Greece was the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games, with the first recorded event staged in 776 BC.

· Athens will host the summer Olympics for the second time in modern history. The first official Games were held in Athens in 1896.

· Athens won the race to stage the 2004 Summer Games on September 5, 1997 at the 106th IOC session in Lausanne, defeating Rome in the final round of the vote by 66 to 41. Buenos Aires, Cape Town and Stockholm fell out in earlier stages, while Istanbul, Lille, Rio de Janeiro, San Juan, Seville and St Petersburg did not make the shortlist.

· Some 28 sports will be represented in 38 venues. A total of 301 medal ceremonies will take place over a period of 16 days.

· More than 10,500 athletes and 3,000 team officials from 199 countries will participate.

· The Olympic Village will house 16,000 athletes and team officials during the Olympic Games and 6,000 during the Paralympic Games.

· Some 45,000 security personnel are due to work at the Olympics, with 60,000 trained volunteers from around the world.

· The IOC will give just over http://www.bn to the Athens Organising Committee from the sale of broadcast rights and worldwide sponsorship, which is roughly 60 per cent of the Games’ operating budget. The remaining 40 per cent will be financed from local sponsorship, ticketing and licensing sales.

· Afghanistan will return to the Games after a suspension in 1999, which was enforced partly because of the Taleban’s ban on the participation of women athletes.

· The Athens Games’ official mascots are Phevos and Athena, who are brother and sister. An ancient Greek doll inspired their creation. The names derive from two Olympian gods: Phevos, the god of light and music, known as Apollo; and Athena, goddess of wisdom and patron of the city of Athens.

· The Athens Olympic torch is designed to resemble an olive leaf. It weighs 700 grams and is 68cm long.

· The Games emblem portrays an olive wreath, or kotinos, a branch from an olive tree intertwined in a circle. During the ancient Olympic Games, the kotinos was the official award of Olympic champions, while the olive was the sacred tree of Athens.