Learn Olympic English
This article has been written with the Beijing 2008 Olympics in mind. However,
these words and expressions can help you communicate during any Olympic Games
in any city of the world.
Part 1. Events
- Many events are obvious. Basketeball is basketball and swimming is swimming! But some
English words can be hard to understand. For example:
- Running and throwing are NOT called running and throwing! Instead, they are called
"track and field".
- A decathlon is an event which includes ten different events, such as running, jumping,
- Gymnastics is done on a long bar (the balance beam), or using two bars side by side
(parallel bars), or on rings.
- Equestrian events are anything involving horses.
Part 2. Venues (locations of events)
- Arena is a general name for a place where sports take place.
- A stadium is a big, open-air arena with many seats. It usually
has a grass field.
- A gymnasium is indoors and usually has fewer seats than a stadium.
- An aquatic center is a place for swimming and diving (jumping into
- A velodrome is made especially for bicycle racing.
Part 3. Ceremonies
- The Olympic Games always start with an Opening Ceremony where all participants enter
the main stadium for the first time.
_ The Games always end with a Closing Ceremony which passes the torch onto the
next host city.
- After the winners are determined for an event, there is a medal ceremony. The
3rd-place winner gets a bronze medal, the 2nd-place winner gets a silver medal,
and the 1st-place winner gets a gold medal.
Part 4. Useful Questions
- Where is the nearest subway station?
- Can I get to the velodrome by bus?
- Is there a public restroom (a toilet) near here?
- Are there any tickets available for tomorrow's basketball game?
- How long does it take to get from here to the aquatic center?
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