In modern time also the Olympic Games
retains his significance and importance. The number of participants increased
over the years. For instance from two hundred and forty participants of fourteen
nations in the year 1896 it has shown a huge increment of almost 11,100 competitors
from 202 countries at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. At the 2006 Winter
Olympics in Turin, Italy, two thousand six hundred and thirty three athletes
from eighty countries have participated in eighty four events.
Till date the Olympic Games are one of
the largest media events. In 2000’s Sydney Olympic Games, there were more
than sixteen thousand broadcasters and journalists. Report says that approximately
3.8 billion viewers have watched the games on television.
There is an impending problem that Olympic
Games’ authorities are facing. Although professional athletes and sponsorships
from major international companies have solved financial problems in the 1980s,
the large number of athletes, media and spectators makes it difficult and expensive
for host cities to organize the Olympics.
There is an interesting phenomenon that
is observed in Olympic Games of modern times. Although the Olympic Games are
usually being associated with one host city, most of the events of Olympic Games
are organized in other cities as well. Special mentioning may be made of the
events like the football and sailing events. In the forthcoming Beijing Olympics
of 2008 the Olympic events will be held in the territories of two different
NOC. The equestrian events will be held in Hong Kong.
Interestingly, if one considers the present
data it is enumerated that 203 countries participate in the Olympic Games. Nonetheless
it is higher than that of countries of United Nations, which are only 193.
The nations which do not fulfill the strict requirements of having political
sovereignty IOC have given them the due permission to take part in the competition.
Thus a handful of colonies and ‘dependencies’
are allowed to host their own Olympic teams and athletes even if such competitors
hold the same citizenship as another member nation. Territories like Puerto
Rico, Bermuda, and Hong Kong, compete as separate nations though legally they
are part of another country. There are numerous instances as well. Since 1980,
Taiwan has competed under the name "Chinese Taipei", and under a flag
specially prepared by the IOC. Prior to that year the People's Republic of China
refused to participate in the Games because Taiwan had been competing under
the name "Republic of China". On February 9, 2006, The Republic of
the Marshall Islands was recognized as a nation by the IOC and may compete in
the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.