The Olympics, formally known as the Olympic Games, are an international athletic competition featuring multiple sporting events between athletes representing their country. The Winter Games (or the Winter Olympics) and the Summer Games (or the Summer Olympics) typically happen every four years but are staggered so that they happen two years apart.
This year, the Summer Olympics are being held in the city of Tokyo, Japan, after being postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The International Olympic Committee also officially recognizes two related sporting competitions run by other organizations: the Paralympics, which are held around the same time and feature competition between athletes with disabilities, and the Special Olympics, which feature competition between child and adult athletes with intellectual or physical disabilities. All three competitions feature some of the same events.
During the Olympics, the world watches the world’s best athletes do what they do best. It’s also a time when a lot of specialized athletic terms get vaulted into our awareness—and some of their origins are as ancient as the Olympics themselves.
Join us as we explain how the shot got put in shot put, which boxing weight class is named after a chicken, which martial art’s name translates as “kick fist way,” and why there’s a horse in pommel horse but no horses in steeplechase or water polo. We’ll even discuss the discus!