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  • How do the Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies take place?
    • The philosophy and ceremonial aspects which surround the Olympic Games distinguish them from all other international sports events. Through music, song, dance and fireworks, the opening and closing ceremonies invite people to discover the culture of the country in which the Games are taking place.

      In addition to these celebrations, there are some very precise rituals at the ceremonies. It was at the 1920 Games in Antwerp that most of this protocol was put in place. It has been developed over subsequent editions of the Games.

      Today, Rule 55 of the Olympic Charter specifies some of the protocol that has to be followed during the ceremonies and the words used by the head of state of the host country to open the Games. The other main points of the opening ceremony are:

      • The entrance of the host country head of state
      • The national anthem of the host country
      • The parade by the participants
      • The symbolic release of doves
      • The opening of the Games by the host country head of state
      • The Olympic anthem, played as the Olympic flag is brought into the stadium and hoisted
      • The Olympic oath taken by an athlete
      • The Olympic oath taken by an official
      • The Olympic oath taken by a coach
      • The final leg of the Olympic torch relay and the lighting of the cauldron
      • The artistic programme

       

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  • What is the Olympic oath?
    • Taken for the first time at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp by Victor Boin, a Belgian fencer, the Olympic oath is one of the protocol elements of the Opening Ceremony. It is taken by an athlete from the host county, on behalf of all the athletes.

      This oath is similar to the one sworn by Olympic athletes in ancient times – the only difference being that today’s athletes take the oath with the Olympic flag and not the innards of a sacrificed animal.

      Since 1972, a judge has sworn an oath alongside the athlete at the Games opening ceremony; and since 2012, so too has a coach.

      The first Olympic oath at the Games of the modern era was written by Pierre de Coubertin. It has been modified over time to reflect the changing nature of sports competitions.

      In 2000, in Sydney, for the first time, the oath explicitly included a reference to doping. Since the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the athletes’, officials’ and coaches’ oaths have been merged into one to save time during the ceremony. Each representative says their own part: “In the name of all the athletes”, “In the name of all the judges” or “In the name of all the coaches and officials”. The athlete then takes the following oath: “We promise to take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules and in the spirit of fair play. We all commit ourselves to sport without doping and cheating. We do this, for the glory of sport, for the honour of our teams and in respect for the Fundamental Principles of Olympism.”

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  • When did an athlete first take the Olympic oath?
    • The Olympic oath was first sworn by Belgian fencer Victor Boin at the 1920 Games in Antwerp.

      It was worded as follows: "We swear that we are taking part in the Olympic Games as loyal competitors, observing the rules governing the Games, and anxious to show a spirit of chivalry for the honour of our countries and for the glory of sport".

      Since 1972, a judge has sworn an oath alongside the athlete at the Games opening ceremony; and since 2012, so too has a coach.

      The oath has been modified over time. These days, the athletes’, officials’ and coaches’ oaths have been merged into one to save time during the ceremony. Each representative says their own part: “In the name of all the athletes”, “In the name of all the judges” or “In the name of all the coaches and officials”. The athlete then takes the following oath: “We promise to take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules and in the spirit of fair play. We all commit ourselves to sport without doping and cheating. We do this, for the glory of sport, for the honour of our teams and in respect for the Fundamental Principles of Olympism.”

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  • Why does an athlete take the oath at the Olympic Games?

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