Companies Involved in the London Olympics 2012

•March 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Wrestling

•February 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The Olympic sport of Wrestling dates back to ancient Egyptian times and includes two disciplines: Freestyle and Greco-Roman.

Did you know?

Before point scoring was introduced, wrestling matches continued until one wrestler was finally forced to the ground. At Stockholm 1912, Russia’s Max Klein and Finland’s Alfred Asikainen set an Olympic Games record with a match that lasted 11 hours.
Freestyle Wrestling was brought into the Games because it was very popular as entertainment at fairs and festivals in the US and the UK.
There will be 90 training dolls available for athletes to use for practice.
At Tokyo 1964, Japan’s Osamu Watanabe ended his career undefeated by winning his 186th consecutive match to claim Olympic gold.

Key facts

Venue: ExCeL
Dates: Greco-Roman: Sunday 5 – Tuesday 7 August; Freestyle: Wednesday 8 – Sunday 12 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 18
Athletes: 344

Wrestling: a history of the sport

Wrestling can be traced as far back as human records go. There is evidence of its early existence in ancient Egyptian wall paintings.

In ancient Greece, 2,000 years later, it was among the most popular events at the original Olympic Games.

The sport has taken many forms over its long history. Different versions have flourished in different areas of the world.

For more infomation on the history of the sport, visit the IOC website.

Wrestling at the Games

Greco-Roman Wrestling was an event at the first modern Games in Athens 1896. The organisers hoped it would give a flavour of the ancient Greek Olympic Games, where the sport had been very popular.

Freestyle was introduced by public demand at the St Louis 1904 Games. Women had to wait another 100 years to compete in Wrestling in the Olympic Games, at Athens 2004.

How to play – and win

Wrestling is a body-to-body combat sport. The aim is to force the back of the opponent’s shoulders on to the ground. Bouts take place on a mat, and can last for a maximum of three periods of two minutes, with a 30-second break in between. A contest can finish early if a wrestler wins the first two periods or pins his opponent.

There are two styles of Wrestling at the Games: Greco-Roman and Freestyle.  Women compete only in the Freestyle event. In Freestyle, competitors can use all parts of their body to attempt moves and holds. In Greco-Roman, use of the legs to make contact and use of the arms below the waist of the opponent are forbidden.

Jargon buster

  • Body lock: A hold where a wrestler locks arms around the body of his opponent before taking him to the mat.
  • Bridge: The arched position a wrestler adopts to avoid his back touching the mat.
  • Arm throw: A move where the wrestler throws his opponent over his shoulder by using his arm.
  • Takedown: To take an opponent from a standing position to the ground.
  • Pin: To force an opponent’s shoulders to the ground to stop and win the match.

Get involved

You can start wrestling from the age of eight. The website of British Wrestling is the best place to go for all the info you’ll need to get started.

You can also visit the site of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles.

Wrestling - Beijing 2008

Weightlifting

•February 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Weightlifting at the London 2012 Olympic Games will showcase a test of pure strength – the oldest and most basic form of physical competition.

Did you know?

There will be 1630 discs for the Weightlifting competition ranging in weight from five kilograms to 25kg.
Weightlifting is a global sport – competitors from more than 30 countries have won medals at the Olympic Games.
Weightlifters put chalk on their hands to help them grip the bar.
Competitors’ bodyweights are used to break ties, with the lighter lifter winning out.
The ‘press’ lift, in which the bar is lifted from the chest, was used in Olympic Games competition until 1972.
The first Weightlifting World Championships were held in London in 1891.

Key facts

Venue: ExCeL
Dates: Saturday 28 July – Tuesday 7 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 15
Athletes: 260 (170 men, 90 women)

One of the most straightforward sports on the London 2012 Olympic Games programme is also among the most awe-inspiring. The aim of Weightlifting is simple: to lift more weight than anyone else. The result is pure sporting theatre of the most dramatic kind, and a real spectator favourite.

The basics

Competitors in Weightlifting are divided into 15 weight categories, eight for men and seven for women. The strongest competitors may lift more than three times their body weight.
Each event features two types of lift. In the snatch, the bar is lifted from the floor to above the head in one movement. By contrast, the clean and jerk is a two-stage action – the bar is first brought up to the shoulders before being jerked over the head.

Each lifter is allowed three attempts at the snatch and three attempts at the clean and jerk, and their best lift in each discipline counts towards their total. When a tie occurs, the athlete with the lower bodyweight is declared the winner. If two athletes lift the same total weight and have the same bodyweight, the winner is the athlete who lifted the total weight first.

