There are actually two Olympic competitions. One is the Winter Olympics which figures all winter sports and the other is the Summer Olympics. However as the Winter Olympics does not come close to the scale of the Summer Olympics, it is the Summer Olympics which comes to mind when you say the word Olympics.
The Olympics are held every four years. They are a major sporting event which includes many different kinds of sports. The athletes are not professionals but amateurs, which basically means that they are not paid to perform in this competition.
The Olympic Games are a gift to the world from Greece. They were inspired by the 12 tasks of Hercules. In Ancient Greece the games were presided over by the priests and the sports were dedicated to the Greek Gods of Mount Olympus, Zeus and Pelops. In fact even today the Olympic Flame is lit in Greece by the Vestal Virgins before it travels all over the world before it reaches the host nation.
Then it is carried all over the host nation before it reaches the host city just in time for the Opening Ceremony. Once the festivities of the Opening Ceremony are over and the flame is lit the games are officially declared open. When the games are on the Olympic Flame continues to burn nonstop. At the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games the Olympic Flame is extinguished.
Other symbols of the Olympics include the five intertwined rings of different colors. Each of the five colors was chosen because the flags of all the countries in the world have at least one of these five colors in common. Some people mistakenly believe that the rings stand for each of the five continents that participate in the games.
The motto of the Olympic Games is, "Citius, Altius, Fortius". This translates to faster, higher and stronger, which is what the athletes participating in the game look forward to. Each time the games come around the athletes break previously held records in all sports. Getting the Gold Medal is all the more exciting if you have beaten all previous bests in the game.
The Olympics are usually know by the city that they are hosted in rather than the country. For example the last games were known as the Berlin Olympics and not the China Olympics. Similarly the current Winter Olympics are known as the Vancouver Olympics and not the Canada Olympics. The Olympics are the culmination of many a sports person's dreams.