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Introduction

The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (French: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart.

Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, leading to the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. The IOC is the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority.

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Flag of Australia
Australia first competed in the Winter Olympic Games in 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and has participated in every Winter Olympics since, with the exception of the 1948 Games in St. Moritz. Australia achieved its first medal, a bronze, in 1994 in the men's 5,000 metres short track relay speed skating event. Zali Steggall gained Australia's first individual medal in 1998 when she won bronze in the slalom event. In 2002, Steven Bradbury won gold in the 1,000 metres short track speed skating and Alisa Camplin won gold in the aerials event, making Australia the only Southern Hemisphere country to have ever accomplished gold at a Winter Olympics.Australia sent 40 competitors to compete in 10 sports at the 2006 Games in Turin, a record number of athletes and events for the nation. For the first time, there was a stated aim of winning a medal, and this goal was achieved when Dale Begg-Smith won the gold medal in men's freestyle skiing. Camplin attained her second medal, a bronze in the aerials event.

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Olympic colours on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Credit: David Shapinsky

The Closing Ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics commenced with Christine Anu singing a stirring rendition of her hit song, Island Home. The ceremony concluded with a huge fireworks display on Sydney Harbour.

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Jacobus Franciscus "Jim" Thorpe (May 28, 1888 – March 28, 1953)[1] was an American athlete. Considered one of the most versatile athletes in modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, played American football at the collegiate and professional levels, and also played professional baseball and basketball. He lost his Olympic titles after it was found he was paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the amateur status rules.

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  1. ^ Magill. pg. 2320
    * Gerasimo and Whiteley. pg. 28
    * "World-Class Athlete Jim Thorpe Was Born May 28, 1888," americaslibrary.gov, accessed April 23, 2007.