Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is Hell Exothermic or endothermic: Giving off heat or absorving heat?

Dear Global Patriotic Geniuses

I found this communicaiton rather interesting. What is hell, where is it? and how is hell governed? interms of the bio-physical construct or is it a metaphysical world with no specific forms of energy like mass, heat, energy, etc.

If hell is a biophysical construct as this professor at Gerorge Washington University assumed, then ofcourse the naration below is brilliant as the student gave it the energy constuct in all its forms including the ecstassy of sex that declared Oh! God I am coming home!

The real question is where is home?

Please read on this rather interesting university examination bonus question and the only A that was awarded.

What an interesting times we are in!

Dr B

This is absolutely brilliant!!

The person who wrote this is either a >total genius or completely loopy (amazing how fine that line between >the two can be!!)

The following is supposedly an actual question given on University of >Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the >Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic >(absorbs heat)?>>Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law >(gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some >variant.>>One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we >need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once >a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave.

Therefore, no souls are >leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different >Religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state >that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell.

Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not >belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to >Hell.

With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of >souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order >for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls >enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase >until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in >Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you, and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and >has already frozen over.

The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more>souls and is therefore, extinct...leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being and that all our souls will move there which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God I'm coming."


Friday, August 22, 2008

I Phone and I Pod Touch technology for Colleges and Universities is possible.

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Published: August 20, 2008
Taking a step that professors may view as a bit counterproductive, some universities are doling out Apple iPhones and Internet-capable iPods to students.

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Jud Davis/Freed-Hardeman University
Freed-Hardeman University in Tennessee is providing incoming students with a free Apple iPhone or iPod Touch.

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Jud Davis/Freed-Hardeman University
Students at Freed-Hardeman activate their iPhones. Experts say uses for mobile technology in education are in their infancy.
Readers' Comments
"Are we training thinkers in our colleges or are we training gadget users?"
Paul, Kalamazoo, MI Read Full Comment »
The always-on Internet devices raise some novel possibilities, like tracking where students congregate. With far less controversy, colleges could send messages about canceled classes, delayed buses, campus crises or just the cafeteria menu.

While schools emphasize its usefulness — online research in class and instant polling of students, for example — a big part of the attraction is, undoubtedly, that the iPhone is cool and a hit with students. Basking in the aura of a cutting-edge product could just help a university foster a cutting-edge reputation.

Apple stands to win as well, hooking more young consumers with decades of technology purchases ahead of them. The lone losers, some fear, could be professors.

Students already have laptops and cellphones, of course, but the newest devices can take class distractions to a new level. They practically beg a user to ignore the long-suffering professor struggling to pass on accumulated wisdom from the front of the room — a prospect that teachers find galling and students view as, well, inevitable.

“When it gets a little boring, I might pull it out,” acknowledged Naomi J. Pugh, a first-year student at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., referring to her new iPod Touch, which can connect to the Internet over a campus wireless network. She speculated that professors might try harder to make classes interesting if they were competing with the devices.

Experts see a movement toward the use of mobile technology in education, though they say it is in its infancy as professors try to concoct useful applications. Providing powerful hand-held devices is sure to fuel debates over the role of technology in higher education.

“We think this is the way the future is going to work,” said Kyle Dickson, co-director of research and the mobile learning initiative at Abilene Christian University in Texas, which has bought more than 600 iPhones and 300 iPods for students entering this fall.

Although plenty of students take their laptops to class, they don’t take them everywhere and would prefer something lighter. Abilene Christian settled on the devices after surveying students and finding that they did not like hauling around laptops, but that most always carried a cellular phone, Dr. Dickson said.

It is not clear how many colleges plan to give out iPhones and iPods this fall; officials at Apple were coy about the subject and said they would not leak any institution’s plans.

“We can’t announce other people’s news,” said Greg Joswiak, vice president of iPod and iPhone marketing at Apple. He also said that he could not discuss discounts to universities for bulk purchases.

At least four institutions — the University of Maryland, Oklahoma Christian University, Abilene Christian and Freed-Hardeman — have announced that they will give the devices to some or all of their students this fall.

Other universities are exploring their options. Stanford University has hired a student-run company to design applications like a campus map and directory for the iPhone. It is considering whether to issue iPhones but not sure it’s necessary, noting that more than 700 iPhones were registered on the university’s network last year.

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, iPhones might already have been everywhere, if AT&T, the wireless carrier offering the iPhone in the United States, had a more reliable network, said Andrew J. Yu, mobile devices platform project manager at M.I.T.

“We would have probably gone ahead of this, maybe just getting a thousand iPhones and giving them out,” Mr. Yu said.

The University of Maryland, College Park is proceeding cautiously, giving the iPhone or iPod Touch to 150 students, said Jeffrey C. Huskamp, vice president and chief information officer at the university. “We don’t think we have all the answers,” Mr. Huskamp said. By observing how students use the gadgets, he said, “We’re trying to get answers from students.”

At each college, the students who choose to get an iPhone must pay for mobile phone service. Those service contracts include unlimited data use. Both the iPhones and the iPod Touch devices can connect to the Internet through campus wireless networks. With the iPhone, those networks may provide faster connections and longer battery life than AT&T’s data network. Many cellphones allow users to surf the Web, but only some newer ones have Wi-Fi capability.

Out of Africa Cultural Exchange and Ethiopia leads the way!

Music Review | Lincoln Center Out of Doors
Sounds of Africa (the Four-Hour Mix)

Published: August 21, 2008

Cultural exchange rarely gets more rapturous than it did on Wednesday night at Damrosch Park, in a free concert of African music presented by Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

Over the course of about four hours, an overflow audience beheld the efforts of several imposing legends from Ethiopia; a raucous art-punk band from the Netherlands; a jazz combo from Cambridge, Mass.; and a group with roots in Kenya and Washington. The show started strong and never flagged, helped along by an enthusiastic crowd.

The show’s biggest stars were Mahmoud Ahmed, a transfixing vocalist, and Getatchew Mekurya, an authoritative saxophonist. Both artists have reached global audiences through “Éthiopiques,” the acclaimed reissue series on Buda Musique, a French label.

And both artists used their stage time to evoke the exuberance of Addis Ababa in the 1970s. But they appeared in separate sets, and with two strikingly different groups.

Mr. Ahmed, 67, began his portion of the evening with “Atawurulegn Lela,” wafting a sinuous melodic line over briskly tumbling polyrhythm. His voice was strong, even youthful, and his phrasing was supple.

Later he sang “Ere Mela Mela,” an anthem with a more meditative groove, and here his singing grew rich and plangent; at times its microtonal shivers suggested the somber beauty of an Islamic call to prayer.

His accompanying coterie was the Either/Orchestra, a light-on-its-feet big band led by the saxophonist Russ Gershon, an Ethiopian-music specialist. As they do on “Ethiogroove,” a DVD issued last year, Mr. Gershon and company refurbished the sound of Mr. Ahmed’s old records, with sharper horn intonation and less rhythm-section distortion.

In addition to Mr. Ahmed, the Either/Orchestra backed Alemayehu Eshete, a singer with an equally assertive but less transcendent style.

Opening with “Addis Ababa Bete,” Mr. Eshete was at his charismatic best; each verse began with a single clarion note and then plunged into rapid-fire patter. He tried a few other approaches in his set, like an insinuative croon and a bark befitting his nickname, the Ethiopian James Brown.

Extra Golden, the Kenyan-American band, hit upon funk as a byproduct of its style, which blends Nairobian benga music and old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll. With a steady-thumping downbeat but much variation elsewhere — Onyango Wuod Omari, the band’s drummer, is a mischief-maker — the group made its hybrid feel unlabored.

But there were subtle indications of an arduous exchange. Some songs juxtaposed English and Luo, a bit jarringly. And at one point Opiyo Bilongo sang “Obama,” a song of gratitude for a certain United States senator and his crucial assistance with artist visas.

(Earlier Bill Bragin, Lincoln Center’s director of public programming, had similarly thanked Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York. There was no tune called “Schumer,” though.)

The concert closed with a gripping performance by Mr. Mekurya, the king of Ethiopian saxophone, and the Ex, the punk band from Amsterdam. Drawing primarily from their 2006 album “Moa Anbessa” (Terp), they dug in deeply together, creating a cyclone of stomping rhythm, brash distortion and fluttering modal melody.

There were vocal turns by G. W. Sok, the band’s hyperdeclarative frontman, and Katherina Ex, its rigidly propulsive drummer. But the stage belonged to Mr. Mekurya, who held his ground against two scabrous guitars on his trademark, “Shellela,” his tone a mixture of husky stoicism and earnest supplication. At another point, when he played an unaccompanied cadenza, he earned one of the biggest cheers of the night.

More Articles in Arts » A version of this article appeared in print on August 22, 2008, on page E4 of the New York edition. Need to know more? 50% off home delivery of The Times.

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The Good One Dibaba is exceling as Ethiopia's investment surges and Somalia descends into Chaos! IAAF, US 22 August 2008 Women's 5000m - FINAL

Tirunesh Dibaba crosses the line ahead of Elvan Abeylegesse to replicate the 1-2 from the 10,000m (Getty Images)

The eagerly-anticipated battle of the dueling D’s – defending champion Meseret Defar and 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba – in the 5000m came down, as expected, to the final lap. It just took the Ethiopian duo an excruciatingly long time to get there.

Simply put, Dibaba became the first woman in Olympic history to add 5000m gold to a 10,000m triumph. And she did it with the slowest winning time ever. For Dibaba, who ran 29:54.56 one week ago to take 10,000m, the second fastest performance in history, it was just as well.

“I was expecting a much faster pace,” Dibaba said. “The 10,000 was really tough. But today we were running for gold, and it was also tough.”

Certainly the toughest 15:41.40 race she’s ever run in her life. And the opening laps were quite painful for the spectators as well.

With no one wanting to lead, it was Russia’s 3000m Steeplechase champion Gulnara Galkina-Samitova who was forced into the pacing duties. Passing the first 1000m in 3:39.20, it was obvious she wasn’t too happy with the chore.

Elvan Abeylegesse, the 10,000m silver medallist, was apparently bored with the pace as well, and made a move to the front at about the 1500m mark to up the tempo a bit and reach the end of the second kilometre in 6:45.41.

The sluggish pace continued for the next several laps, with a dozen women still in the lead pack. That heavy traffic produced quite a bit contact, most notably to Defar who was clipped from behind and nearly knocked off balance with just over four laps to go.

While the lead changed hands several times, it was again Abeylegesse, just as she did in the waning stages of the 10,000m, who upped the tempo again considerably with 800 metres to go. Dibaba remained on her should, with Defar and Ethiopian No. 3, Meselech Melkamu, looking strongest.

The action hit fever pitch at the bell when Dibaba took command, with Defar and Abeylegesse tagging along. She gapped the pursuers just before entering the turn, but surprisingly, it was the Turk who was doing the chasing.

Finishing in just under 60 seconds, Dibaba was never challenged as she approached the line. Nor was Abeylegesse (15:42.74) who deserved her second silver of the Games. Defar couldn’t summon her trademark kick, but held on to take the bronze in 15:44.12.

“I tried to do my best to win,” said the Ethiopian-born Abeylegesse, whose double distance silver was also an Olympic first. “My coach told me that I had to accelerate in the race, and I tried to do that.”

Defar, whose disappointment showed during the victory ceremony, said she ran with pain in the lower part of her right leg over the last few laps, one reason why her kick failed her. Of the dawdling pace, she said, “I just thought it would be best to wait until the end to up the pace.”

In the mad scramble for bronze, Kenyans Sylvia Kibet (15:44.96) and Vivian Cheruiyot (15:46.32) fell a bit short, finishing fourth and fifth. Russian Lilia Shobukhova was sixth (15:46.62), and Turk Alemiute Bekele (14:48.48) seventh.

Out of contention in the late stages were American Shalane Flanagan, the 10,000m bronze medallist, who faded to 10th after running near the front for much of the race, and Galkina-Samitova, who was left behind with about 800m to go. The 3000m Steeplechase World record holder finished 12th.

______________ BBC August 22, 2008Death toll rises in south Somalia There has been more violence in the capital this week
More than 60 people are reported to have been killed and 150 wounded during clashes in the Somali port of Kismayo.

More than 3,000 people have fled the southern city, where an estimated 10 people died on the third day of some of the most intense fighting for months.

A BBC reporter says Islamists have been trying to seize control of the port from a local clan.

There has also been fierce fighting in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and pirate hijackings off the north coast.

The BBC's Mohamed Olad Hassan says Kismayo, Somalia's third city, is strategically important because it serves as a port for the south of the country and for neighbouring Kenya.

The head of a human rights group in the port said the fighting had caused an acute humanitarian crisis.

Many people have no access to food and all business activity is reported to have stopped.

Market hit

In Mogadishu on Thursday, some mortars landed near the compound of President Abdullahi Yusuf, who was out of the country.

Another landed near a mosque in the busy Bakara market, killing at least six people, a witness told the BBC.

Witnesses said government troops and their Ethiopian allies responded by opening fire, killing several civilians.

At least 20 people were reported to have been killed in fighting in the capital.

Ethiopian troops entered Somalia in December 2006, to oust Islamist forces from Mogadishu.

The police chief in the capital said people who wanted to sabotage talks in neighbouring Djibouti between Somalia's provisional government and its Islamist rivals were behind the most recent violence, our correspondent reports.

Somalia has been without a functioning national government since 1991 and has suffered ongoing civil strife.

The UN's World Food Programme is expanding its programme to feed 2.4 million people in Somalia by the end of the year.


Meanwhile, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said on Friday that pirates had seized a German cargo ship off the Somali coast a day earlier.

Earlier, a Japanese tanker and an Iranian bulk carrier had been hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, a busy international shipping route to the north of Somalia.

An IMB spokesman said a warship from an international force was tracking the hijacked ships.

Another ship, a Malaysian oil tanker with 39 crew was captured in the same area on Tuesday.

______________________________ Ethiopia says investment surges 35 pct to $10 bln

Fri 22 Aug 2008ADDIS ABABA, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Ethiopia attracted foreign and local investment worth $10 billion in 2007/08, a rise of 35 percent on the previous year, the government said on Friday.

Abi Woldemeskel, head of the state-run Investment Authority, said the sharp increase was thanks to an aggressive worldwide promotional campaign that boosted inflows to sectors including agriculture, flowers, textiles and tourism.

Abi told reporters China had invested particularly heavily, pumping some $800 million into construction, telecoms and agro-industry projects. He said Turkey was also a major player, spending $100 million on a textiles factory near Addis Ababa.

Meanwhile, government sources said a Saudi Arabian delegation that visited Ethiopia last week was also keen to invest in agriculture, particularly cereal production.

Government officials say Saudi Arabia already buys Ethiopian agricultural commodities worth about $1 billion a year. Ethiopia imports oil and other petroleum products from Saudi Arabia worth some $1.5 billion a year.

Ethiopias record at The 29th Series of Olympiads

If Olympic Records show the health status of the youth of a nation, Ethiopia's record show very little progress.

Ethiopians seem to have chosen only distance running as an olympic sport and forgot the rest of the Olympic activities. However, the record shows gold every where but the numbers are meagre.

There is a challenge to change this history for the better, especially in the areas of skilled games, etc.

Regardless, the record shows that progress is slow and yet impressive.

Would future generations make a difference? Time will tell.

Dr B

Highlights: Ethiopia has 31 Olympic medals and all have been won in distance events in athletics. The first was Abebe Bikila, who won gold running barefoot in the Rome marathon. Then four years later, in shoes, became the first dual Olympic marathon champion.

Then came two great names of distance running, Mamo Wolde and Miruts Yifter, who both won three Olympic medals across two Games.

In 1992 Derartu Tulu became the first black African women to win an Olympic medal when she won the 10,000m. Eight years later in Sydney, she again won the 10,000m to become the first woman to win two gold medals in Olympic distance events. She won a bronze medal in Athens in 2004.

In 1996 multiple world record holder, Haile Gebrselassie won an exciting 10,000m ahead of Kenya's Paul Tergat. The pair renewed their rivalry in Sydney and it proved to be an even more thrilling race. In a sprint for the line, Gebrselassie edged Tergat by just 0.09s, one of the closest ever finishes in a distance event.
Title: Whedefit Gesgeshi Woude Henate Ethiopia [March Forward, Dear Mother Ethiopia]
Composer: Words by Dereje Melaku Mengesha, music by Solomon Lulu Mitiku.
Inducted: 1992
Founding Date: 1948
Date of IOC Recognition: 1954
NOC President: Dagmawit Girmay
NOC General Secretary: Dr Mulalem Bessie
IOC Member(s):

First OG Appearance: 1956
Number of OG Appearance: 10
Summary: Medals per sport Sport Gold Silver Bronze Total
Athletics 14 5 12 31
Total 14 5 12 31

Medals per year

Year Gold Silver Bronze Total

1960 1 0 0 1
1964 1 0 0 1
1968 1 1 0 2
1972 0 0 2 2
1980 2 0 2 4
1992 1 0 2 3
1996 2 0 1 3
2000 4 1 3 8
2004 2 3 2 7
Total 14 5 12 31

Tirunesh Dibaba celebrates. (Photo credit: Xinhua)Photo Gallery>>
(BEIJING, August 22) -- Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia lapped her competition to win the gold medal in the Women's 5000m at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in a time of 15:41.40 minutes.

Dibaba fell short of her own world record time of 14:11.15 that she set in June this year.

Women's 10000m silver medalist Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey once again took silver, in a time of 15:42.74, while Athens 2004 Olympic gold medalist Meseret Defer claimed bronze with a time of 15:44.12.

Reigning world champion Defar ran 14:12.88 earlier this year in response to Dibaba's world record of 14:11.55. Defar previously held the world record and is a double world indoor champion and former African champion.

On Friday, August 15, multiple world champion Dibaba ran the second fastest 10000m of all time at the Beijing 2008 Games.

Former world record holder Elvan Abeylegesse finished a close second to Dibaba in the 10000m and held the 5000m world record in 2004.

Dibaba the new distance queen
Len Johnson | August 22, 2008 - 11:07PM

Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie may not yet have quite settled the issue as to who is the current emperor of Ethiopian distance running; but the matter of who is the empress is settled.

All hail empress Tirunesh Dibaba. Last night she kept her cool in a race that was as up-and-down as a 5pm office elevator, before sprinting away to complete an historic Olympic 5000/10,000 metres double, the first-ever women's distance double.

Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey was again second with Dibaba's great rival and teammate, Meseret Defar third. The pair shared a victory lap under the Ethiopian flag. Despite the heat and humidity, it seemed to be quite cool in there.

The pair have been great, and reportedly, not friendly rivals.

At the world championships in Osaka last year, Dibaba won the 10,000, Defar the 5000. This year, Dibaba broke Defar's world record by five seconds in Oslo, running 14:11.15. Defar had a real crack at getting it back six weeks later in Stockholm, running a personal best of 14:12.88 but falling just short. The stage was set for a match race in Beijing.

Dibaba and Defar have tracked each other throughout their careers, the pendulum swinging either way. Defar, two years older, was a world junior champion in 2002, the same year as one Usain Bolt.

Dibaba, 23, came through to win the 5000 at the following year's world championships in Paris. Defar was run out in the heats, a rare failure in her career.

The Athens Olympic year saw Defar bounce back to win the 5000 in Athens, relegating Dibaba to the bronze medal. Afterwards, Dibaba suggested she had been taken by surprise, otherwise would surely have won.

In 2005, Dibaba added the 10,000 to her repertoire. After running a race in Sweden to qualify, she swept all before her in Helsinki.

It was cold, wet, windy and rainy, but she defied all that to win the distance double majestically, evoking inevitable comparisons with her male counterpart, Kenenisa Bekele. Defar finished second in the 5000.

The World Athletic Final was the stage for two titanic battles on one weekend in 2006. Defar beat Dibaba narrowly in the 3000 metres, Dibaba beat Defar even more narrowly _ one-hurdedth of a second _ in the 5000.

It took until the final kilometre to break an odd-kilometre slow, even-kilometre fast pattern. Predictably, it was Elvan Abeylegesse, the Ethiopian-born Turkish runner who set up such an epic race with Dibaba in the 10,000 on opening night, who did the work.

As the pace crept up in the fourth kilometre, Dibaba moved from the back of the pack to just off the lead. Defar, a feared kicker, stayed mid-group and almost paid the ultimate price when she stumbled and almost fell.

Fortunately, the kindness of others worked in her favour as the runner alongside her held her up. There was self-interest there, a fall in the pack would have inconvenienced several runners.

At 4000 metres, Dibaba moved to Abeylegesse' s shoulder. After another 100 metres, the Turk started to inject some real pace at last. The third last lap took 66.73 seconds _ sone of the opening laps had been closer to 90!

Dibaba responded immediately, as did Defar, at last getting on her main rivals heels. The end game was on. Abeylegessed only had one card and had played it. She sped through the second last lap in 64.42, but at the end of it, approaching the bell, Dibaba laid her cards down.

She was going, and if Defar wanted to win she had better shadow her. She could not. Instead the threat was coming now from Abeylegesse. Dibaba had two metres going down the back, a little more at 200.

She paid close attention to the big screen as she entered the straight 10 metres clear, but there was no response from Abeylegesse, no last sprint from Defar.

It was over in 15:41.40. Three times a world champion, once an Olympic bronze medallist, Dibaba had clinched her second Olympic gold medal a week after she won her first.

Dibaba wins 5,000m for Ethiopia
By Sports Network
The Sports Network
Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba won the gold medal in the women's 5,000 meters Friday night at the Beijing Olympics, making her a two-time champion at these Games.

Dibaba, the world record holder in the 5,000, ran the race in 15 minutes, 41.40 seconds to add to the collection that began with a gold in the 10,000 meters last Friday. She had won a bronze medal in the 5,000 four years ago in Athens.

Just as she did in the 10,000, Dibaba was able to hold off Elvan Abeylegesse for the gold once again. The Turkish runner finished with a second silver, posting a time of 15:42.74.

Meseret Defar, the reigning Olympic and world champion, also took the bronze for Ethiopia, crossing the line in 15:44.12.

Shalane Flanagan of the United States came in 10th place after earning a bronze medal in the 10,000 in Beijing.

Kara Goucher had the best finish for the U.S., finishing in ninth place, while Jennifer Rhines was 14th out of 15 runners.

http://www.kansasci story/761366. html

Thank you
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Transfering technology or behavior: Why not insiminate Lesbians the natural way?

Ruling to the detriment of medical profession?
Ed Thomas - OneNewsNow - 8/19/2008 8:55:00 AM

By a unanimous vote on Monday, the California Supreme Court affirmed the right of a lesbian woman to be inseminated by doctors over their religious and moral objections. That ruling is being harshly criticized by faith-based groups that have fought to preserve physicians' right to practice their faith as part of their professional ethics.

The justices ruled that California's anti-discrimination laws extend to even medical treatment of homosexuals, and wrote that doctors at the North Coast Women's Medical Group, a private fertility clinic, had neither "a free-speech right nor a religious exemption" from the laws.

Attorney Mailee Smith of Americans United for Life (AUL), spokeswoman for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations and several other faith-based groups who presented amicus briefs in the case, said the ruling takes away a federally protected Constitutional right of physicians to freely exercise religion.

"The Supreme Court in California actually made the Constitution of the United states secondary to state-created law in California," says Smith.

AUL expects that by forcing healthcare professionals to choose between conscience and career, the medical field will lose doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who are already in short supply. "It defies common sense that a patient would want a doctor to violate his or her conscience in practicing medicine," Smith laments. "A diminished physician population is not good for medical care."

Bob Tyler of Americans for Faith and Freedom, counsel for the fertility clinic physicians, says it is his firm's intent to appeal, and hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will take the case. In the meantime, he says state judges have set a destructive precedent to religious liberty with the ruling, which will affect state residents in a broad way.

"It affects physicians immediately...but it affects everybody in California, no matter your profession," says Tyler.

Meanwhile, Smith says the case is far from over in the trial court. After interpreting the discrimination law's application, justices must now decide if clinic doctors were telling the truth about their objection to Guadalupe Benitez being unmarried, as opposed to being a lesbian -- an issue which Smith says will determine if Benitez wins or loses her suit.

at 11:09 AM 2 comments
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Medical Vacations: The Retiree Health-Care Solution?
By Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

The debate over U.S. health-care reform rages on.

But why wait for someone else to dictate your future? You have many options -- if you're willing to take a vacation. If recovering from a medical procedure while lying on a palm-swept beach, relaxing by the hotel pool, or shopping for terrific bargains sounds good, then medical vacations may be exactly the right solution for you.

From hip replacement to heart surgery, more people are discovering the advantages of traveling abroad for their medical needs.

A big growth industry

In just the past few years, medical vacations have gone from a tiny niche market to an impressive growth story with substantial market-share gains.

From Mexico to India, Costa Rica to Thailand, hospitals are taking advantage of this global trend. And U.S. companies are taking note as well.

Aetna (NYSE: AET) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina are among the health-care companies tailoring their corporate health insurance plans to give employees the opportunity to head to India or elsewhere for surgeries such as knee replacements and the more modern, less invasive approach to hip replacement, hip resurfacing.

In the Western Hemisphere, Costa Rica is currently the "in" destination for travelers, especially for dental and cosmetic surgery needs. You can schedule online and receive a custom-made package, appointment and prices in your email response.

For years, people in the American Southwest have capitalized on the high-quality dental work available south of the border for a fraction of U.S. prices.

Now more people are traveling to Guadalajara in Mexico for body augmentation and other surgeries, too. Many of the doctors there are U.S.-trained, and the equipment is top of the line. (We know, because we've used it.)

In Asia, one of the world's most acclaimed hospitals is located in Bangkok, Thailand. Bumrungrad looks more like a five-star hotel than a medical facility -- until you get to the third floor.

World leaders from around the globe fly here for medical procedures. Bumrungrad's website is user-friendly, as is its professional, English-speaking staff. The hospital has more than 200 surgeons who are board-certified in the United States. We have quipped many times that the cheapest health care plan is an air ticket to Bangkok.

Also close by is the Bangkok Heart Hospital. Both of these facilities are located in the center of the city, with easy access to shopping and attractions. If necessary, they will arrange your hotel stay along with the medical procedure you're having performed, all without waiting times or disqualifications.

Your entire extensive physical will be done in one morning, with your blood results and consultation that afternoon. In and out in a single day. How's that for service?

Is it safe?

Many people interested in medical tourism are concerned about the quality and safety of going abroad for technical and complex medical care, and how to get post-operative care once they return home.

All of the hospitals mentioned here use the latest equipment and are either internationally accredited facilities or have U.S.-trained physicians on staff. Some U.S. health plans also provide an in-state network of physicians who will treat a patient who's gone abroad for medical care.

The one thing that sets these hospitals apart from many of their U.S. counterparts is their attention to customer service -- they are professional and courteous in a way you rarely see anymore at home.

According to 2005 statistics from the University of Delaware, Escorts Heart Institute in Delhi and Faridabad, India, performs nearly 15,000 heart operations every year, and the death rate among patients during surgery is only 0.8 percent -- less than half that of most major hospitals in the United States.

India also has top-notch centers for hip and knee replacement, cosmetic surgery, dentistry, bone marrow transplants, and cancer therapy. Virtually all of these clinics are equipped with the latest electronic and medical diagnostic equipment.

Sounds good, but what's the cost?

Even though you get high-quality care at these hospitals, prices are quite a bit lower than what you'll find in the U.S. Several sources report big cost savings in recent years for many procedures. For example, coronary angiography in Bangkok costs less than $900.

A metal-free dental bridge that runs $5,500 in the U.S. costs about $500 in India, and a knee replacement in Thailand with six days of physical therapy costs about a fifth of what it would in the States. Cosmetic surgery savings are even greater. A full facelift that might cost $20,000 in the U.S. runs about $1,250 in South Africa.

The attraction is straightforward. The costs for everything from facelifts, dental implants, or hormone therapy to reverse the effects of aging can be one-half or less for comparable procedures in the States. Have your surgery, then recover and recuperate in a beautiful mountain setting or at a resort hotel.

