The Olympic Games, or the Olympics, are the leading international sporting events featuring thousands of top athletes from countries all over the world. The Olympic Games are held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Games on a staggered two-year schedule.
The Olympics were inspired by the ancient Olympic games held in Olympia, Greece starting in the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. In 1984, the International Olympic Committee was founded by Baron Pierre de Coubertin. In 1896, the first modern-day Olympics were held in Athens.
The Olympic Games have changed during the 20th and 21st centuries. The first Winter Olympic Games were in 1924, which were first played on the same four-year schedule as the Summer Olympics but were switched in the 1990s to every other four-year mark. The Paralympics for disabled athletes and the Youth Olympic Games for ages 14 to 18 were also added.
Being an Olympic Games host city is a great honor and the process is lengthy. Host cities are chosen about seven years before the games begin, oftentimes longer than that. The IOC is in charge of choosing host cities for the games.
The process begins with an application to the IOC, who then reviews the applications and chooses six cities to investigate further. Three cities move onto the next round and IOC members visit the three candidate cities to talk with city leaders, ask questions, and take tours. The visiting IOC member reports back to the rest of the committee who then votes for a city.
Once a city has been chosen, they get to work building the infrastructure needed to host the Olympics. Preparing a city for the games typically costs billions of dollars. The London 2012 Summer Olympics cost over $15 billion.