Olympic Countdown – Part 3

“45 Days to Go…….”

Nations – 205 different nations will be represented at this summer’s Olympic Games. The United States are the most successful Olympic nation with more than 2500 medals, more than both France and Great Britain combined. One reason the Olympic Games is such a diverse and universal event is the participation of smaller countries who defy the odds of extreme poverty, civil war and lack of investment in sport to compete at the Olympics. War-torn Somalia is sending two athletes to London 2012 while the Cook Islands with a population of just 20,000 people have also qualified for the Games in the kayaking events.


Olympia – the site of the Ancient Olympic Games. According to myth, the Games celebrated the God Zeus and his wife Hera every four years (or Olympiad) between 776BC and 393BC. A giant statue of Zeus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was erected in Olympia to preside over the games.

Some of the ancient events such as the Javelin, the Long Jump and the Discus are still competed in the Modern Olympics while events whereas Chariot Racing are not. Instead of a gold medal, athletes at the Ancient Olympic Games would be competing for an olive branch and glory throughout Greece.


O Oscar Pistorius Olympic Countdown – Part 3Paralympics – Originating from the Greek word ‘para’ meaning ‘beside,’ the Paralympics will begin on the 29th August, 17 days after the Olympics have ended. Since the Rome Olympics in 1960, athletes with physical disabilities have competed in various disciplines and inspired millions of people world-wide. Their achievements are a testimony to both personal endurance and medical advancement over the past 50 years.

This summer may see for the first time an athlete step up from the Paralympic circuit to compete at the Olympics. Double amputee Oscar Pistorius, nicknamed « Blade-runner », is looking to make Olympic qualification time in the men’s 400m.


Queues – £500million has been set aside to invest in transport links to keep travel times to a minimum during the Olympic Games. Public transport links are expected to take up to 800,000 people to and from the Olympics each day, or in other words the population of Leeds (or Nantes.) Organizers have said that trains will be capable of taking more than 240,000 spectators to the park every hour.


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – The three R’s which make the London 2012 bid’s approach to sustainability. Organizers claim that the Olympic Stadium is both the lightest and most sustainable stadium ever built. The stadium is constructed from low-carbon concrete made from industrial waste and the roof is made from 2,500 tons of recycled steel from disused gas pipes.


S Stamps 450x450 Olympic Countdown – Part 3


Stamps – A series of special edition stamps have been released throughout the United Kingdom to commemorate the Olympics. On the Isle of Man, fashion designer Sir Paul Smith has designed a special collection of stamps which went on sale on the Island on January 1st. Follow the link to see his full collection of designs.




Vocabulary :

Odds –  chances

War-torn – déchiré

Lack of investment – un manqué d’investissement

Erected – construit

Long-jump – saut en longueur

Olive branch – rameau d’olivier

Testimony – témoignage

Bid - enchère

Industrial waste – déchets industriels

Disused – abandonné / désaffecté


Jack Carter,
In charge of pedagogy