Olympics Words and Definitions

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The Olympic Games are a global sporting event that brings together athletes from various countries to compete in a wide range of sports. Whether you are a passionate sports fan or just interested in learning more about the Olympics, understanding the vocabulary associated with this historic event is essential. 

In this article, you will explore a comprehensive list of olympics words and terms, including various sports and events, Olympic terminology, venues and facilities. 
Olympics Words

Definitions of Summer Olympic Games

The Summer Olympic Games are held every four years and feature a diverse array of sports. Here is the list of sports and events related to the Summer Olympics:

  • Athletics: Track and field events, including running, jumping, and throwing disciplines.
  • Ceremonies: Opening and closing ceremonies that mark the beginning and end of the Olympics, showcasing the host nation's culture and tradition.
  • Gold Medal: The highest accolade awarded to the winners of each event during the Olympics.
  • Silver Medal: The award given to those who reach the second place of the competition.
  • Bronze Medal: The award given to those who reach the third place of the competition.
  • Gymnastics: A sport involving exercises to display strength, balance, and agility, which includes disciplines such as artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline.
  • Olympic Flame: The symbolic flame that is lit at the beginning of the Olympics and burns throughout the duration of the Games.
  • Records: Achievements made by athletes that surpass previous best performances in their respective sports.
  • Swimming: A water-based sport with various styles such as freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.
  • Team Sports: Sports that require collective efforts, such as soccer, basketball, field hockey, and volleyball.
  • Torch Relay: A ceremonial event where the Olympic flame is carried across different locations before the Games begin.
  • Basketball: A team sport played on a court, aiming to score points by shooting the ball into the opposing team's hoop.
  • Canoeing: A water sport involving paddling a canoe or kayak through different courses and distances.
  • Doping: The use of prohibited substances or methods to enhance performance, strictly prohibited in the Olympic Games.
  • Equestrian: Sports involving horseback riding, including dressage, show jumping, and eventing.
  • Handball: A fast-paced team sport where players use their hands to pass and throw a ball into the opposing team's goal.
  • Judo: A martial art and combat sport that emphasizes throws and grappling techniques to defeat opponents.
  • Pentathlon: A multi-discipline event comprising five sports: fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping, pistol shooting, and cross-country running.
  • Sailing: The sport of using wind to propel sailboats or sailboards across the water, often involving different classes and races.
  • Table Tennis: A racket sport played on a table, where players hit a lightweight ball back and forth over a net.
  • Triathlon: An endurance event that combines swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession.
  • Archery: A sport that involves shooting arrows at a target using a bow.
  • Cycling: A sport that involves racing on bicycles, including disciplines such as road cycling, track cycling, and mountain biking.
  • Diving: A sport that involves performing acrobatic movements while diving into a pool from a platform or springboard.
  • Rowing: A sport where teams or individuals propel a boat using oars.
  • Soccer: A team sport played with a round ball, where players aim to score goals by kicking the ball into the opposing team's net.
  • Tennis: A racket sport played on a court, where players use rackets to hit a ball over a net and into the opponent's court.
  • Badminton: A racket sport played with a shuttlecock, where players hit it back and forth over a net.
  • Boxing: A combat sport where two opponents throw punches at each other while following a set of rules.
  • Fencing: A martial art and sport where competitors use bladed weapons to score points by touching their opponents.
  • Golf: A precision club-and-ball sport played on a course, where players aim to hit the ball into a series of holes with the fewest strokes.
  • Modern Pentathlon: An Olympic event comprising five sports: fencing, swimming, horse riding, pistol shooting, and cross-country running.
  • Rugby Sevens: A variant of rugby union, played with seven players on each team, known for its fast-paced and dynamic nature.
  • Synchronized Swimming: A combination of swimming, gymnastics, and dance, performed in unison by a team or duet.
  • Taekwondo: A Korean martial art characterized by dynamic kicks, punches, and spinning movements.
  • Volleyball: A team sport played with a ball, where players aim to hit it over a net and into the opposing team's court.

Words for Winter Olympic Games

The Winter Olympic Games occur every four years and showcase a variety of winter sports. Here is the list of sports and events associated with the Winter Olympics:

  • Biathlon: A sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.
  • Curling: A team sport played on ice, where players slide stones towards a target while teammates sweep the ice to influence the stone's path.
  • Figure Skating: A sport that involves jumps, spins, and choreographed movements performed on ice.
  • Ice Hockey: A fast-paced team sport played on ice, where players use sticks to score goals by shooting a puck into the opposing team's net.
  • Luge: A high-speed winter sport where athletes slide down an icy track on a sled.
  • Ski Jumping: A sport in which skiers launch themselves off a ramp and compete for distance and style.
  • Snowboarding: A winter sport that combines elements of surfing, skateboarding, and skiing, performed on a snowboard.
  • Speed Skating: A racing sport where athletes compete on ice, aiming to achieve the fastest time over a set distance.
  • Alpine Skiing: A sport that involves racing down snow-covered slopes, navigating through gates at high speeds.
  • Bobsleigh: A winter sport where teams of two or four athletes race down a twisting ice track in a gravity-propelled sled.
  • Cross-Country Skiing: A form of skiing that involves propelling oneself across snow-covered terrain, often in a race.
  • Freestyle Skiing: A discipline of skiing that involves performing aerial tricks, moguls, or skiing in a terrain park.
  • Ice Skating: The general term encompassing various disciplines such as figure skating, speed skating, and ice dancing.
  • Nordic Combined: A combination of ski jumping and cross-country skiing, with scores from both events determining the winner.
  • Short Track Speed Skating: A high-speed form of ice skating that takes place on a smaller track, often involving multiple skaters in close quarters.
  • Skeleton: A solo winter sliding sport where athletes ride a small sled headfirst down an icy track.
  • Ski Cross: A freestyle skiing event where multiple skiers race down a course with jumps, rollers, and banked turns.


Olympic Games Basic Terminology

Understanding the specific terminology used in the Olympic Games is crucial to following the event. Here are some basic Olympic terms you should know:

  • Antidoping: Measures and procedures taken to prevent the use of performance-enhancing substances or methods in sports.
  • Flagbearer: The athlete who carries their country's flag during the opening ceremony, representing their nation.
  • Medal Table: A tabulated display of the number of medals won by each country during the Olympics.
  • Opening Ceremony: The grand event that marks the commencement of the Olympic Games, featuring various performances and the parade of nations.
  • Paralympics: A parallel sporting event for athletes with disabilities, held after the Olympic Games.
  • Pictograms: Graphic symbols used to represent different sports in the Olympics, making it easier to identify them.
  • Podium: The raised platform on which medalists stand during the medal ceremony to receive their medals.
  • Tiebreaker: A method used to determine a winner in case of a tie or draw in a match or event.
  • World Record: The best performance ever achieved in a specific sport or discipline, recognized as the highest standard.
  • Youth Olympics: A sporting event held for athletes between the ages of 15 and 18 to promote the Olympic values and youth engagement.
  • Olympic Charter: The document that outlines the fundamental principles, rules, and structure of the Olympic Movement.
  • Olympic Creed: A statement recited during the opening ceremony, expressing the philosophical essence of the Olympic Games.
  • Olympic Village: The residential area where athletes and team officials stay during the duration of the Games.
  • Passing the Baton: A symbolic gesture in relay races where one runner hands over a baton to the next runner.
  • Qualification: The process by which athletes or teams earn the right to participate in the Olympic Games through pre-determined criteria.
  • Sports Federation: An international organization responsible for governing and overseeing a specific sport at the global level.
  • Technical Officials: Trained individuals who ensure that competitions are conducted fairly, following the rules and regulations of each sport.
  • Underdog: A participant or team not expected to win but has the potential to cause an upset against stronger opponents.
  • Venue Overlay: The temporary infrastructure and modifications made to existing facilities to accommodate Olympic events.
  • World Anti-Doping Code: A document that harmonizes anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations across all sports and countries.

Definitions of Olympic Venues and Facilities

The Olympic Games take place in different cities around the world, each hosting a variety of events in various venues and facilities. Here is the list of Olympic words related to venues and facilities:

  • Aquatics Center: A facility equipped with pools for swimming and diving events.
  • Athletes' Village: Accommodation provided for participating athletes during the Games.
  • Gymnasium: A venue equipped with exercise equipment and facilities for indoor sports.
  • Olympic Park: A designated area that houses various venues and infrastructure for the Olympics.
  • Stadium: A large sports facility with tiered seating for spectators, hosting events such as track and field, opening and closing ceremonies, and soccer.
  • Velodrome: An indoor cycling track used for track cycling events.
  • Volleyball Court: A designated area for playing volleyball, featuring a net and boundary lines.
  • Weightlifting Arena: A venue specifically designed for weightlifting competitions.
  • Wrestling Arena: A space equipped for wrestling events, featuring a mat and seating for spectators.
  • Youth Training Center: A facility where athletes can train and prepare for their respective events, often equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and expert coaching staff.
  • BMX Track: A specially designed track for BMX (Bicycle Motocross) racing, featuring jumps, banked turns, and obstacles.
  • Equestrian Center: A venue equipped for equestrian events, including dressage, show jumping, and eventing.
  • Fencing Hall: A dedicated facility with fencing strips and equipment for competitions and training.
  • Hockey Field: A field specifically designed for field hockey matches, featuring a turf surface and boundary lines.
  • Mountain Bike Course: A trail system designed for mountain bike competitions, incorporating challenging terrain and obstacles.
  • Shooting Range: A controlled environment where shooting events take place, with designated areas for different firearm disciplines.
  • Sports Hall: A multipurpose indoor facility used for various sports, such as basketball, volleyball, and handball.
  • Synchronized Swimming Pool: A pool designed specifically for synchronized swimming events, featuring varying depths and underwater speakers.
  • Tennis Court: A specially prepared surface for tennis matches, often made of grass, clay, or hard materials.
  • Track Cycling Velodrome: An indoor cycling track with steeply banked turns, designed specifically for track cycling events.

Names of Olympic Symbols and Flags

Symbols and flags play a significant role in representing the Olympic Games and the participating nations. Here are some common words and terms related to Olympic symbols and flags:

  • Five Rings: The iconic interlocking rings symbolizing the unity of the five continents (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania) and the athletes from around the world.
  • Motto: The Olympic motto, "Citius, Altius, Fortius," which translates to "Faster, Higher, Stronger," represents the pursuit of athletic excellence.
  • Olympic Flag: The flag with the five interlocking rings on a white background that represents the Olympic Movement.
  • National Flag: The flag representing each participating nation during the Olympic Games.
  • Olympic Anthem: The official anthem played during the medal ceremonies to honor the winning athletes.
  • Opening Ceremony Flag Parade: The procession of athletes carrying their national flags during the opening ceremony, showcasing the diversity of nations.
  • Torch: The symbol of the Olympic Flame, which different athletes carry during the torch relay leading up to the Games.
  • Medal Design: The design of the medals awarded to athletes, featuring unique elements specific to each host city or edition of the Olympics.
  • Paralympic Symbol: The symbol representing the Paralympic Games, consisting of three agitos in different colors, representing diversity and inclusion.
  • Host City Emblem: The emblem or logo designed specifically for the host city, representing its culture, heritage, and unique identity.

Vocabulary for Olympic Values and Ideals

The Olympic Games embody several core values and ideals that promote sportsmanship, fair play, and international understanding. Here are some common words and terms related to Olympic values and ideals:

  • Fair Play: The concept of playing within the rules, respecting opponents, and displaying sportsmanship.
  • Friendship: Fostering friendly relations among athletes and promoting understanding between nations through sport.
  • Equality: Ensuring equal opportunities and fair treatment for all athletes, regardless of their background or characteristics.
  • Inspiration: Motivating individuals to strive for their best and inspiring others through exemplary performances.
  • Respect: Showing respect for opponents, officials, and the spirit of the game, promoting a culture of mutual respect.
  • Solidarity: The spirit of unity and support among athletes, nations, and the Olympic Movement as a whole.
  • Excellence: Pursuing the highest standards of performance and continuously striving for improvement.
  • Diversity: Embracing and celebrating the diverse backgrounds, cultures, and abilities of athletes and participants.
  • Legacy: The long-term impact of the Olympics on the host city, region, and sporting community, leaving a positive and lasting heritage.
  • Sportsmanship: Conducting oneself with integrity, respect, and fairness, both on and off the field of play.

Olympic Organizations and Committees

The Olympic Games are organized and governed by various organizations and committees responsible for ensuring the smooth execution of the event. Here are ten words and terms related to Olympic organizations and committees:

  • International Olympic Committee (IOC): The supreme authority responsible for overseeing the Olympic Movement and organizing the Olympic Games.
  • National Olympic Committee (NOC): The organization representing each participating country; responsible for coordinating their national Olympic teams.
  • International Paralympic Committee (IPC): The governing body for the Paralympic Games, responsible for organizing and promoting the event for athletes with disabilities.
  • Organizing Committee: The committee formed by the host city to plan and manage all aspects of the Olympic Games, including logistics, venues, and operations.
  • Executive Board: The governing body within the IOC; responsible for making key decisions and policies related to the Olympic Games.
  • National Governing Bodies (NGBs): Organizations within each country responsible for the development and administration of specific sports at the national level.
  • Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS): An independent judicial body that resolves disputes related to sports, including issues that may arise during the Olympic Games.
  • World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA): An organization dedicated to promoting, coordinating, and monitoring the fight against doping in sports, including Olympic events.
  • Olympic Solidarity: A program initiated by the IOC to support athletes, NOCs, and the development of sports worldwide, particularly in less privileged regions.
  • World Olympians Association (WOA): An organization that represents and serves the interests of Olympians worldwide, promoting their well-being and engagement in society.


In conclusion, understanding the vocabulary associated with the Olympic Games is essential for anyone interested in the event. From the Summer and Winter Olympic Games to the various sports and events, Olympic terminology, symbols, values, and organizations, this comprehensive list provides a foundation for enhancing your knowledge of the Olympics.

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PromovaMar 5th, 2024
Olympic records are determined by the best performances achieved by athletes in their respective events during the Olympic Games. These records are measured in terms of time, distance, or score, and they serve as benchmarks for future competitors to strive to surpass.
Jordan MarshallMar 5th, 2024
hi, how are Olympic records determined?
MONIQUEJan 17th, 2024
Thank you for this vocabulary
Rowe FrostOct 27th, 2023
wow! you articles so cool!