Origin of Olympiad
OTHER WORDS FROM OlympiadO·lym·pi·ad·ic, adjective
Words nearby Olympiad
MORE ABOUT OLYMPIAD
What does Olympiad mean?
An Olympiad is one of the events known as the Olympic Games, an international athletic competition featuring multiple sporting events between athletes representing their country.
The Olympic Games are commonly called the Olympics and are sometimes referred to as the Games of the Olympiad, often incorporating the number of the current event. For example, the official name given to the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo was the Games of the XXXII (32nd) Olympiad.
There are two related but separate events that can be called an Olympiad: one hosted in winter, called the Winter Games, and one hosted in summer, called the Summer Games (they are commonly called the Winter Olympics and the Summer Olympics). The Winter Olympics feature winter sports, including figure skating, skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, and many others. The Summer Olympics feature traditionally warm weather and indoor sports, like track and field, gymnastics, swimming, and basketball, among many others.
Olympiads are now usually staggered: there is usually two years between the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics, with each being held every four years (usually in even-numbered years). The Summer Olympics are usually in July and August and the Winter Olympics are usually held in February.
The modern Olympics are based on an ancient Greek festival and competition that’s also referred to as the Olympic Games. In this context, the word Olympiad refers to the four-year period between consecutive celebrations of the Olympic Games. The ancient Greeks actually used the four-year period known as the Olympiad as a unit of time (in a way similar to how we use a decade as a unit of 10 years).
The word Olympiad is sometimes used in a more general way in the names of other competitions, such as a Chess Olympiad.
Where does Olympiad come from?
The ancient Greek Olympic Games are thought to have been first held in 776 b.c.e., and this is when the four-year period known as the Olympiad began to be used as a unit of measuring time. The ancient games were held regularly—often every four years—until the 4th century c.e. They were held in a place known as Olympia, the plain of Mount Olympus, which in Greek mythology was believed to be the realm of the gods. The ancient Olympic Games featured a number of athletic competitions—some of which are still events today, such as discus—but they were also a major religious festival.
In 1892, French scholar Pierre de Coubertin began a movement to reinstate the Olympic Games as a global event. In 1896, the first global modern Olympiad was held in Athens, Greece.
The Winter Olympics and the Summer Olympics used to be held in the same year, but they started to be staggered in the 1990s. Today, each Olympiad hosts thousands of athletes from more than 90 countries. They are organized by the International Olympic Committee with the goal of gathering the world’s best athletes and creating global connections and peace between nations.
The Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics are both known for having elaborate opening and closing ceremonies that celebrate the culture of the host country.
What are some terms that often get used in discussing the Olympiad?
How is the Olympiad discussed in real life?
The Olympics are formally known as the Olympic Games and even more formally as the Games of the Olympiad. The word olympiad is sometimes used in a more general way in the names of other competitions.
The Games of the 32nd Olympiad go to Tokyo #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/ntKVCw9eEq
— Michael King (@mhking) September 7, 2013
1️⃣6️⃣ days to go! #Tokyo2020
Melbourne 1956 was the 16th Olympiad as well as the first to be staged in the Southern Hemisphere and the first outside Europe and North America.
Australia collected 35 medals in total; 13 🥇, 8 🥈 and 14 🥉 pic.twitter.com/MzcwecK3FM
— 7Olympics (@7olympics) July 7, 2021
Spent quite a while today figuring out the final part of a model example problem set for this year’s International Chemistry Olympiad . The standard is really high and will test even the most brilliant students, as indeed it is meant to do.
— Professor Mike (@MikeLyons1956) July 7, 2021
Try using Olympiad!
True or False?
The modern Games of the Olympiad are based on an ancient Greek festival.
How to use Olympiad in a sentence
When the Paralympic Games come around every Olympiad, right after the Olympic Games come to a close, attention turns to how the sports and athletes differ between the two events.How Paralympic Ice Hockey Is Evolving|John Loeppky|March 7, 2022|FiveThirtyEight
Orr co-authored a recent study about how man-made global warming threatens the future of the Winter Olympiad, and winter sports in general.What Artificial Snow at the 2022 Olympics Means for the Future of Winter Games|Chad de Guzman|February 8, 2022|Time
Covid-19 disruptions are likely to be a defining feature of this 2020 Olympiad.Did the Covid-19 Olympics have to be a mess?|Jen Kirby|July 23, 2021|Vox
Only three male swimmers7 have won seven medals in a single Olympiad, and Dressel certainly has a chance to be the fourth.Caeleb Dressel Isn’t Just The Next Michael Phelps. He Might Be Even Better.|Josh Planos|July 23, 2021|FiveThirtyEight
The Moscow Olympiad in 1980 was boycotted partially, not revoked.Putin’s World Cup Picasso ‘Bribe’|Tunku Varadarajan|December 1, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Mustering a coalition of disapproval for the World Cup should be much easier than it would be for an Olympiad.Best Way to Punish Putin? No World Cup|Tunku Varadarajan|July 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Monday, July 15, 1912, was the last day of the Fifth Olympiad in Stockholm.The Most Wonderful Athlete in the World: Jim Thorpe’s Story|Kate Buford|August 5, 2012|DAILY BEAST
In her final Olympiad, Khorkina was once again a favorite, but lost to Patterson by .176.Olympics ‘Travesty’: Jordyn Wieber’s All-Around Gymnastics Exclusion|Tricia Romano|July 31, 2012|DAILY BEAST
The estival solstice of Meton, the Athenian, corresponds with this day, in the 87th Olympiad.The Every Day Book of History and Chronology|Joel Munsell
The death of this philosopher happened in the first year of the 114th Olympiad, on the same day that Alexander died at Babylon.
And so I say of the Olympiad—'777 years, be the same more or less.'The Posthumous Works of Thomas De Quincey, Vol. II (2 vols)|Thomas De Quincey
Thus in the fourth year of the 101st Olympiad, the Greeks were startled by a celestial portent.The Astronomy of the Bible|E. Walter Maunder
The interval between the celebrations was called an Olympiad, and the Greeks usually counted time in this manner.The Student's Mythology|Catherine Ann White