Most procedures can be found online, letting you know what's included in the cost. The figure quoted to you will cover everything, including follow-up visits. There are no hidden charges, and the price includes the room, doctor, and staff.

If you'd like to retire soon, but you're held back by health-care issues, or if you've got the health-care blues and need a holiday break, why not do some research online and take a vacation?

And when it's time to recover, don't forget your suntan lotion.

at 7:14 PM 2 comments
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Lack of school nurses puts kids at risk
By Susan Abram, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 08/08/2008 04:31:25 AM PDT

NORTH HOLLYWOOD -- The backpack Evangeline Arafiles slings across her shoulder each morning holds the tools of her trade: a lilac-color stethoscope, thermometer, oximeter, penlight and stopwatch.

There isn't a Band-Aid in sight.

As a school nurse at Lowman Special Education Center, Arafiles oversees about 150 students, and there often is another registered nurse with her on site.

And despite having to insert catheters, inject insulin, treat seizures and monitor asthma, because she only has to look after 150 kids, she's one of the lucky ones.

"If you were to compare a school nurse from 40 years ago, she was someone who usually waited for a student who needed a Band-Aid," said Nancy Spradling, executive director of the California School Nurses Association.

Once known as "Band-Aid Queens," Arafiles and other school nurses have increasingly become a safety net for thousands of children.

But as their roles have changed, the nurse-to-student ratios haven't, a concern among industry groups who say complacency, budget cuts, a personnel shortage within the profession and an overall misperception of what school nurses do all collide to place children at risk.

Federal guidelines require one nurse for every 750 students. But California ranks 44th in the nation, with a ratio of 1:2,300. Of the nearly 1,000 school districts statewide, half have no school nurses at all, Spradling said.

Within the Los Angeles Unified

School District, the second-largest in the nation, there are 600 registered nurses for nearly 700,000 students - or a ratio of 1:1,167, school officials said.

But in some parts of the city, that ratio can swell to 1:4,000.

The shortage comes at a time when children's health issues are grabbing more headlines:

The leading cause of absenteeism among LAUSD students with chronic diseases is asthma, which afflicts some 63,000 students.

Of children born in 2000, about one-third of the boys and 39 percent of the girls will develop type 2 diabetes, according to the California Center for Public Health Advocacy analysts' estimate.

Less than 21 percent of LAUSD students met all the criteria considered to comprise a healthy lifestyle, according to California's statewide fitness exam.

A school nurse's job already was challenging because of a federal mandate in 1975 that required schools to accommodate disabled students.

"We welcome those kids. We want them to come to school and they have that right," Spradling said. "But today, school nurses are managing kids who need pharmaceuticals, children with cardiac problems, cancer, kidney treatments."

Burden of care

The lack of nurses has placed a burden on teachers, office workers and other staffers, but many don't want to be in a position to give first aid, said A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.

"The ratios are too high," he said. "Teachers have been told in the past that they would have to do certain things. At one point, the district wanted teachers to give shots. Our nurses were up in arms."

The California chapter of the American Nurses Association filed a lawsuit last week against the state's Department of Education, which is calling on unlicensed volunteer school employees to administer insulin to students with diabetes.

"Not only is the California Department of Education breaking state law with this directive by violating the established scope of nursing practice, but by negating the need for licensed nurses to administer insulin, they are placing the children at risk," Rebecca Patton, president of the ANA, said in a prepared statement.

Duffy said even though the nurses could train teachers, the district training would likely fall short of what teachers need to know in a medical emergency.

"We have a certain degree of student population that are at risk and they have a right to have a medical professional to be there for their needs," Duffy said.

Last year, the LAUSD was ordered to pay $7.6 million to the family of an epileptic boy who suffered a seizure at a North Hollywood elementary school, according to published reports.

The boy's family said the response to his seizure in 2005 was inadequate because several minutes passed before CPR was administered by a playground supervisor. There was no nurse on campus that day. The district argued that adults responded as best they could.

Grants are sought

Federal legislation was introduced again in June by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York and Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, once a school nurse herself. They are asking the secretary of health and human services to make grants available to eligible states to help reduce the nurse-to-student ratio.

"We're all very concerned about access to health care in the federal government," Capps said. "When kids come to school and they've never had a checkup, they come with a lot of health problems and it's a real challenge."

Still, in its most recent budget, the LAUSD cut funding for nurses to early childhood education classes or preschool.

"That, to me, is a challenge because how do we meet those needs of those in early education?" said Connie Moore, the district's director of nursing services.

"Through early detection, we can see if a child needs a pair of glasses or has an ear infection. If we just had a nurse in every school, we would be available to follow up with these children."

The district is now filling a dozen vacancies and has been able to hire 100 nurses in the past two years, especially for schools near downtown.

But there is competition for registered nurses from hospitals, and other health settings also are facing shortages.

Meanwhile, Arafiles considers herself lucky. She remains on campus all day. There is a second school nurse on staff. And she oversees fewer students than most of her peers.

Still, the job can be challenging.

"The work is rewarding," she said, "but we are stretched to the limit."

at 4:16 AM 0 comments
Monday, July 28, 2008
Faces Of The Health-care Crisis
By Chris Frates
Jul 28, 2008

The National Federation of Independent Business is on the Hill today, distributing a new booklet to congressional offices titled, “The Faces of the Healthcare Crisis: Small Business in America.”

The compendium details the difficulties small business owners face in getting health care. The effort is designed to send a message to Congress and the next president that “small businesses are demanding solutions to rising health care costs and they expect reform that works for them.”

One fairly typical vignette, Rich Gallo, owner of Office Outlet in Indiana, Pa., said he cannot afford to offer his employees health-care coverage.

And while he was searching for individual coverage, Gallo had a heart attack and put off going to the hospital because he didn’t have insurance – a delay that could have killed him. The $200,000 trip, he said, “makes me realize how we really need reform to make sure that small business people can get the coverage they need at the price they can afford.”

The push is part of NFIB’s Solutions Start Here campaign to pass health care reform that benefits small businesses.

Legislator wants legal review of GVSU's live-in partner health insurance benefit
Posted by Nardy Baeza Bickel | The Grand Rapids Press July 28, 2008 21:34PM
Categories: Breaking News

ALLENDALE -- A West Olive legislator has requested the state Attorney General's opinion on the live-in partner health insurance benefit Grand Valley State University approved for its employees earlier this month.

The benefit applies to gay couples, as well as any other live-in partner or friend who has lived with a staff or faculty member for 18 months or more. It does not cover relatives or tenants.

Republican state Rep. Arlan Meekhof sent the request last week, said his legal assistant, Bob DeVries.

It has been received by Attorney General Mike Cox, and it will be reviewed, said his spokesman Matt Frendewey, who declined to give a timeline on the issue. Cox has not been asked to review any similar policies that other universities have implemented, he said.

Other universities offering the partner benefits include the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Central Michigan University and Michigan Tech.

GVSU trustees have said the change was necessary for the university to remain competitive in attracting talent. School officials also have said it is not same-sex benefits repackaged under another name. Same-sex plans are banned under state law.

DeVries said they are taking up the issue now that it has been enacted in West Michigan.

"Grand Valley is in (Meekhof's) district and is a more immediate interest by us.

"It's our opinion ... that these benefits are against the law, especially at a time when Grand Valley increased tuition by 13 percent. There's no reason they need to institute a new program that's going to cost them $180,000 a year."

As they have with other criticism of the change, GVSU officials remained polite but firm in their stance.

"Last Monday, Representative Meekhof advised the university of his plan to request an opinion from the Attorney General, a right that is available to all members of the Legislature. Grand Valley's trustees believe that the program they adopted complies with Michigan law," vice president Matt McLogan said.

Meekhof's request came at the same time fellow state Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, said he would push for universities to lose 5 percent of their state funding if they spend taxpayer dollars to provide unmarried partner benefits.
at 10:59 PM 0 comments
Thursday, July 24, 2008

Scrap Medicare Fee-For-Service System, Doctor Says
Posted by Jacob Goldstein

They way Medicare pays doctors encourages excessive testing and discourages spending time with patients, a doctor argues today on the New York Times op-ed page.

The fee-for-service system reimburses doctors not only for their time, but also for overhead — which includes the costs of expensive machines used to run tests such as CT scans.

This is why doctors who own their own imaging equipment order far more scans than doctors who refer patients elsewhere for scans, argues the author, Peter B. Bach of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He writes:

Any first-year business school student can see the profit opportunity here. The cost of a CT scanner is fixed, but a doctor earns fees each time it is used. This means that a scanner becomes highly profitable as soon as it’s paid for.

Patient visits, on the other hand, don’t incur the overhead of fancy machinery and so aren’t big moneymakers in the current system.

Getting rid of this payment system would trim excessive use of expensive tests and encourage docs to spend more time with patients instead, argues Bach, who is a former adviser to Medicare’s top brass.

He suggests paying doctors a fixed amount for each patient, with higher payments for more complex patients to discourage cherry picking. Payment for overhead should be based on the typical costs of tests and treatments for a patient’s condition — similar to how Medicare pays hospitals.

Implementing such a program would be pretty complicated — you could run the risk of giving doctors incentive to under-treat patients, and you’d have to do a good job of setting fees to avoid cherry picking.

Still, it’s worth considering alternatives to the current system. The recent debate in Washington over Medicare payments to doctors is sure to be back next year. And the health-policy gurus we’ve been talking to say financial pressures mean some kind of radical restructuring of the payment system is coming sooner or later.

Photo by Associated Press

at 12:55 PM 0 comments
Southlake doctor pleads guilty to possession of child pornography
12:42 PM CDT on Thursday, July 24, 2008
By WENDY HUNDLEY / The Dallas Morning News
A Southlake doctor pleaded guilty this morning to one count of possession of child pornography.

Dr. James Shin, 46, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and will be required to register as a sex offender.

Dr. Shin, also known as Young Jin Shin and James Young-Jin Shin, resigned in May from the staff of John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where he had been the chairman of the internal medicine department in 2004, according to his attorney, Bob Webster.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that when Dr. Shin allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to search his home computer in September 2007, he acknowledged that he used the Internet to download images and videos of minor children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

“Some of the images of child pornography contained images of real children that have been identified through other law enforcement investigations throughout the nation,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

at 12:54 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Medical tourism needs 5k-10k professionals in 5 years

NEW DELHI: With medical tourism in India expected to grow 30% annually till 2012, the demand for talent is going up at a brisk pace even as it opens up a whole gamut of job opportunities in the sector. Little wonder then that a full-time course in medical tourism launched by the Indian Clinical Research Institute (ICRI) has generated a great deal of interest in the medical fraternity.

India’s medical tourism is expected to be a $2.2-billion industry by 2012, up from the current $1.2 billion. Encouraged by the growth momentum, the government has launched medical visas to be given on a priority basis.

Estimates suggest that there would be a demand for 5,000-10,000 professionals specifically catering to this industry segment in the next five years. These would include international marketing professionals, patients relation managers, backoffice employees.

However, analysts believe there’s an acute need for infrastructure to train people in these functions. And there are no institutions offering such niche courses. “There is a great demand for such modules as the manpower requirement goes up and the need for specialised roles arises,” says ICRI HEALTH director, health service, major general (Dr) M Srivastava.

The course from ICRI would offer training in hospital services, financial management, marketing, OR techniques, costing and budgeting. Pricing techniques, hospitality & patient relation & conflict resolution, healthcare laws & regulations, health insurance & regulations, business ethics & corporate governance are also part of the course. A major requirement, say experts, would also be for patient relation managers who can understand the needs of people from other geographies, their food habits, language and their comfort level.

Soft skills would be in great demand. Currently, individuals with a background in medicine deliver such services. As the need increases and the doctors become more engaged with the medical procedures, a different pool of people would be required to man those positions.

“Till now no institute offered such courses and the hospitals survived only on in-house resources and training,” says Apollo Healthcare and Lifestyle CEO Ratan Jalan.

at 11:35 AM 0 comments

To insimate or not to insiminate a Lesbian Woman who does not want to do it the natural way!

Detriment To Our Medical Profession Ruling?
Posted by: "Phil Allen" philallenmd
Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:26 pm (PDT)

I guess this story about a court ruling about our profesison as medical professionals whether as doctors or as clerks would sum it all up. what are your reactions... I attached the excerpt....if you want the full story...its here http://medicalstrea mline.blogspot. com/

By a unanimous vote on Monday, the California Supreme Court affirmed
the right of a lesbian woman to be inseminated by doctors over their
religious and moral objections. That ruling is being harshly criticized
by faith-based groups that have fought to preserve physicians' right to
practice their faith as part of their professional ethics.

The justices ruled that California's anti-discrimination laws extend to
even medical treatment of homosexuals, and wrote that doctors at the
North Coast Women's Medical Group, a private fertility clinic, had
neither "a free-speech right nor a religious exemption" from the laws. ...

P Allen Smith, M.D.
Neuroscience Coordinator
VAD Department, NY

Understanding the female brain

Brain scans reveal what women want in bed
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Sexploration — By Brian Alexander
Sexploration: Married, but unconsummated
Suppose you married in June, all blushing with wedding night anticipation, but now find yourself in August still waiting for the train to enter the tunnel? Do unconsummated marriages still happen? Yes, more often than you think.

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Study: Viagra Increases Sexual Enjoyment For Female Antidepressant Users
Study: 'Little Blue Pill' Works For Women, Too

updated 9:07 a.m. ET, Tues., Sept. 6, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO - Drug companies make $2.5 billion a year selling Viagra, Cialis and Levitra to help men enjoy sex. Since more women suffer from sexual dysfunction than men, developing a drug that could double those sales would seem to be a no-brainer.

Yet the pharmaceutical industry has failed women miserably — there isn’t a single sexual dysfunction drug on the market that can help them. Pfizer Inc. last year abandoned an eight-year Viagra study involving 3,000 women, conceding that its famous blue pill only works for men.

“I hate to say it, but women are much more complex than men,” said Beverly Whipple, the sex researcher who co-wrote “The G-Spot.”

Story continues below ↓


Viagra and its two competitors are rather blunt instruments — they work simply, by increasing blood flow down below. Women who take the drugs tend to experience the same physical effect, but this alone rarely satisfies them.

“You are not going to make a product by looking at what works in men and apply it to women,” said Amy Allina, program director at the National Women’s Health Network in Washington D.C. “That does reflect, in part, a lack of knowledge of what is underlying women’s sexual problems.”

Neurological solution needed
The latest research — being done by academics, rather than commercial drug companies — suggests a neurological solution is needed. Because when it comes to achieving orgasms, women are more affected by mood, self-esteem and other issues of the psyche than men.

While Pfizer and other pharmaceutical titans have abandoned the pursuit of a Viagra for females as too complicated, a growing number of university researchers are reporting progress with the help of brain scanners and other technology.

Yes, they’re watching women’s brains while they have orgasms. And they’re coming to some interesting conclusions.

For example, by studying paralyzed women who can still experience orgasm, they discovered that for women, the vagus nerve appears to be quite important, and therefore may be a promising target for drugs. This nerve — which is outside the spinal cord — carries information to areas of the brain that control mood.

“We basically found the areas of the brains that are activated in orgasm in women,” said Barry Komisaruk, who worked with Whipple on this research, which is being funded by the federal government and the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

Brain scans measure the blood flow of research volunteers, whose heads are strapped tightly down inside the noisy machines. When brain cells start firing in a part of the brain that governs a particular emotion or activity, they need more oxygen, which is carried by the blood. During a brain scan, active regions of the brain can be seen lighting up on a computer monitor.

Pain centers shut down
The scans reveal something else about women — during orgasms, the pain centers in their brains shut down, and pleasure centers — the same ones that become active when people ingest cocaine — light up.

But a big problem with these scans — done through magnetic resonance imaging — is that no machine yet built is designed to simultaneously monitor both the brain and the body. And even if they could, the images’ clarity would be muddied by “background noise” such as hand movements.

That’s why Komisaruk is currently studying the brains of women who can self-stimulate purely through thought — an apparently rare attribute that eliminates the noise — as he seeks to find out exactly what makes women tick during sex.

“The strange thing is that everyone knows that it all happens between the ears and not between the legs,” said Gert Holstege, a leading sexual researcher at Groningen University in The Netherlands.

In June, Holstege published one of the first studies that mapped brain activity during orgasm for men and women, who were stimulated by their partners.

Among other results, Holstege found that the part of the brain thought to control fear and anxiety — the amygdala — deactivated during orgasm for both women and men.

He acknowledged that his data for men is a little suspect — however — because they don’t orgasm long enough to take a proper brain scan.

New drugs are years away
Brain scanning technology has been available for close to 20 years, but is only now being used to study sex. Researchers attribute the delay to several factors, including managerial skepticism and government reluctance to fund much of the work.

“In the United States people are little more reserved when it comes to sex than in the Netherlands,” said Holstege. He said that his U.S. colleagues told him they’d be afraid to propose such a project to their own bosses.

Sex research using brain scans is only just getting started, and scientists warn that any potential new drugs — or even better diagnoses of sexual dysfunction — are years away.

Still, many researchers — including those at the Kinsey Institute for Research, Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University — see brain scans as an important tool.

“We tried to come to conclusions about the brain through all kinds of detours,” said Erick Janssen, a Kinsey researcher. “This is a much more direct way to do it.”

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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The Female Brain explained so says the men?

The Female Brain, Explained
By Laura Schaefer

Wouldn't it be a relief to finally understand what is happening behind her pretty eyes? Why is it, for example, that the woman in your life is serene one moment, apocalyptic the next? How can she remember details about your life you don't even recall? And what's with her taking everything so personally? Chalk it up to female brain chemistry. Here's how to tailor your courtship to her cortex, hippocampus, etc.

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Pay attention to the little things

She'll see shades of meaning in small gestures, because significant regions of the cortex — the outer layer of a brain that conducts much of its high-level computing — are thicker in the ladies. Therefore, an off-hand comment like, "I'd rather watch the game" might say more than you meant it to. Likewise, a small act of kindness (from a kiss on the cheek to simply calling ahead to make reservations) will blow her away because she'll consider both the gesture and the thoughtfulness behind the gesture.

To keep up with her memory, take notes

It's a scientific fact: Women remember everything. The hippocampus takes up a larger percent of the female brain than the male brain, which is good to know because it's where memories are formed. So while you remember, maybe, the day you met, she's recorded your first flirtation, first phone call, first date, first kiss, etc. Bottom line? There's a reason the PDA and the Google calendar were invented: Use these electronic tools to keep up with her mighty hippocampus.

Follow her calm lead versus instigating bar fights

She's much better at reining in her aggressive impulses than you are. Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania measured the size of the orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain involved in regulating emotions. They then compared it with the size of the amygdala, which creates emotional reactions to events. They discovered that female brains have a much larger orbitofrontal-to-amygdala ratio (OAR) than male brains do.

That suggests women are better than guys at responding calmly to rudeness or aggression. "The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is the main ‘modulator' of amygdala action," explains researcher Ruben Gur. "So if you are at a party and someone insults you, the amygdala, which is a very primitive and old structure in human brains, will be yelling ‘Kill the guy!' The OFC is the part of the brain that will say: ‘Consider the context; there are people around.'" Thus, if you want to impress her, quiet your own amygdala and behave as gracefully as she does.

Write her a poem or at least a cute email

"Women excel in something called verbal fluency, or being able to come up with appropriate words, given cues," says Dr. Larry Cahill of the University of California at Irvine. In general, women's brains are wired to be more language-centric than men's.

Researchers at McMaster University found that female brains have a greater density of neurons in parts of the temporal lobe cortex, which is the area of the brain associated with language processing and comprehension. This could help explain why women often know the right thing to say, send great cards and love notes, and choose words with such care. In wooing a love interest, it wouldn't hurt to get the help of a trusted female friend. She'll know just what to say.

Be her serotonin
Women's brains produce significantly less serotonin — the brain chemical that helps make us happy — than male brains do. So if she has a tough day at work, treat to her to a transfusion: Try a pep talk, soothing back rub or long hug.

Laura Schaefer is the author of Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor: The Best and Worst Personal Ads of All Time. For the other side of this story, read The Male Brain, Explained.

Article courtesy of Happen magazine,


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The Male Brain, Explained
By Laura Schaefer

Women have puzzled over it for years—why the heck do men do the things they do? Why do they profess their love for you one minute, then ignore you the next (say, when an Attila the Hun special turns up on TV)? Why can they not remember our birthdays? Let science explain some of these conundrums—and help you rev up your relationships!

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Be patient with his memory

The hippocampus, where initial memories are formed, occupies a smaller percent of the male brain than the female brain. If on your first date he can't remember where you work, even though you told him all about it when you met, just remember that size matters … hippocampus size, that is. Don't take it personally. (Oh, and don't be surprised when, months down the line, he has no clue you've just changed your hair.)

Don't expect him to get hints

Have a crush on him? You may have to put it out there, because men aren't as skilled at women at reading subtle emotional cues. As Dr. Larry Cahill of the University of California at Irvine puts it, "We have been assuming that the ways in which emotions are organized in the brain are essentially similar in men and women," but they aren't.

Parts of the limbic cortex, which is involved in emotional responses, are smaller in men than in women. Additionally, scientists at McMaster University have found that guys have a smaller density of neurons in areas of the temporal lobe that deal with language processing.

That's why it's probably a good idea to tell him straight-up how you're feeling ("I'm kind of hurt that you forgot I hate sushi"). Expecting him to infer from your hints could leave both of you scratching your heads.

Don't take conversation lulls personally

Fact is, guys in general just aren't as verbally adept as women are. Large parts of the cortex — the brain's outer layer that does a big part of recognizing and using subtle language cues — are thinner in men than they are in women.

A study led by Dr. Godfrey Pearlson of Johns Hopkins University has shown that two areas in the frontal and temporal lobes that play an important role in language processing are significantly smaller in men. Using MRIs, the Johns Hopkins scientists measured gray matter volumes in several brain regions in 17 females and 43 males.

Women had 23 percent more volume than men in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and 13 percent more volume than men in the superior temporal cortex. "Women," explains Dr. Cahill, "excel in being able to come up with appropriate words, given cues." Men — not so much. Don't expect him to chatter with you on dates with the skill of a girlfriend, and don't assume he's not interested in you if he occasionally lets the conversation lapse. Think of it this way: He's simply basking in moments of quiet companionship.

Appreciate his naturally upbeat nature

Does he seem to be "up" most of the time? It's not your imagination: Male brains produce 52 percent more serotonin (the chemical that influences mood) than female brains, according to a study done at McGill University. And studies show that fewer men than women suffer from depression. Guys may also have an easier time rolling with life's big stresses. If he tells you he recently lost his golden lab or suffered a job loss and doesn't get all teary, it doesn't mean he's heartless; rather, he has healthy stores of serotonin.

Don't expect his take on your relationship history to match yours

He may be incapable of seeing your shared past the way you do. Brain images have started to show that men and women use their brains in vastly different ways. For example, women use the left part of the amygdala — the part of the brain that creates emotional reactions to events — to put memories in order by emotional strength, meaning that something emotionally important to them (like a great first date a couple of months ago) will be ordered in front of what they ate for breakfast yesterday.

Men, however, use the right part of the amygdala to put memories in order. Traditionally, the right hemisphere of the brain is associated with the central action of an event, while the left hemisphere is associated with finer details. Translation: You'll both remember your first date, but he might not remember the color of your sweater or the light rain that was falling that night. It doesn't mean he was checked out; it just means he's a guy.

Remember his brain is his largest sex organ

In males of several species including humans, the preoptic area of the hypothalamus is greater in volume, in cross-sectional area and in the number of cells. In men, this area is more than two times larger than in women, and it contains twice as many cells. And what, say you, does this have to do with the horizontal mambo? Plenty. This area of the hypothalamus is in charge of mating behavior.

This small structure connects to the pituitary gland, which releases sex hormones. So if your bf wants to get intimate all the time and you feel like Ms. Low Desire, remember: You're just experiencing normal, brain-based differences.

Laura Schaefer is the author of Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor: The Best and Worst Personal Ads of All Time. For the other side of this story, read The Female Brain, Explained.

Article courtesy of Happen magazine,

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Ethiopian Diaspora Contribution: Zenebech Tola of Ethiopia leads the Bahrain 29th Olympiad as Mariam Yusuf

Skip Navigation - The official athletics website
Accessible VersionGraphic VersionContact IAAFOLYHomeTimetable/ResultsNewsPhotosStandardsStatisticsMedals1896-2004IAAFHomeRssLatest NewsReportsThursday, 07 August 2008 Jamal leads squad of 12 Bahrainis for Beijing

Successful WAF title defense for Jamal in Stuttgart 2006 (Getty Images)

relnews World 1500m champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal will lead a squad of 12 athletes who will represent Bahrain at the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing.

Former World 800m/1500m double champion Rashid Ramzi has been named to contest both the 1500m and 5000m this year, while World indoor 800m bronze medallist Yusuf Saad Kamel and Belal Mansoor Ali are the country’s other medal hopes.

WOMEN- Jamal the undoubted star

But there is no doubt as to who is the head of the Bahraini challenge in the Beijing Olympics.

With her victory in last year’s World championship, 24-year old Jamal opened a new chapter in Bahraini athletics by becoming the first female athlete to win a World title in any sport.

In contrast to her strong finish to the 2007 season, Jamal has endured a mixed season this year. Although she smashed the Asian indoor 1500m mark in Valencia, Spain in March, Jamal could only finish fourth in the World indoor championships.

But the former Ethiopian has shown signs that she is ready to bounce back from her disappointments this year with 1500m victories in Athens and Paris coming at the end of an illness-induced absence from competition in mid June.

Jamal will be joined on the women’s team by Ruqaya Al Gassra, the 2006 Games and the Asian indoor 60m champion, who is Asia’s faster this year. Al Gassra, who is a devout Muslim and famous for wearing a hijab during competition, will compete in the 200m.

Nadia Ejjafini, the Moroccan-born distance runner, will take part in the mMarathon.

MEN- Ramzi back in action, but Kamel is also genuine medal hope

Bahrain will also send a strong men’s team comprised of nine athletes with former world 800m/1500m champion Rashid Ramzi the most recognizable athlete.

A runner known for saving his best for major championships, Ramzi has again raced sporadically this year looking to focus on recapturing glory on the bigger occasions. His last two major championship performances - World 1500m silver and fifth in the World indoor championships 1500m final- indicate that he could be a force to be reckoned with in Beijing.

While Ramzi brings experience to Bahrain’s challenge in Beijing, Yusuf Saad Kamel is the athlete in form on the men’s squad. The World indoor bronze medallist is the joint second fastest this season over the 800m behind Sudanese teenage wunderkind Abubaker Kaki and Russia’s Yuriy Borzakovsky, who was also timed in 1:42.79 with Kamel in Monaco ten days ago.

Son of Kenya’s former World 800m champion Billy Konchellah and born Gregory Konchellah in Kenya, Kamel hopes to do better than his last major championship outdoor appearance. He could not get past the semifinals in the Osaka World championships and hopes to do better this time around.

Bahrain’s team for Beijing

Women- Maryam Yusuf Jamal (1500 m), Ruqaya Al Gassra (200m), and Nadia Ejjafini (Marathon)

Men- Rashid Ramzi (1500m, 5000m), Youssef Saad Kamel (800m), Tareq Mubarak Taher (3000m SC), Belal Mansoor Ali (1500m, 800m), Hassan Mahboob (5000m, 10000m), Adam Ismaeel Khamis (5000 m), Reyadh Mustafa (Marathon), Abdulhak Zakariya (Marathon), and Stephen Kamara (Marathon)

Elshadai Negash for the IAAF

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Trunesh Dibab Gold and Elvan Abeylegesse Silver: The home and Diasopora success story

Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia wins, Elvan Abeylegesse, born in Ethiopia Turk, is second
By JERE LONGMAN Published: August 15, 2008

With her trademark blistering kick, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia ran the second-fastest women's 10,000 meters ever on Friday night to take the gold medal in the opening track race of the Beijing Games.

With a punishing 60-second final lap, Dibaba crossed the line in 29 minutes 54.66 seconds, a time surpassed only by the 29:31.78 run by Wang Junxia of China in 1993. Her victory, run on a relatively cool and dry night, served as an early counterpoint to fears that smog and heat would disrupt distance performances at these Olympics.

On the bell lap of the 25-lap race, Dibaba blew past silver medalist Elvan Abeylegesse, a native of Ethiopia who now competes for Turkey and who delivered the third-fastest time ever in 29:56.34. The two ran alone for the final five laps.

Shalane Flanagan of the United States took third in 30:22.22 with a move over the final two laps, despite intestinal problems earlier in the week and confusion about her placing as the lead runners began to lap the stragglers.

"I had no idea what place it was," Flanagan said. "My coach told just to remain as calm as possible. With two laps to go, I turned on the competitive juices and let it go."

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Flanagan's finish further established the American women as a resurgent force in international distance running, following a bronze in the marathon by Deena Kastor at the 2004 Athens Games and a third-place finish by Kara Goucher in the 10,000 at the 2007 world track and field championships.

"I hate the word fluke," said Goucher, who finished 10th Friday in 30:55.16. "It's been said about me. I think Shalane proved tonight U.S. running is at the world level."

Yet, it has yet to match the pre-eminence of the East Africans.

The 10,000 has come to represent the sporting ascendance of women from sub-Saharan Africa and of Ethiopia's dominance over its fierce rival, Kenya, at major international championships. Ethiopian women have now won five Olympic gold medals in distance running, while Kenyan women have yet to win their first.

Ethiopia has taken first place in three of the last five women's 10,000 meters at the Olympics. And they have kept it in the family.

Derartu Tulu, a cousin of Dibaba's, became the first black African women to win an Olympic gold medal by taking first in the 10,000 at the 1992 Barcelona Games. She won the event again at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and has come to represent for some women the possibility of escape from a life of forced subservience.

"From Tulu, we are accustomed to the 10,000," Dibaba said after Friday's victory. "It goes without saying that we have to do well. The footsteps of Tulu have to repeat themselves."

Dibaba and Tulu come from the same high-altitude village, Bekoji, located in Ethiopia's southern highlands. So does Dibaba's sister Ejegayehu, who finished 14th Friday after taking the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics. Also from this famed running center are Fatuma Roba, the 1996 women's Olympic marathon champion, and Kenenisa Bekele, the 2004 Olympic champion at 10,000 meters and silver medalist in the 5,000.

Bekoji is located on a verdant plateau, at about 10,000 feet and is as bountiful at producing runners as it is producing wheat and teff, a millet that is rich in calcium, protein and iron. Running is the favored and necessary mode of transportation for many young children in their trips to and from school and in their performance of such chores as hauling water and firewood.

The Dibabas grew up in a conical mud hut and their parents, who are subsistence farmers, lacked electricity, so the family had to go to a local hotel to watch Tulu win the 10,000 at the Barcelona Games.

Tirunesh's own elite running career got an inadvertent start

In 2001, as a 16-year-old, she traveled to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to join her sister Ejehgayehu and another relative who is variously described as a sister and a cousin. With the school year having already begun, Tirunesh said in an interview last year that she entered a cross-country race, finished fifth and was signed to run for the nation's prison police, a common practice in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Two years later, as an 18-year-old, Dibaba became the youngest track athlete to win a world title, crossing the line first in the 5,000 meters at the world track and field championships in Paris. Her style of running emulates that of Miruts Yiftur, known as Yifter the Shifter for a last-lap kick that propelled him to gold medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

The Olympic Heritage: Past, Present and future

Olympic Games
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

"The Olympics" redirects here. For other uses, see Olympics (disambiguation).
For the 2008 Olympic Games occuring in Beijing, see 2008 Summer Olympics.

The five Olympic rings were designed in 1913, adopted in 1914 and debuted at the Games at Antwerp, 1920.The Olympic Games[1] is an international multi-sport event. The original Olympic Games (Greek: Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες; [Olympiakoi Agones]

(help·info)) were first recorded in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece, and were celebrated until AD 393.[2] Interest in reviving the Olympic Games proper was first shown by the Greek poet and newspaper editor Panagiotis Soutsos in his poem "Dialogue of the Dead" in 1833.[3] Evangelos Zappas sponsored the first modern international Olympic Games in 1859.

He paid for the refurbishment of the Panathenian Stadium for Olympic Games held there in 1870 and 1875.[3] This was noted in newspapers and publications around the world including the London Review, which stated that "the Olympian Games, discontinued for centuries, have recently been revived! Here is strange news indeed ... the classical games of antiquity were revived near Athens."[4]

The International Olympic Committee was founded in 1894 on the initiative of a French nobleman, Pierre Frédy, Baron de Coubertin. The IOC has become the heart of the "Olympic Movement," a conglomeration of sporting federations that are involved in the organization of the Games.

As the Olympic Movement has grown so have the profile and complexity of the Games. Participation in the Games has increased to the point that nearly every nation on earth is represented. With the proliferation of satellite communications, the internet, and the continuing trend towards globalization, the Olympics are consistently gaining supporters.[5] This growth has created numerous challenges, including political boycotts, the use of performance enhancing medications, bribery of officials, and terrorism.

Despite these challenges the Olympics have continued to thrive and flourish. Each successive Games attempts to add more events in order to keep up with the ever-evolving advance of athletic expression around the world.

The 2008 games in Beijing comprise 302 events in 28 sports.[6] The most recent Winter Olympics in 2006 featured 84 events in 7 sports.[7] While the Olympic Games do continue to evolve, they also encompass many rituals that were established during their infancy in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Most of these traditions are on display during the Opening and Closing ceremonies, and the medal presentations. For its part, the Olympic Movement has made considerable progress in fostering participation among as many nations as wish to compete, as well as focusing on the Olympic motto: Citius Altius Fortius - Faster, Higher, Stronger.

Contents [hide]
1 Ancient Olympics
2 Revival
3 Modern Olympics
3.1 Youth Olympic Games
4 Olympic Problems
4.1 Boycotts
4.2 Doping
4.3 Politics
4.4 Violence
5 Olympic Movement
5.1 Criticism
6 Olympic symbols
7 Olympic ceremonies
7.1 Opening
7.2 Closing
7.3 Medal presentation
8 Olympic sports
8.1 Amateurism and professionalism
9 Olympic champions and medalists
9.1 All-time Olympic Games individual medal count
9.2 Medals per country
10 Olympic Games host cities
11 See also
12 Notes
13 References
14 External links
14.1 Official websites
14.2 Other links

Ancient Olympics

Athletes trained in this Olympia facility in ancient times.Main article: Ancient Olympic Games.

There are many myths surrounding the origin of the ancient Olympic Games, the most popular of which identifies Heracles as the creator of the Olympic Games.

According to the legend, Heracles built the Olympic stadium and surrounding buildings as an honor to his father Zeus, after completing his 12 labors.

After he built the stadium he walked in a straight line for 400 strides and called this distance a "stadion" (Greek: στάδιον, Latin: stadium, "stage") that later also became a unit of distance. This is also why a modern stadium track is 400 meters in circumference — the distance a runner travels in one lap (1 stadium = 400 m).

Another myth associates the first Games with the ancient Greek concept of ἐκεχειρία (ekecheiria), Olympic truce. The date of the Games' creation was based on a four year cycle.

The most widely held estimate for the inception of the Ancient Olympics is 776 BC, although scholars' opinions diverge between dates as early as 884 BC[citation needed] and as late as 704 BC.[citation needed]

From then on, the Olympic Games quickly became much more important throughout ancient Greece, reaching their zenith in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. The Olympics were of fundamental religious importance, contests alternating with sacrifices and ceremonies honouring both Zeus (whose colossal statue stood at Olympia), and Pelops, divine hero and mythical king of Olympia, who was famous for his legendary chariot races with King Oenomaus of Pisatis, and in whose honour the games were held.

The number of events increased to twenty, and the celebration was spread over several days. Winners of the events were greatly admired and were immortalised in poems and statues.[8] The Games were held every four years, and the period between two celebrations became known as an Olympiad.

The Greeks used Olympiads as one of their units of time measurement. The most famous Ancient Olympic athlete lived during the sixth century BC: the wrestler Milo of Croton is the only athlete in history to win a victory in six Olympics.[9]

The Games gradually declined in importance as the Romans gained power in Greece. After Emperor Theodosius I proclaimed Christianity the religion of the Empire in AD 393 and banned pagan rites, the Olympic Games were outlawed as a pagan festival. [10] The Olympics were not seen again until their rebirth 1,500 years later.

In antiquity normally only young men could participate.[9] The sportsmen usually competed nude. This was due in part to the weather and also because the festival was meant to be a celebration of the achievements of the human body. Upon winning the event, the victor would have not only the prestige of being in first place but would also be presented with a crown of olive leaves.

The olive branch is a sign of hope and peace.[11] While the symbol of the olive branch has carried through from the Ancient Games to the modern reinvention, many other current Olympic symbols are unique to the Modern Olympics. The bearing of a torch, for example, formed an integral part of Greek ceremonies but the Ancient Games did not include a torch-lighting ceremony, nor was there a symbol formed by interconnecting rings.


Although the revival of the Olympic Games began in the mid-19th Century, many sports events with titles such as "Olympick" or "Olympian" Games were held before that and as early as the 16th Century. These sports events should not be confused with the re-establishment of the Olympic Games in modern times. These included an "Olympick Games" sports festival that was run for several years at Chipping Campden in the English Cotswolds. The present day local Olympick Games trace their origin to this festival.

In 1833, the poet Panagiotis Soutsos mentions a revival of the ancient Olympic Games in modern times in his poetry.

In 1850, an "Olympian Class" was begun at Much Wenlock in Shropshire, England. This was renamed "Wenlock Olympian Games" in 1859 and continues to this day as the Wenlock Olympian Society Annual Games. The Wenlock Olympian Society was founded in 1860. A national Olympic Games in Great Britain was organised by their founder, William Penny Brookes, at Crystal Palace in London, in 1866. This national Olympic Games was the first games to actually resemble an Olympic Games to be held outside of Greece.

Meanwhile Evangelos Zappas, a wealthy Greek philanthropist, sponsored the first modern revival of the Olympic Games.[3] The first modern international Olympic Games was held in an Athens city square in 1859.

Zappas paid for the refurbishment of the ancient Panathenian Stadium. This first modern international Olympic Games to be hosted in a stadium was hosted there in 1870, followed by a second 1875. The same stadium was refurbished a second time and used for the Athens 1896 Games. The revival of the Olympic Games, sponsored by Zappas was a dedicated Olympic Games composed of athletes from two countries: Greece and the Ottoman Empire.

The interest in reviving the Olympics as an international event grew further when the ruins of ancient Olympia were uncovered by German archaeologists in the mid-nineteenth century. At the same time, Pierre de Coubertin was searching for a reason for the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871).

He thought the reason was that the French had not received proper physical education, and desired to improve this. Coubertin also sought a way to bring nations closer together, to have the youth of the world compete in sports, rather than fight in war. In 1890 he attended the "Olympian Games" of the Wenlock Olympian Society, and decided that the recovery of the Olympic Games would achieve both of his goals.

Baron Pierre de Coubertin built on the ideas of Brookes and the foundations of Evangelis Zappas. His aim was to globalize the Olympic Games and to that end he established the International Olympic Committee.

In a congress at the Sorbonne University, in Paris, France, held from June 16 to June 23, 1894 he presented his ideas to an international audience. On the last day of the congress, it was decided that the first IOC Olympic Games would take place in 1896 in Athens, in the country of their birth.

To organise the Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was established, with the Greek Demetrius Vikelas as its first president. The Panathenian Stadium used for the Olympic Games of 1870 and 1875 was refurbished a second time in readiness for the 1896 Games.

The total number of athletes at the the first IOC Olympic Games, was less than 250, which is minuscule by modern standards, but at that time the games were the largest international sports event ever held.

This first Modern Olympics had only nine disciplines: Athletics, Cycling, Fencing, Gymnastics, Shooting, Swimming, Tennis, Weightlifting, and Wrestling. The Greek officials and public were very enthusiastic about hosting the inaugural games, and at one point offered to host the Olympic Games permanently. The IOC decided differently, however, and the second Olympic Games took place in Paris, France. It was at the Paris Games that women were allowed to compete.

Modern Olympics
Main articles: Summer Olympic Games and Winter Olympic Games

The United States Olympic Committee's training facilities at their headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.After the initial success, the Olympics struggled. The celebrations in Paris (1900) and St. Louis (1904) were overshadowed by the World's Fair exhibitions, which were held at the same time and location.

The 1906 Intercalated Games (so-called because they were the second games held within the third Olympiad) were held in Athens, as the first of an alternating series of Athens-held Olympics.

Although originally the IOC recognised and supported these games, they are currently not recognised by the IOC as Olympic Games, which has given rise to the explanation that they were intended to mark the 10th anniversary of the modern Olympics.

The 1906 Games again attracted a broad international field of participants (in 1904, 80% of the athletes had been American) and generated great public interest, thereby marking the beginning of a rise in both the popularity and the size of the Games.

From the 241 participants representing 14 nations in 1896, the Games have grown to nearly 11,100 competitors from 202 countries at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. The scope and scale of the Winter Olympics is much smaller than that of their Summer counterpart. For example, Turin Italy hosted 2,633 athletes from 80 countries competing in 84 events during the 2006 Winter Olympics.

As participation in the Olympics has grown, so has its profile in the international media. The Olympic Games are one of the world's largest media events. At the Sydney Games in 2000, there were over 16,000 broadcasters and journalists, and an estimated 3.8 billion viewers watched the games on television. The sale of broadcast rights has turned into an integral part of the formula by which countries recoup some of the costs incurred by hosting the Games.

Financing the Olympics is one of the largest problems faced by the IOC and host countries today. Although allowing professional athletes and attracting sponsorships from major international companies 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.

For example, the 2012 Summer Olympics (which will be held in London), is expected to have a budget of over £9 billion—one of the largest budgets for an Olympics to date. One of the biggest problems prospective host countries face is the financial burden their economy will be forced to cope with.