Olympic Weightlifting, past and present

The heaviest individual weight lifted in Olympic competition was achieved by Hossein Rezazadeh of the Islamic Republic of Iran. At the Athens 2004 Games, Rezazadeh clean-and-jerked 263.5kg – a weight roughly equivalent to five flyweight boxers.

At London 2012, the Weightlifting competition will be held at ExCeL, a multi-purpose events venue that will host seven Olympic and six Paralympic sports during the Games.

How Jargon buster

  • No lift: A lift that is judged to be unsuccessful by at least two of the three referees.
  • Press out: An illegal move where the lifter bends the arms while holding the bar overhead, then presses them out to straighten them.
  • Squat: To drop while bending the legs, with the feet to either side.

Get involved

It’s very important to get proper instruction, so contact  British Weightlifting  to find out where you can learn. The Active Places website also allows you to search for facilities in England. Additional information on the sport can be found at the International Weightlifting Federation.

Weightlifting at the Beijing games

Water Polo

•February 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Water Polo is one of the four disciplines of the sport of Aquatics.

Did you know?

Around 800 water polo balls will be used during the competition.
Top Water Polo players swim five kilometres (three miles) in the course of a match.
Water Polo developed in England in the 19th century. Great Britain won four of the first five Olympic Water Polo tournaments.

Key facts

Venue: Water Polo Arena
Dates: Sunday 29 July – Sunday 12 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 2
Athletes: 260

Water Polo: a history of the sport

Water polo was developed in Europe and the United States as two differing sports. When water polo first began, fighting between players was common, if not the norm.

In 1897, New Yorker Harold Reeder formulated the first American rules for discipline, which were aimed at curbing the sport’s more violent tendencies.
Ultimately, the faster, less dangerous European style predominated, and today this is the form of the game practised universally.

For more information on the history of the sport, visit the IOC website.

Naming the game

In the early days, the players rode on floating barrels that resembled mock horses, and swung at the ball with mallet-like sticks. This made it similar to equestrian polo, hence its name.

Water Polo at the Games

Men’s Water Polo made its debut at the 1900 Paris Games. Since then, by far the greatest exponents of the sport have been the Hungarians. Between 1928 and 1980, Hungary never failed to win a medal at the Olympic Games, and took home six of 10 possible gold medals between 1932 and 1976.

The newest Aquatics event in the Games is women’s Water Polo, which was introduced in Sydney 2000 – 100 years after the first men’s competition took place in Paris 1900.

How to play – and win

Water polo is a water-based version of handball. Players use a ball weighing between 400g and 450g. They aim to score goals in a three-metre wide, 90-centimetre high net that sits on top of the water.

Each team only has 30 seconds to score before the ball is passed to the opposition. As well as ball skills, players need stamina: you are not allowed to touch the bottom or the side of the pool during a match, which lasts for four periods of seven minutes each. Top water polo players swim five kilometres (three miles) in each match.

Jargon buster

  • Ball under: A foul called on a player for taking or holding the ball underwater when an opponent tackles the player.
  • Dry pass: A pass in water polo that is designed to be caught before the ball hits the water. 
  • Eggbeater: A powerful way of treading water, used in synchronised swimming and water polo. 
  • Swim-off: A race for the ball in the centre of the field of play to start each period.

Get involved

If you want to know more about clubs, facilities and coaching schemes in your area, contact your national federation. Visit British Swimming, Federation Internationale de Natation, Welsh Amateur Swimming Association, Swim Ulster and Scottish Swimming.

water polo at the Beijing games

Volleyball

•February 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The Olympic sport of Volleyball includes two disciplines: Volleyball and Beach Volleyball.

Did you know?

A five-a-side game similar to volleyball was played in the Middle Ages.
A volleyball ball weighs between 260g and 280g. It is made of synthetic leather.
The famous ‘set and spike’ play was invented in the Philippines, and originally known as ‘the Philippino Bomb’.
A total of 384 athletes will compete for four gold medals in the sport of Volleyball at the 2012 Games.

Key facts

 

 Venue: Earls Court
Date: Saturday 28 July – Sunday 12 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 2
Athletes: 288

Volleyball: a history of the sport

Volleyball began in the same place as basketball – a YMCA gym in Massachusetts, USA.

In 1895, four years after James Naismith invented basketball, his friend William G. Morgan came up with a game he called ‘mintonette’ – designed as a more gentle alternative to basketball for older members of the gym.

Mintonette grew into modern volleyball, which is anything but gentle, as players leap and smash their way to success in one of the world’s fastest sports.

For more information on the history of the sport visit the IOC website.

