The Olympics is a quadrennial international multi-sport event celebrated as a global sports festival by people all over the world. The Olympics are held in both the summer and winter, and its ultimate goal is the cultivation of people and world peace through sports. The Games of the XXIX Olympiad held in 2008 in Beijing, China, with 302 events in 28 sports, had athletes participating from 204 countries and regions. London will be the hosts of the 2012 Olympics, commemorating the memorable 30th Olympic Games.
The Paralympic Games is a separate Olympic competition, dedicated for athletes with disabilities. The Paralympics take place shortly after every Olympics in the same host city. The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games featured 20 competitions with a record setting 3,951 athletes from 146 nations and regions participating. The 2012 Summer Games will be held in London, while the 2014 Winter Games will be held in Sochi.
In order to participate in the Paralympics, athletes must meet strict standards set by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The level of the athletes’ performance has continued to improve over the years and the number of qualified athletes has been steadily increasing. For example, in the Summer Games held in Athens, 448 Olympic records and 304 world records were set.
The Olympic Movement is led by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) guided by the philosophy of Olympism, which strives to promote world peace and the betterment of society. The Olympic Movement is embraced all over the world, and the Olympic Charter stipulates the intersecting five-ring mark as the movement’s symbol. The IOC is fully responsible for the advancement of Olympism in accordance with the Olympic Charter. The IOC recognizes 205 countries and regions, and hosts the Summer and Winter Olympics.
On October 10, 1964, the Games of the XVIII Olympiad began with the Opening Ceremony at Kasumigaoka National Stadium. 5,133 athletes from 93 nations and regions demonstrated their exceptional abilities in 163 events across 20 sporting competitions. It was the first ever Olympic Games held in Asia, and was an enormous success. In conjunction with this momentous event, Tokyo experienced dramatic development from its post-war infrastructure, including the construction of the Metropolitan Expressway and the Tokaido Shinkansen railway (a.k.a. “the bullet train”). These types of major progresses in its capital served as a steppingstone for an era of rapid economic growth in Japan, and demonstrated to the world its miraculous restoration.