Corporate sponsorships do lighten the load in terms of the debt that these countries take on, but as the Games continue to grow the IOC and host countries will have to address the ever-increasing price tag that comes with the honor of hosting an Olympic Games.

A method of deferring the costs is to hold some events in different cities and even in different countries. Despite the Olympics usually being associated with one host city, most of the Olympics have had events held in other cities, especially the football and sailing events.

There have been three Olympics in which events were held in a different country: during the 1920 Antwerp Olympics two sailing races were held in the Netherlands; and during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics equestrian events were held in Sweden.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics will mark the third time that Olympic events will be held in the territories of two different NOC's: equestrian events will be competed in Hong Kong (which competes separately from mainland China).

203 countries currently participate in the Olympics. This is a noticeably higher number than the number of countries belonging to the United Nations, which is only 193.

The International Olympic Committee allows nations to compete which do not meet the strict requirements for political sovereignty that many other international organizations demand.

As a result, many colonies and dependencies are permitted to host their own Olympic teams and athletes even if such competitors also hold citizenship in another member nation. Examples of this include territories such as Puerto Rico, Bermuda, and Hong Kong, all of which compete as separate nations despite being legally a part of another country.

Also, 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." The Republic of the Marshall Islands was recognised as a nation by the IOC on February 9, 2006, and will compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[12]

Youth Olympic Games
Main article: Youth Olympic Games

The Youth Olympic Games (YOG)[13] are planned to be a "junior" version of the Games, complementing the current "senior" Games,[14] and will feature athletes between the ages of 14 and 18.[15] The idea for such an event was conceived by IOC president Jacques Rogge,[16] in 2001. At the 119th IOC session in Guatemala City in July 2007, the IOC approved the Games.[17]

The Youth Games versions will be shorter: the summer version will last at most twelve days; the winter version will last a maximum of nine days.[18][19] The IOC will allow a maximum of 3,500 athletes and 875 officials to participate at the summer games, while 970 athletes and 580 officials are expected at the winter games.[17] Each participating country will be allowed to send at least four athletes.

The sports contested at these games will be the same as those scheduled for the traditional Games,[16] but with a limited number of disciplines and events, and including some with special appeal to youth. Education and culture are also key components to this Youth edition.

Estimated cost for the games are currently $30 million for the summer and $15–$20 million for winter games.[20] It has been stated that the IOC will "foot the bill" for the Youth Games.

The first host city will be Singapore in 2010; the bidding for the first Winter edition in 2012 is underway.

Olympic Problems

Main article: Olympic boycotts

The 1956 Melbourne Olympics were the first Olympics to be boycotted. The Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland refused to attend because of the repression of the Hungarian Uprising by the Soviet Union; additionally, Cambodia, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon boycotted the games due to the Suez Crisis.[21]

In 1972 and 1976, a large number of African countries threatened the IOC with a boycott, to force them to ban South Africa, Rhodesia, and New Zealand. The IOC conceded in the first two cases, but refused to ban New Zealand in 1976 because the boycott was prompted by a New Zealand rugby union tour to South Africa, and rugby was not an Olympic sport.

The countries withdrew their teams after the games had started; some African athletes had already competed. A lot of sympathy was felt for the athletes forced by their governments to leave the Olympic Village; there was little sympathy outside Africa for the governments' attitude.[citation needed] Twenty-two countries (Guyana was the only non-African nation) boycotted the Montreal Olympics because New Zealand was not banned.[22]

Also in 1976, due to pressure from the People's Republic of China (PRC), Canada told the team from the Republic of China (Taiwan) that it could not compete at the Montreal Summer Olympics under the name "Republic of China", despite a compromise that would have allowed Taiwan to use the ROC flag and anthem. The Republic of China refused and as a result did not participate again until 1984, when it returned under the name "Chinese Taipei" and used a special flag.[23]

Countries that boycotted the 1976 (yellow), 1980 (blue) and 1984 (red) gamesIn 1980 and 1984, the Cold War opponents boycotted each other's games. Sixty-five nations refused to compete at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The boycott reduced the number of nations participating to only 81, the lowest number of nations to compete since 1956. The Soviet Union and 14 of its Eastern Bloc partners (except Romania) countered by boycotting the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

They contended that they could not guarantee the safety of their athletes. Soviet officials were quoted as saying, "chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria are being whipped up in the United States."[24] The 1984 boycotters staged their own Friendship Games in July-August.[25][26]

There had been growing calls for boycotts of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in protest of China's poor human rights record and response to the recent disturbances in Tibet, Darfur, and Taiwan. President George W. Bush showcased these concerns in a highly publicized speech in Thailand just prior to the opening of the Games. Ultimately no nations withdrew before the games began. There have also been campaigns calling for Chinese goods to be boycotted.[27][28][29]


One of the main problems facing the Olympics (and sports in general) is doping, or the use of performance enhancing drugs. In the early 20th century, many Olympic athletes began using drugs to enhance their performance. For example, the winner of the marathon at the 1904 Games, Thomas J. Hicks, was given strychnine and brandy by his coach, even during the race.

As these methods became more extreme, it became increasingly evident that doping was not only a threat to the integrity of sport, but could also have potentially fatal side-effects on the athlete.

The only Olympic death caused by doping occurred at the Rome Games of 1960. At the cycling road race in Rome, Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen fell from his bicycle and later died. A coroner's inquiry found that he was under the influence of amphetamines. By the mid-1960s, sports federations were starting to ban the use of performance enhancing drugs, and the IOC followed suit in 1967.

The first Olympic athlete to test positive for the use of performance enhancing drugs was Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, a Swedish pentathlete at the 1968 Summer Olympics, who lost his bronze medal for alcohol use. Seventy-three athletes have followed him over the next 38 years, several medal winners among them.

The most publicised doping-related disqualification was that of Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who won the 100 meter dash at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but tested positive for stanozolol. He subsequently had his gold medal stripped. It was awarded to runner-up Carl Lewis, who himself has at times been under suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs, though has never tested positive.

Despite the testing, many athletes continued to use medication to improve their athletic ability without getting caught. In 1990, documents were revealed that showed many East German female athletes had been unknowingly administered anabolic steroids and other drugs by their coaches and trainers.

Girls as young as eleven were started on the drug regimen without prior consent from their parents. American female swimmers, including Shirley Babashoff accused the East Germans of using performance enhancing drugs as early as the 1976 Games.

No clear evidence of doping was discovered until after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the aforementioned documents proved that East Germany had embarked on a state-sponsored program to dramatically improve their competitiveness at the Olympic Games and other international sporting events. Many of the culprits have been subsequently tried and found guilty of various crimes in the German penal system.

In the late 1990s, the IOC took initiative in a more organised battle against doping, leading to the formation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 1999.

The recent 2000 Summer Olympics and 2002 Winter Olympics have shown that this battle is not nearly over, as several medalists in weightlifting and cross-country skiing were disqualified due to doping offences.

One innocent victim of the anti-doping movement at the Olympics was the Romanian gymnast Andreea Răducan who was stripped of her gold medal in the All-Around Competition of the 2000 Sydney games.

Test results indicated the presence of the banned stimulant pseudophedrine which had been prescribed to her by an Olympic doctor. Raducan had been unaware of the presence of the illegal substance in the medicine that had been prescribed to her for a cold she had during the games.

During the 2006 Winter Olympics, only one athlete failed a drug test and had a medal revoked. The only other case involved 12 athletes with high levels of haemoglobin and their punishment was a five day suspension for health reasons. The techniques for unfairly improving an athlete's abilities have gotten far more sophisticated over the years. As a result, the International Olympic Committee introduced blood testing for the first time at the 2006 Games in Turino, Italy.


Main article: Politics in the Olympics

The Olympics has been affected by political incidents on many occasions. One of the most well-known politically-based incident was the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, where the games were used as propaganda by the German Nazis.

At this Olympics, Luz Long helped Jesse Owens (a black athlete) to win the long jump, at the expense of his own silver medal; some describe this as the "true Olympic Spirit."[30] The Soviet Union did not participate in the Olympic Games until the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.

Instead, the Soviets organized an international sports event called Spartakiads, from 1928 onward. Many athletes from Communist organizations or close to them chose not to participate or were even barred from participating in Olympic Games, and instead participated in Spartakiads.[31]

A political incident on a smaller scale occurred at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Two American track-and-field athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, performed the Black Power salute on the victory stand of the 200-meter track and field race. In response, the IOC's president Avery Brundage told the USOC to either send the two athletes home, or withdraw the complete track and field team. The USOC opted for the former.[32]

The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran specifically orders its athletes not to compete in any olympic heat, semi-final, or finals that includes athletes from Israel.[citation needed] At the 2004 Olympics, an Iranian judoka who had otherwise earned his place, did not compete in a heat against an Israeli judoka.[33]


Despite what Coubertin had hoped for, the Olympics did not bring total peace to the world. In fact, three Olympiads had to pass without Olympics because of war: due to World War I the 1916 Games were cancelled, and the summer and winter games of 1940 and 1944 were cancelled because of World War II. A recent and more ironic example is that in the 2008 South Ossetia War, Georgia and Russia started their engagement on the same day the 2008 Summer Olympics began.

Terrorism has also become a recent threat to the Olympic Games. In 1972, when the Summer Games were held in Munich, West Germany, eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage by terrorist group Black September in what is known as the Munich massacre. A bungled liberation attempt led to the deaths of the nine abducted athletes who had not been killed prior to the rescue, as well as that of a policeman, with five of the terrorists also being killed.[34]

During the Summer Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta, a bombing at the Centennial Olympic Park killed two and injured 111 others. The bomb was set by Eric Robert Rudolph, an American domestic terrorist, who is currently serving a life sentence at ADX Florence in Florence, Colorado.[35]

The Winter Olympics in 2002 in Salt Lake City were the first Olympic games held since September 11, 2001, which meant a higher level of security, which is now required for all Olympic games, as they may become terrorist targets.

There have been pro-Tibet / pro-human rights protests during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Torch Relay, some of which included violent incidents.

The Olympics have also been used by regimes with human rights crisis to try and cleanse their reputation, silencing dissenting voices by means of genocide, torture and disappearances, as was the case on the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico City prior to the 1968 Summer Olympics and the 2008 Tibetan riots before the Beijing Olympics.

Olympic Movement

A number of organizations are involved in organizing the Olympic Games. Together they form the Olympic Movement. The rules and guidelines by which these organizations operate are outlined in the Olympic Charter.

At the heart of the Olympic Movement is the International Olympic Committee (IOC), currently headed by Jacques Rogge. It can be seen as the government of the Olympics, as it takes care of the daily problems and makes all important decisions, such as choosing the host city of the Games, and the programme of the Olympics.

Three groups of organisations operate on a more specialised level:

International Federations (IFs), the governing bodies of a sport (e.g., FIFA, the IF for football (soccer), and the FIVB, the international governing body for volleyball.)

National Olympic Committees (NOCs), which regulate the Olympic Movement within each country (e.g., USOC, the NOC of the United States)

Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), which take care of the organisation of a specific celebration of the Olympics.

At present, 202 NOCs and 35 IFs are part of the Olympic Movement. OCOGs are dissolved after the celebration of each Games, once all subsequent paperwork has been completed.

More broadly speaking, the term Olympic Movement is sometimes also meant to include everybody and everything involved in the Olympics, such as national sport governing bodies, athletes, media, and sponsors of the Olympic Games.


Most Olympic Games have been held in Western cities; only a few games have been held in other places, and all bids by countries in South America and Africa have failed. Many believe the games should expand to include locations in poorer regions.

Economists point out that the massive infrastructure investments could springboard cities into earning higher GDP after the games.[citation needed] However, many host cities regret the high costs associated with hosting the games as a poor investment[36].

In the past, the IOC has often been criticised for being a monolithic organisation, with several members remaining a member at old age, or even until their deaths. The leadership of IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch especially has been strongly criticised. Under his presidency, the Olympic Movement made great progress, but has been seen as autocratic and corrupt.

Samaranch's ties with the Franco regime in Spain and his long term as an IOC president (21 years, until he was 81 years old) have also been points of criticism.

In 1998, it became known that several IOC members had taken bribes from the organising committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, in exchange for a vote on the city at the election of the host city.

The IOC started an investigation, which led to four members resigning and six being expelled. The scandal set off further reforms, changing the way in which host cities are elected to avoid further bribes. Also, more active and former athletes were allowed in the IOC, and the membership terms have been limited.

The same year (1998), four European groups organized the International Network Against Olympic Games and Commercial Sports to oppose their cities' bids for future Olympic Games. Also, an Anti-Olympic Alliance had formed in Sydney to protest the hosting of the 2000 Games.

Later, a similar movement in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia organized to protest the hosting of the 2010 Winter Games. These movements were particularly concerned about adverse local economic impact and dislocation of people to accommodate the hosting of the Olympics.

A BBC documentary aired in August 2004, entitled Panorama: "Buying the Games", investigated the taking of bribes in the bidding process for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The documentary claimed it is possible to bribe IOC members into voting for a particular candidate city.

In an airborne television interview on the way home, the Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë specifically accused the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the London Bid Committee (headed by former Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Coe) of breaking the bid rules with flagrant financial and sexual bribes. He cited French President Jacques Chirac as a witness but President Chirac gave rather more guarded interviews.

In particular, Bulgaria's member Ivan Slavkov, and Muttaleb Ahmad from the Olympic Council of Asia, were implicated. They have denied the allegations. Mayor Delanoë never mentioned the matter again. Others have alleged that the 2006 Winter Olympics were held in Turin because officials bribed the IOC and so Turin got the games and Sion, Switzerland (which was the favorite) did not.

The Olympic Movement has been accused of being overprotective of its symbolism (in particular, it claims an exclusive and monopolistic copyright over any arrangement of five rings and the term "olympics"), and have taken action against things unrelated to sport, such as the role-playing game Legend of the Five Rings. It was accused of homophobia in 1982 when it successfully sued the Gay Olympics, an event now known as the Gay Games, to ban it from using the term "olympics" in its name.[37]

Olympic symbols

Main article: Olympic symbols

The Olympic movement uses many symbols, most of them representing Coubertin's ideas and ideals. The Olympic Rings are the most widely used symbol. These five intertwined rings represent the unity of the five inhabited continents (with the Americas regarded as one continent).

