Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympic Games

The history of modern Olympic Games is interval snapshots of world history. While students are inspired by watching the current Olympic stories unfold on TV, we can use the event in our courses to inspire them to learn about the past. The history of the Olympics itself is a study of sports, athletes, people, and the development of sports medicine, science, and technology. The opening and closing ceremonies inform the world about the hosting nation’s history and culture. The Olympic event illustrates the key social, political, and cultural history of the period. Here is a brief timeline of some key modern Summer Olympic history. Visit this website for video, timelines, and other key images of the Olympics.

1896 First Modern Olympics in Athens
1900 Women compete in the Olympics for first time
1908 Moved to London from Rome after a devastating eruption of Mt. Vesuvius
1916 Cancelled for WWI
1924 Winter Olympics begins in Chamonix, France
1936 Jesse Owens wins Gold in Germany where Hitler and the Nazis were gaining power
1940-1944 Cancelled for WWII
1952 Soviet Union participated for the first time
1956 Olympics boycotted for Soviet Union army entering Budapest
1964 Computers used to record times
1968 US medal winning track Athletes pictured on medal stand with Black Power fists raised
1972 Israeli athletes kidnapped and killed in Olympic Village
1980 Boycott of the Moscow Olympics by the United States and 60 other nations protesting the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union.

For more history on the Summer and Winter Olympics visit Olympic.Org for links to photos, video and an Olympic Museum.

Some extension activities for students are:

1. Students create a timeline for themselves
2. Students research the significance of one specific Olympic Games. Encourage students to see beyond the games and athletes to reflect and synthesize the sporting event with world social, political, technological, and cultural history.
3. Create your own History Olympic Games with events that challenge students to answer as many questions as they can correctly in 60 seconds, get the most correct, create the most well written essay on a topic, and get a historical fact the fastest from the internet or in a library. Can't think of more or don't like these, have the students create the events and judge them.

No comments: