Olympics 2012: Ten most asked questions about the summer Olympics

The Olympics has a long history and a great tradition, but there are always questions about the event. Here are some answers. Photo: The Olympic rings on London Bridge at sunset AP

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2012 — With the 2012 Summer Olympics to open in less than two weeks, lots of questions come to mind. A quick Q&A gets to some of the top questions asked by inquiring minds.

1. When will the London Olympics take place?

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will be held in London from July 27 to August 12, 2012. A total of 15,000 performers will take part in the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies. And a worldwide audience of four billion will be watching the action.

To get more information about the Olympics, go to the official site at http://www.london2012.com. It probably does not look like what you think the official Olympics site should look like, but that is it.

2. How can I watch the Olympics?

NBC (see your local schedule for times in your area) will broadcast the Olympics, starting with the Opening Ceremonies on July 27. The first competition begins on Saturday, July 28. Keep in mind that there is a five-hour time difference between London and the East Coast of the United States.

3. How many athletes and sports will be in competition at the Olympics?

In 2008, more than 11,000 athletes were in competition. Today the estimate for the 2012 Games is 12,000. Currently, 26 sports are scheduled and 23 are planned for the Paralympics for a total of 301 events.

4. What are the Paralympics?

Paralympics athlete Maya Nakanishi AP

This is the 14th summer of the Paralympic Games, which will take place August 29 and run till September 9, 2012 in London. The first competitive games were for WWII disabled veterans and were the precursor for the present day Paralympics. They were held four years after the war, thanks to Dr. Ludwig Guttmann of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, who set up a sports competition for British WWII veterans with spinal cord injuries. He called the competition the 1948 International Wheelchair Games to coincide with the 1948 Olympics.

The Paralympics have since evolved into an elite event for any athlete with a disability from cerebral palsy to blindness to amputees, and they are held biennially with summer and winter Olympic events. The competition is open to athletes of every ability level with 147 nations currently taking part.

For more information go to: http://www.paralympic.org/

5. How many times has London hosted the Olympics?

London previously hosted the Olympic games in 1908 and 1948.

6. How many countries are expected to take part in the London 2012 Olympics?

205 nations are expected to take part in 301 Olympic events. 

7. What do the five interlocking rings of the Olympics logo represent?

Olympic rings at the Village AP

The rings stand for the five original continents, (Africa, America, Asia, Australia, and Europe). The colors of the rings are blue, yellow, black, green, and red respectively, representing athletes from the nations of the world. The colors were chosen because at least one of those colors can found on the flag of every nation.

8. Does the Olympics have a motto?

“Swifter, Higher, Stronger.”

9. What is the meaning of the Olympic flame?

The flame is to keep alive the memory of the Olympic Games’ origins. The torch is lit in Olympia, Greece, months before the opening of the Games, but the Olympic flame can only be lit by the sun’s rays at the Temple of Hera via a parabolic mirror among the ruins of the ancient games.

Torch as it makes it way around England AP

After the torch is lit, it is then carried to the host country of the Games, where relays of runners traverse the countryside, carrying the torch. On the day of the Opening Ceremonies, the flame enters the stadium held aloft by one of the runners. With the lighting of the Olympic cauldron by the last relay runner, the flame is transferred from the torch to the place where it will continue to burn for the entire length of the Games. The flame will be extinguished on the final day of the Games at the Closing Ceremony.

10. Have athletes arrived at the Olympic Village yet and how safe is it in light of terrorist attacks on the Village during the 1972 games?

Athletes have started arriving and the Australians and Belgians already unfurled their banners outside of the buildings they are bunking in. Approximately 16,000 athletes and accompanying officials will be living in the Village 

Some serious questions, however, have arisen about the company contracted to provide security for the Olympics for not hiring enough personnel to do the job. Prime Minister David Cameron said the government is on it. Because of the shortfall in security guards, the government has called upon an extra 3,500 troops to provide security for the Games in addition to the security personnel on the ground and there are another 4,000 soldiers on standby.

Since the Munich attacks, security has been tight at all Olympic Villages, allowing only athletes, trainers, and officials free access to the grounds. Family and former Olympic athletes are also allowed to visit but only after being checked out. Press and all other media are barred from the Village.


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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

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