The five colored rings on a white field form the Olympic Flag. The colors, white, red, blue, green, yellow, and black, were chosen such that each nation has at least one of these colors in its national flag. The flag was adopted in 1914, but the first Games at which it was flown were Antwerp, 1920. It is hoisted at each celebration of the Games.

The Olympic Motto is "Citius, Altius, Fortius," a Latin phrase meaning "Swifter, Higher, Stronger." Coubertin's ideals are probably best illustrated by the Olympic Creed:

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

Prior to each Games, the Olympic Flame is lit in Olympia, Greece and brought to the host city by runners carrying the torch in relay. There it plays an important role in the opening ceremonies. Though the torch fire has been around since 1928, the relay was introduced in 1936 as part of the then German government's attempt to promote their National Socialist ideology.

The Olympic mascot, an animal or human figure representing the cultural heritage of the host country, was introduced in 1968. It has played an important part of the games since 1980 with the debut of Misha, a Russian bear.

French and English are the official languages of the Olympic movement.

Olympic ceremonies


Opening ceremonies climax with the lighting of the cauldron. For lighting the cauldron, modern games feature elaborate mechanisms such as this spiral arrangement lit by the 1980 U.S. Olympic ice hockey team at the 2002 Winter Olympics.As mandated by the Olympic Charter, various elements frame the opening ceremonies of a celebration of the Olympic Games.[38][39] Most of these rituals were established by 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.[40]

The ceremonies typically start with the hoisting of the host country's flag and the performing of its national anthem.[citation needed] The host nation then presents artistic displays of music, singing, dance, and theatre representative of the culture of that country.[40]

The traditional part of the ceremonies starts with a "Parade of Nations" (or of athletes), during which most participating athletes march into the stadium, country by country. Each country's delegation is led by a sign with the name of their country and by their nation's flag.[38][39]

Traditionally (starting at the 1928 Summer Olympics), Greece enters first, due to its historical status as the origin of the Olympics, while the host nation marches last.[40] (In 2004, when the Games were held in Athens, Greece marched last as host nation rather than first, although the flag of Greece was carried in first.) Between these two nations, all other participating nations march in alphabetical order of the dominant language of the host country,[38][39] or in French or English alphabetical order if the host country does not write its dominant language in an alphabet which has a set order.

In the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, both Spanish and Catalan were official languages of the games, but due to politics surrounding the use of Catalan, the nations entered in French alphabetical order.

The XVIII Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan saw nations entering in English alphabetical order since the Japanese language grouped both China and Chinese Taipei together in the Parade of Nations. For the 2008 Summer Olympics, instead of using either French or English, the countries were ordered by how many strokes it took to write the country's name in Written Chinese. [41]

After all nations have entered, the president of the host country's Olympic Organising Committee makes a speech, followed by the IOC president who, at the end of his speech introduces the representative of the host country who declares the Games open by reciting the formula:

I declare open the Games of [name of the host city] celebrating the [ordinal number of the Olympiad] Olympiad of the modern era.[42] (There is a similar recital for the Winter Games.)

Before 1936, the Opener often used to make a short Speech of Welcome before declaring the Games open. However, since 1936 when Adolf Hitler opened both the Garmisch Partenkirchen Winter Olympics and the Berlin Summer Olympics, the Openers have unswervingly stuck to that formula. There have been two exceptions:

in 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan opened the Summer Olympics that year in Los Angeles, and also in his home state, California, with the words:
Celebrating the XXIII Olympiad of the modern era, I declare open the Olympic Games of Los Angeles.[43]

in 2002, five months after the September 11, 2001 attacks, U.S. President George W. Bush opened the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, with
"On behalf of a proud, determined and grateful nation," then the standard opening formula following.

Despite the Games having been awarded to a particular city and not to the country in general, the Olympic Charter presently requires the Opener to be the host country's head of state.[42] However, there have been many cases where someone other than the host country's head of state opened the Games.

The first example was at the Games of the II Olympiad in Paris in 1900, when there wasn't even an Opening Ceremony. There are five examples from the United States alone where the Games were not opened by the head of state.[44]

Next, the Olympic Flag is carried horizontally (since the 1960 Summer Olympics) into the stadium and hoisted as the Olympic Anthem is played. The Olympic Charter states that the Olympic Flag must "fly for the entire duration of the Olympic Games from a flagpole placed in a prominent position in the main stadium".[42]

The flag bearers of all countries then circle a rostrum, where one athlete (since the 1920 Summer Olympics) and one judge (since the 1972 Summer Olympics) speak the Olympic Oath, declaring they will compete and judge according to the rules.[42]

Finally, the Torch is brought into the stadium, passed from athlete to athlete, until it reaches the last carrier of the Torch, often a well-known athlete from the host nation, who lights the fire in the stadium's cauldron.[42] The Olympic Flame has been lit since the 1928 Summer Olympics, but the torch relay did not start until the 1936 Summer Olympics.

Beginning at the post-World War I 1920 Summer Olympics, the lighting of the Olympic Flame was for 68 years followed by the release of doves, symbolizing peace.[42] This gesture was discontinued after several doves were burned alive in the Olympic Flame during the opening ceremony of the 1988 Summer Olympics.[45] However, some Opening Ceremonies have continued to include doves in other forms; for example, the 2002 Winter Olympics featured skaters holding kite-like cloth dove puppets. The 2008 Summer Olympics also included a physical formation of a dove using many people in lighted suits.

Opening ceremonies have been held outdoors, usually on the main athletics stadium, but those for the 2010 Winter Olympics will be the first to be held indoors, at the BC Place Stadium.[46]


Various traditional elements also frame the closing ceremonies of an Olympic Games, which take place after all athletic events have concluded. Flag bearers from each participating country enter the stadium in single file, but behind them march all of the athletes without any distinction or grouping of nationality – a tradition that began at the 1956 Summer Olympics at the suggestion of Melbourne schoolboy John Ian Wing, who thought it would be a way of bringing the athletes of the world together as "one nation."[47] (In 2006, the athletes marched in with their countrymen, then dispersed and mingled as the ceremonies went on).

Three national flags are hoisted on flagpoles one at a time while the corresponding national anthems are played: The flag of Greece is raised on the middle pole honoring the birthplace of the Olympic Games, the flag of the host country on the lefthand pole, and then the flag of the country hosting the next Summer or Winter Olympic Games, on the righthand pole.[48] (Exceptionally, in 2004, when the Games were held in Athens, only one Greek flag was raised.)

In what is known as the "Antwerp Ceremony" (because the tradition began in 1920), the mayor of the city that organized the Games transfers a special Olympic Flag to the president of the IOC, who then passes it on to the mayor of the city hosting the next Olympic Games.[42] The receiving mayor then waves the flag eight times. There are three such flags, differing from all other copies in that they have a six-coloured fringe around the flag, and are tied with six coloured ribbons to a flagstaff:

The Antwerp flag: Was presented to the IOC at the 1920 Summer Olympics by the city of Antwerp, Belgium, and was passed on to the next organising city of the Summer Olympics until the Games of Seoul 1988.

The Oslo flag: Was presented to the IOC at the 1952 Winter Olympics by the city of Oslo, Norway, and is passed on to the next organising city of the Winter Olympics.
The Seoul flag: Was presented to the IOC at the 1988 Summer Olympics by the city of Seoul, The Republic of Korea (South Korea), and is passed on to the next organising city of the Summer Olympics, which was Barcelona, Spain, at that time.

This tradition posed a particular challenge at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy. The flag was passed from Sergio Chiamparino, the mayor of Turin, to Sam Sullivan, the mayor of Vancouver, Canada. Mayor Sullivan, who is a quadriplegic, waved the flag by holding it in one hand and swinging his motorized wheelchair back and forth eight times.

After these traditional elements, the next host nation introduces itself with artistic displays of dance and theatre representative of that country. This tradition began with the 1976 Games.

The president of the host country's Olympic Organising Committee makes a speech, followed by the IOC president, who at the end of his speech formally closes the Olympics, by saying:

I declare the Games of the [ordinal number] Olympiad/Olympic Winter Games closed and, in accordance with tradition, I call upon the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in [name of host city] to celebrate the Games of the [subsequent ordinal number] Olympiad/Olympic Winter Games.

The Olympic Flame is extinguished, and while the Olympic anthem is being played, the Olympic Flag that was hoisted during the opening ceremonies is lowered from the flagpole and carried horizontally from the stadium.[citation needed]

Medal presentation

After medals are awarded and presented for a particular event, the flags of the nations of the three medalists are raised. The flag of the gold medalist's country is in the center and always raised the highest while the flag of the silver medalist's country is on the left facing the flags and the flag of the bronze medalist's country is on the right, both at lower elevations to the gold medalist's country's flag. The flags are all raised while the national anthem of the gold medalist's country plays.

This format of medal presentation is also seen in other multi-sporting events such as the Southeast Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, as well as some motor racing events including Formula 1 and MotoGP.

Olympic sports

Main article: Olympic sports

Currently, the Olympic program consists of 35 different sports, 53 disciplines and more than 400 events. The Summer Olympics includes 28 sports with 38 disciplines and the Winter Olympics includes 7 sports with 15 disciplines.[49] Nine sports were on the original Olympic programme in 1896: athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, weightlifting, shooting, swimming, tennis, and wrestling. If the 1896 rowing events had not been cancelled due to bad weather, they would have been included in this list as well.[50]

At the most recent Winter Olympics, 15 disciplines in seven sports were featured. Of these, cross country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and speed skating have been featured on the programme at all Winter Olympics. In addition, figure skating and ice hockey also have been contested as part of the Summer Games before the introduction of separate Winter Olympics.

In recent years, the IOC has added several new sports to the programme to attract attention from young spectators. Examples of such sports include snowboarding and beach volleyball. The growth of the Olympics also means that some less popular (modern pentathlon) or expensive (white water canoeing) sports may lose their place on the Olympic programme.

The IOC decided to discontinue baseball and softball beginning in 2012. Cricket[citation needed] and Rugby union[citation needed] used to be in the Olympic Games but were discontinued; a revival[citation needed] is now seen as possible.

Rule 48.1 of the Olympic Charter requires that there be a minimum of 15 Olympic sports at each Summer Games. Following its 114th Session (Mexico 2002), the IOC also decided to limit the programme of the Summer Games to a maximum of 28 sports, 301 events, and 10,500 athletes.

The Olympic sports are defined as those governed by the International Federations listed in Rule 46 of the Olympic Charter. A two-thirds vote of the IOC is required to amend the Charter to promote a Recognised Federation to Olympic status and therefore make the sports it governs eligible for inclusion on the Olympic programme. Rule 47 of the Charter requires that only Olympic sports may be included in the programme.

The IOC reviews the Olympic programme at the first Session following each Olympiad. A simple majority is required for an Olympic sport to be included in the Olympic programme. Under the current rules, an Olympic sport not selected for inclusion in a particular Games remains an Olympic sport and may be included again later with a simple majority. At the 117th IOC Session, 26 sports were included in the programme for London 2012.

Until 1992, the Olympics also often featured demonstration sports. The objective was for these sports to reach a larger audience; the winners of these events are not official Olympic champions. These sports were sometimes sports popular only in the host nation, but internationally known sports have also been demonstrated. Some demonstration sports eventually were included as full-medal events.

Amateurism and professionalism

Further information: Amateurism

The ethos of English public schools greatly influenced Pierre de Coubertin. The public schools had a deep involvement in the development of many team sports including all British codes of football as well as cricket and hockey.

The English public schools of the second half of the 19th century had a major influence on many sports. The schools contributed to the rules and influenced the governing bodies of those sports out of all proportion to their size. They subscribed to the Ancient Greek and Roman belief that sport formed an important part of education, an attitude summed up in the saying: mens sana in corpore sano – a sound mind in a healthy body.

In this ethos, a gentleman was one who become an all-rounder, not the best at one specific thing. Class prejudice against "trade" reinforced this attitude. Apart from class considerations there was the typically English concept of "fairness," in which practicing or training was considered as tantamount to cheating; it meant that you considered it more important to win than to take part. Those who practiced a sport professionally were considered to have an unfair advantage over those who practiced it merely as a "hobby."

The International Olympic Committee invited a representative of the Headmasters' Conference (the association of headmasters of the English public schools) to attend their early meetings.

The Headmasters' Conference chose the Reverend Robert Laffan, the headmaster of Cheltenham College, as their representative to the IOC meetings. He was made a member of the IOC in 1897 and, following the first visit of the IOC to London in 1904, he was central to the founding of the British Olympic Association a year later.[51][52][53]

In Coubertin's vision, athletes should be gentlemen. Initially, only amateurs were considered such; professional athletes were not allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. A short-lived exception was made for professional fencing instructors.[54] This exclusion of professionals has caused several controversies throughout the history of the modern Olympics.

1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon champion Jim Thorpe was disqualified when it was discovered that he played semi-professional baseball prior to winning his medals. He was restored as champion on compassionate grounds by the IOC in 1983. Swiss and Austrian skiers boycotted the 1936 Winter Olympics in support of their skiing teachers, who were not allowed to compete because they earned money with their sport and were considered professionals.

It gradually became clear to many that the amateurism rules had become outdated, not least because the self-financed amateurs of Western countries often were no match for the state-sponsored "full-time amateurs" of Eastern bloc countries.

Nevertheless, the IOC, led by President Avery Brundage, held to the traditional rules regarding amateurism. In the 1970s, after Brundage left, amateurism requirements were dropped from the Olympic Charter, leaving decisions on professional participation to the international federation for each sport.

This switch was perhaps best exemplified by the American Dream Team, composed of well-paid NBA stars, which won the Olympic gold medal in basketball in 1992. As of 2004, the only sports in which no professionals compete is boxing and baseball (though even this requires a definition of amateurism based on fight rules rather than on payment, as some boxers receive cash prizes from their National Olympic Committees); in men's football (soccer), the number of players over 23 years of age is limited to three per team.

