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Ceremonies, Symbols, and Traditions of the Ancient and Modern Olympics
Modern Olympic Ceremonies
Ancient Olympics
Ancient Olympic Ceremonies
Ancient Olympic Symbols and Traditions
Father of Modern Olympics
Modern Olympics
Modern Olympic Ceremonies
Modern Olympic Symbols and Traditions
Olympic Extras!

Just like the ancient Greek Olympics, today at the modern Olympics we have numerous ceremonies, yet they are very different from each other!

Let the Games Begin!
2002 Olympic Opening Ceremony in Salt Lake City, Utah

The opening ceremony of the modern Olympics is called the Parade of Nations, where teams from each nation enter the main stadium as a procession. Athletes enter the stadium in alphabetical order with their nations according to the spelling of their country in the host nations language. The protocol of the modern Olympic Games is that the Greek team always enters first to commemorate the ancient origins of the modern Olympics and the host nation's team enters last. After the Olympic Games are officially declared open, thousands of doves are released to symbolize free spirit and world peace. The opening ceremony also includes music, speeches, and pageantry. At the end of the opening ceremony, the Olympic flag is raised, trumpets are played, and cannons boom in salute. The opening ceremony is often described as a complete extravaganza that is enjoyed by all, the young and old.

At the termination of the Olympics, there was originally another Parade of Nations, but the athletes decided to break their ranks and mingled together to celebrate the occasion. This tradition still continues today.  After everyone gathers in the main Olympic stadium in celebration, the IOC president invites all of the athletes and spectators to meet again at the site of the next Olympic Games. After the games are officially declared over, the Olympic flame is extinguished and the Olympic anthem is played while the Olympic flag is lowered. The flags of Greece, the current host nation, and the next host nation are raised at the closing ceremony.

2000 Closing Ceremony in Salt Lake City,Utah

Medal Podium
2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia

Another important ceremony at the modern Olympic Games is the medal ceremony, which occurs after each event.  The top three finishers of each event mount the podium to receive their medals, which has different elevations. The higher their rank the higher they stand on the podium.  Originally, delegates of aristocracy in the host nation gave out medals. Then in 1924 at the Paris Games, the IOC president and other IOC members started to give out medals at high profile events and have done so ever since.  The national flags of the medal winners are hoisted, while the national anthem of the first place winners country is played.

"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."

-The Olympic Charter