The Olympic Games: it’s only during these games that the world gets to compete and experience each countries highest trained competitors together on “one stage”. Separated every two years, the Olympic Games have been going on since the 8th century beginning in Athens, Greece. The first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896 where only 13 nations, made up of male only competitors, competed in 43 events. The official symbol of the Olympics, five interlocking rings, represent the five different continents that hold and compete in the games. A lot has changed since the first Olympic Games, including the venue’s destination. Let’s take a look at four different venues and how they impacted the Olympics.
Every place has its’ own beauty, so how are we supposed to choose four places to be the best over the rest? Here are the two biggest criteria for choosing some awesome spots for travelers’ to visit that have held the Olympics in the past.
1) History: The history of a place adds a human element to the geographic beauty of the area.
2) Is it interesting today? These places must offer something for the adventurous heart– with or without the Olympic games.
Moscow, Russia held the games in July of 1980. It was here- 40 years earlier- that Hitler’s troops were unprepared for a war of attrition with the Soviet Union, and arguably began the downfall of Hitler’s reign. During the insanely cold, Russian winter, the lack of resources and dwindling numbers of German troops caused Hitler’s men to retreat. Though the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact was signed in 1939, Hitler still decided to attack the USSR, this defeat in Moscow was the German’s first loss of many after the pact had been broken. Moscow has numerous beautiful, unique and historical places to visit because of its importance in the war.
Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid, New York held the Olympics twice, in 1932 and 1980. This area use to be thought of as having “pure” oxygen because of its higher altitude: people would come here for the healing effects of the fresh air. Lake Placid was the first winter resort in the United States, and today, Lake Placid is continuously getting using for major sporting events including Ironman competitions, horse competitions, rugby and lacrosse tournaments and more. Ifyou have an adventurous spirit, Lake Placid might be a good fit for your next competition.
Grenoble, France held the Winter Olympic games in 1968 and is officially known as the X Olympic Winter Games. There were a total of thirty-seven countries participating. It was during these games that for the first time the USSR did not win the most metals for a country, but instead it was Norway. This specific Winter Olympic games were known for several “firsts”. Jean-Claude Killy, a frenchman, won gold medals in all of the alpine skiing events, the only gold medal won by the United States was by Peggy Fleming for women’s figure skating and the 1968 games were the first ordered drug and gendered testing of competitors by the IOC.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy held the Winter Olympic games in both 1944 and 1956 and is officially know as the VII Olympic Winter Games. During the 1944 Winter Olympics, Cortina beat out other possible host venues such as Lake Placid, CA, Colorado Springs, CO, and Montreal. Thirty-two countries, the most during the time, participated in the Olympics. This was also the debut made by the Soviet Union joining the games, where they consequentially won the most medals out of all the competing nations. The Olympics held in Cortina were the first games to be internationally televised. It was during the 1956 Winter Olympics that skating events were last held on natural ice.
The Olympic games are a beautiful way to celebrate how far the world has come together. The Olympic games have brought both entertainment and history to the world at each location they have been held. These places are still beautiful and challenging and depending on your interests, these places are going to offer different experiences.
Make sure to root for your home or favorite country in the next Summer Olympics! They are on currently from August 5, 2016 to the 21st and are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.