Advertisement regulations are still very strict, at least on the actual playing field, although "Official Olympic Sponsors" are common. Athletes are only allowed to have the names of clothing and equipment manufacturers on their outfits. The sizes of these markings are limited.[55]

Olympic champions and medalists

Main article: Lists of Olympic medalists

See also: List of multiple Olympic gold medalists

The athletes (or teams) who place first, second, or third in each event receive medals. The winners receive "gold medals." (Though they were solid gold until 1912, after which they were made of gilded silver, though nowadays plated silver. However, every gold medal must contain at least 6 grams of pure gold[56]) The runners-up receive silver medals, and the third-place athletes bronze medals.

In some events contested by a single-elimination tournament (most notably boxing), third place might not be determined, in which case both semi-final losers receive bronze medals. The practice of awarding medals to the top three competitors was introduced in 1904; at the 1896 Olympics only the first two received a medal, silver and bronze, while various prizes were awarded in 1900.

However, the 1904 Olympics also awarded silver trophies for first place, which makes Athens 1906 the first games that awarded the three medals only. In addition, from 1948 onward athletes placing fourth, fifth and sixth have received certificates which became officially known as "victory diplomas;" since 1976 the medal winners have received these also, and in 1984 victory diplomas for seventh- and eighth-place finishers were added, presumably to ensure that all losing quarter-finalists in events using single-elimination formats would receive diplomas, thus obviating the need for consolation (or officially, "classification") matches to determine fifth through eighth places (though interestingly these latter are still contested in many elimination events anyway).

Certificates were awarded also at the 1896 Olympics, but there they were awarded in addition to the medals to first and second place. Commemorative medals and diplomas—which differ in design from those referred to above—are also made available to participants finishing lower than third and eighth respectively. At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, the first three were given wreaths as well as their medals.

Because the Olympics are held only once every four years, the public and athletes often consider them as more important and valuable than world championships and other international tournaments, which are often held annually. Many athletes have become celebrities or heroes in their own country, or even world-wide, after becoming Olympic champions.

The diversity of the sports, and the great differences between the Olympic Games in 1896 and today make it difficult to decide which athlete is the most successful Olympic athlete of all time. This is further complicated since the IOC no longer recognises the Intercalated Games which it originally organised. When measuring by the number of titles won at the Modern Olympic Games, the following athletes may be considered the most successful.

All-time Olympic Games individual medal count

See also: List of multiple Olympic gold medalists

Athlete Nation Sport Olympics Gold Silver Bronze Total
Phelps, MichaelMichael Phelps USA Swimming 2000–2008 13 0 2 15
Latynina, LarissaLarissa Latynina USSR Gymnastics 1956–1964 9 5 4 18
Nurmi, PaavoPaavo Nurmi FIN Athletics 1920–1928 9 3 0 12
Spitz, MarkMark Spitz USA Swimming 1968–1972 9 1 1 11
Lewis, CarlCarl Lewis USA Athletics 1984–1996 9 1 0 10
Dæhlie, BjørnBjørn Dæhlie NOR Cross-country skiing 1992–1998 8 4 0 12

Fischer, BirgitBirgit Fischer GDR / GER Canoeing (flatwater) 1980–2004 8 4 0 12
Kato, SawaoSawao Kato JPN Gymnastics 1968–1976 8 3 1 12
Thompson, JennyJenny Thompson USA Swimming 1992–2004 8 3 1 12
Biondi, MattMatt Biondi USA Swimming 1984–1992 8 2 1 11
Ewry, RayRay Ewry USA Athletics 1900–1908 8 0 0 8
Andrianov, NikolaiNikolai Andrianov USSR Gymnastics 1972–1980 7 5 3 15
Shakhlin, BorisBoris Shakhlin USSR Gymnastics 1956–1964 7 4 2 13
CaslavskaVěra Čáslavská TCH Gymnastics 1960–1968 7 4 0 11

Medals per country

See also: All-time Olympic Games medal count

The IOC does not publish lists of medals per country, but the media often do. A comparison between countries would be unfair to countries with fewer inhabitants, so some have made calculations of medals per number of inhabitants, such as [1] for the 2004 Olympics and [2] for a few more.

A problem here is that for a very small country, gaining just one medal could mean the difference between the very top and the very bottom of the list (a point illustrated by the Bahamas' per capita number one position in 2004).

On the other hand, a large country may not be able to send a number of athletes that is proportional to its size because a limit is set for the number of participants per country for a specific sport.

A comparison of the total number of medals over time is further complicated by the fact that the number of times that countries have participated is not equal, and that many countries have gained and lost territories where medal-winning athletes come from.

A case in point is the USSR, which not only participated relatively rarely (18 times, versus 45 times for the UK), but also ceased to exist in 1991. The resulting Russian Federation is largely, but not entirely, equal to the former USSR. Also, one would have to use population statistics at the time.

The IOC medal tally chart is based on the number of gold medals for country. Where states are equal, the number of silver medals (and then bronze medals) are counted to determine rankings. Since 1996, the only countries that have appeared in the top 10 medal tallies for all three subsequent Summer Olympics have been the Russian Federation, United States, China, France, Germany, Australia and Italy. Since 1994, the only countries that have appeared in the top 10 medal tallies for the subsequent Winter Olympics have been Norway, the Russian Federation, the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, South Korea, Switzerland, France and Italy.

Olympic Games host cities

Main article: List of Olympic host cities

By 2010, the Olympic Games will have been hosted by 41 cities in 22 countries. The 2008 Summer Olympics are currently being held in Beijing, and the 2010 Winter Olympics will be held in Vancouver. The number in parentheses following the city/country denotes how many times that city/country had then hosted the games, with said exclusions.

This table does not include the "Olympic Games" organized by Evangelos Zappas prior to the IOC's creation in 1894. It does list the "Intercalated Games" of 1906, but the IOC no longer considers them to be official Olympic Games.

NOTE: The bracketed numbers listed beside the cities and nations are the number of times it has hosted the Games.

Olympic Games host cities Summer Olympic Games Winter Olympic Games
Year Olympiad Host city Country № Host city Country
1896 I Athens (1) Greece (1)
1900 II Paris (1) France (1)

1904 III St. Louis, Missouri(1) (1) United States (1)
1906 III Athens (not recognized) Greece
1908 IV London (1) United Kingdom (1)
1912 V Stockholm (1) Sweden (1)
1916 VI (2) Berlin Germany

1920 VII Antwerp (1) Belgium (1)
1924 VIII Paris (2) France (2) I Chamonix (1) France (1)
1928 IX Amsterdam (1) Netherlands (1) II St Moritz (1) Switzerland (1)
1932 X Los Angeles, California(1) United States (2) III Lake Placid, New York (1) United States (1)

1936 XI Berlin (1) Germany (1) IV Garmisch-Partenkirchen (1) Germany (1)
1940 XII (3) Tokyo→
Helsinki Japan→
Finland V (3) Sapporo→

St Moritz→
Garmisch-Partenkirchen Japan→
1944 XIII (3) London United Kingdom V (3) Cortina d'Ampezzo Italy
1948 XIV London (2) United Kingdom (2) V St Moritz (2) Switzerland (2)
1952 XV Helsinki (1) Finland (1) VI Oslo (1) Norway (1)
1956 XVI Melbourne, Victoria (1) +

Stockholm (2)(4) Australia (1) +
Sweden (2) VII Cortina d'Ampezzo (1) Italy (1)
1960 XVII Rome (1) Italy (1) VIII Squaw Valley, California (1) United States (2)
1964 XVIII Tokyo (1) Japan (1) IX Innsbruck (1) Austria (1)
1968 XIX Mexico City (1) Mexico (1) X Grenoble (1) France (2)
1972 XX Munich (1) West Germany (2) XI Sapporo (1) Japan (1)

1976 XXI Montreal, Quebec (1) Canada (1) XII Innsbruck (2) Austria (2)
1980 XXII Moscow (1) Soviet Union (1) XIII Lake Placid, New York (2) United States (3)
1984 XXIII Los Angeles, California (2) United States (3) XIV Sarajevo (1) Yugoslavia (1)

1988 XXIV Seoul (1) South Korea (1) XV Calgary, Alberta (1) Canada (1)
1992 XXV Barcelona (1) Spain (1) XVI Albertville (1) France (3)
1994 XVII Lillehammer (1) Norway (2)
1996 XXVI Atlanta, Georgia (1) United States (4)
1998 XVIII Nagano (1) Japan (2)

2000 XXVII Sydney, New South Wales (1) Australia (2)
2002 XIX Salt Lake City, Utah (1) United States (4)
2004 XXVIII Athens (2) Greece (2)
2006 XX Turin (1) Italy (2)
2008 XXIX Beijing (1)(5) China (1)

2010 XXI Vancouver, British Columbia (1) Canada (2)
2012 XXX London (3) United Kingdom (3)
2014 XXII Sochi Russia

1 Originally awarded to Chicago, but moved to St. Louis to coincide with the World's Fair

2 Cancelled due to World War I
3 Cancelled due to World War II
4 Equestrian events were held in Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm had to bid for the equestrian competition separately; it received its own Olympic flame and had its own formal invitations and opening & closing ceremonies, just like the regular Summer Olympics.[57]

5 Equestrian events to be held in China's Hong Kong SAR. Although Hong Kong's separate NOC is conducting the equestrian competition, it is an integral part of the Beijing Games; it is not being conducted under a separate bid, flame, etc., as was the 1956 Stockholm equestrian competition. The IOC website lists only Beijing as the host city.[58]

See also
Olympic Stadium
Bids for Olympic Games
Bids for Olympic Games (ballots)
Olympic Cup
Olympic Order
Pierre de Coubertin medal
Special Olympics
Olympic Games scandals

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^ London Review, September 15, 1860.
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^ Matroka, Bernadette. "IOC "Welcomes" Idea of Youth Olympic Games to Start in 2010 with "Relevant" Sports". Retrieved on 2007-05-20.
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^ IOC votes to start Youth Olympics in 2010
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:8088/detail.asp?table=WhitePaper&title=White%20Papers%20On%20Taiwan%20Issue&m_id=4 The One-China Principle and the Taiwan Issue". PRC Taiwan Affairs Office and the Information Office of the State Council (2005). Retrieved on 2006-03-06.
^ Burns, John F. Protests are Issue: Russians Charge ‘Gross Flouting’ of the Ideals of the Competition. New York Times, 9 May 1984
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^ AUSTRALIA: Calls to Boycott Beijing Olympics
^ Reporters sans frontières - Beijing 2008
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^ Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd edition, volume 24 (part 1), p. 286, Moscow, Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya publisher, 1976
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^ Article on CBC Archives
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^ Press, Canadian (2004-08-5). "Montrealers identify with Athens' challenges", Retrieved on 2008-01-25.
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^ a b c (February 2008) Fact sheet: Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games (PDF), International Olympic Committee. Retrieved on 2008-08-14.
^ a b c (February 2008) Fact sheet: Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games (PDF), International Olympic Committee. Retrieved on 2008-08-14.
^ a b c "The development of the Games - Between festival and tradition", The Modern Olympic Games (PDF), International Olympic Committee, p. 5. Retrieved on 2007-01-10.
^ Beijing Olympics open with spectacular ceremony The Guardian, 8 August 2008
^ a b c d e f g Olympic Charter - in force as from 7 July 2007.
^ The first case was the Games of the III Olympiad in St Louis, Missouri where – on 1 July 1904 – Mr. David Francis, President of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, performed the ceremony, nobody having even thought of inviting US President Theodore Roosevelt. Then, on 4 February 1932 the then-Governor of the State of New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt, opened the III Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York and later that year, on 30 July 1932, the Vice-President of the United States, Charles Curtis opened the Games of the X Olympiad in Los Angeles, California, stating, however, that he was doing so on behalf of the President, Herbert Hoover. In 1960, the Vice-President of the United States Richard Nixon was sent by President Dwight Eisenhower to open the VIII Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California, and finally, in 1980, Vice President Walter Mondale stood in for President Jimmy Carter to open the XIII Olympic Winter Games, also in Lake Placid.
^ "When messengers of peace were burnt alive". Deccan Herald (2004-08-13). Retrieved on 2007-01-10.
^ "Opening and Closing Ceremonies". Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) (2006). Retrieved on 2007-01-10.
^ "Melbourne (Equestrian - Stockholm) 1956". British Olympic Association. Retrieved on 2007-01-10.
^ "Sports". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved on 2007-03-18.
^ "The Olympic Games". AAFLA. Retrieved on 2007-04-01.
^ Steve Baily A Noble Ally and Olympic Disciple: The Reverend Robert S. de Courcy Laffan, Coubertin's 'man' in EnglandPDF (200 KB)
^ Steve Baily The Reverend Robert S. de Courcy Laffan: Baron Pierre de Coubertin and the Olympic MovementPDF
^ Victorian and Edwardian Sporting Values Produced in Poland by British Council © 2003.
^ Australian Olympic Committee. "Fencing."
^ "'Advertising, Demonstrations, Propaganda', Olympic Charter, pp98-100". International Olympic Committee (October 2007). Retrieved on 2008-08-08.
^ Medals of Beijing Olympic Games unveiled, Beijing 2008 Website (accessed 12/Aug/2008)
^ Official Report of the Equestrian Games of the XVIth Olympiad (Swedish & English)
^ IOC website, Beijing 2008 home page
Buchanan, Ian (2001). Historical dictionary of the Olympic movement. Lanham: Scarecrow Presz. ISBN 978-0-8108-4054-6.
Kamper, Erich; Mallon, Bill (1992). The Golden Book of the Olympic Games. Milan: Vallardi & Associati. ISBN 978-88-85202-35-1.
Simson, Vyv; Jennings, Andrew (1992). Dishonored Games: Corruption, Money, and Greed at the Olympics. New Tork: S.P.I. Books. ISBN 978-1-56171-199-4.
Wallechinsky, David (2000). The Complete Book of the Summer Olympics, Sydney 2000 Edition. Overlook Press. ISBN 978-1-58567-033-8.
Wallechinsky, David (2001). The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City 2002 Edition. Overlook Press. ISBN 978-1-58567-195-3.
Wallechinsky, David (2004). The Complete Book of the Summer Olympics, Athens 2004 Edition. SportClassic Books. ISBN 978-1-894963-32-9.
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External links