Word of the Week
Vexillography (vex-ill-ahg-ruh-fee): The art and practice of designing flags. It comes from the Latin words vexillum meaning "flag" or "banner" and graphy meaning "the field of study."
The time is finally almost here! The 2020 Tokyo Olympic games will be held from July 23-August 8, 2021. This is the very first time the Olympics have ever been postponed. We've really made history. Over the years, modern era games have only been completely cancelled a total of three times- during World War I (1916) and World War II (1940 & 1944).
Let's dig a little deeper into the history of these incredible games.
The first summer Olympics of the modern era was held in Athens, Greece in 1896. Prior to 1896, athletes received olive branch wreaths. A silver medal and olive branch were given for first place, while a laurel branch and copper or bronze medal were given to the runners-up. The gold, silver, and bronze medals that we use today were introduced in 1904 at the Saint Louis, Missouri Summer Olympics.
So, just how many countries are eligible to participate in the Olympics? 196! There are even more territories that are also allowed, so the total number can sometimes clime to 205 or more.
Now. . .what about the Olympic symbol? You've probably seen it before. It's made up of 5 intertwined rings, which symbolizes the 5 continents linked together in friendship. The colors were chosen to ensure every country's flag had at least one Olympic color: blue, yellow, black, green, and red.
Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty Images
Do you feel like you've learned a lot? Are you ready for the most random Olympic fact yet? I'm not sure you are, but I am sure that you will be just as surprised as I was.
Ancient Olympic athletes competed in the nude! The word gymnasium comes from the Greek root gymnos meaning "nude!"
. . .I'm pretty glad times have changed since then!
I've got the perfect activity for you that's related to the word of the week. Try this fun worksheet and match the flags to their countries. There are some really, really neat looking ones! Let the summer games begin!