Volleyball at the Olympic Games 

Volleyball first appeared in the Games at Tokyo 1964. Historically, the dominant forces in world Volleyball have been Brazil, Italy and Russia.

How to play

Volleyball is played by two teams of six on an 18 x 9 metre (60 x 30 feet) indoor court. The teams are divided by a net that stands 2.43m (96 inches) high for men and 2.24m (88in) for women.

The object of the game is to hit the ball over the net to land in the other team’s half of the court. Players normally use their hands to try to keep the ball in the air and set up point-winning plays, although the ball can be played by any part of the body.

Each team is allowed three touches of the ball before it must cross back over the net. Matches are the best of five sets, with 25 points needed to win a set (15 in the fifth and deciding set).

In 2012, the Olympic Volleyball competition will feature 12 teams in a preliminary round, divided into two pools of six teams.

A total of 76 matches will be played during 16 days of competition – 38 matches each for women and men.

Jargon buster

 

  • Spike: To smash the ball overarm into the opponent’s court.
  • Dig: The act of passing the ball underarm, normally on service receive and back court defence
  • Setter: a specialist player who acts as the link between the passer and the attacking hitters
  • Libero: a specialist back court player for service reception and retrievals from opposition attacks.
  • Block: preventing the attacking ball to come over the net by forming a ‘wall’ of hands at the net.
  • Wipe: where players intentionally hit the ball into the opposition block so that it goes out of play to win a point for the attackers.
  • Shoot: a very fast attack where the setter plays the ball out to the wing attacker as fast as possible to beat the opposition blockers.

 

Get involved

If you want to get started in this fast and exciting team sport, contact your home nation’s federation:

National Governing Bodies:

British Volleyball Federation 

English Volleyball Association 

Scottish Volleyball Association 

Northern Ireland Volleyball Association 

Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB)  

Volleyball at Beijing 2008

Triathlon

•February 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The Olympic sport of Triathlon consists of swimming, cycling and running.

Did you know?

The world’s leading competitors take less than one hour 50 minutes to complete an Olympic-distance triathlon.
London hosts Europe’s largest triathlon at ExCeL – a London 2012 venue.
The first Olympic Triathlon champions were Brigitte McMahon (Switzerland) and Simon Whitfield (Canada).

Key facts

Venue: Hyde Park
Dates: Saturday 4 and Tuesday 7 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 2
Athletes: 110 (55 men, 55 women)

Triathlon: a history of the sport 

Triathlon is thought to be the fastest-growing individual sport in the UK.

It attracts a wide range of athletes because it combines three different disciplines.

The sport developed from the fitness craze that swept California in the early 1970s, and the first race was held in San Diego in 1974.

For more information on the history of the sport visit the IOC website.

Triathlon at the Games

Triathlon made its Games debut at Sydney 2000, where half a million spectators lined the streets to watch the event. Since then, the sport has continued to grow in popularity around the world, producing world class athletes on every continent.

How the competition runs

The Olympic Triathlon starts with a 1,500m swim in open water. Competitors then cycle 40km before finishing with a 10km run. The gaps between the stages are known as ‘transitions’.

These often prove crucial to the end result as athletes gain or lose time on their rivals by taking off their wetsuit and putting on their shoes.

Jargon buster

  • Drafting: Cycling in a pack of riders as opposed to riding alone.
  • Pontoon: The floating apparatus that triathletes dive off to begin the swimming stage.
  • Wet suit: An all-in-one body suit that can be worn if the water is between 14 and 20 degrees. Above 20 degrees wetsuits are not allowed.

Get involved

Triathlon is a sport for people of all ages and backgrounds, and – with races held over a wide range of distances – there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.

The British Triathlon Federation’s Home Nations – Triathlon England, triathlonscotland and Welsh Triathlon – oversee a network of clubs, coaches, volunteers and races across the country.

For more information, contact the British Triathlon Federation, the National Governing Body of the sport in the United Kingdom.

Also visit the International Triathlon Union.

triathlon start-beijing 2008

Tennis

•February 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Just three weeks after the end of the annual grand slam tournament, Wimbledon will once again welcome the best players in the world for the London 2012 Olympic Games Tennis competition.

Did you know?

The first tennis balls were made of wool or hair, wrapped up in leather.
The first tennis rackets were wooden, with strings made of sheep or bovine intestines.
One theory behind the unusual scoring system used in a tennis game relates to the presence of a clock on the court. People think that the clock hand was moved forward by 15 minutes a time to record the score.
Tennis gets its name from the French ‘tenez’, which means ‘here you go’. Players used to shout this phrase before they served the ball.
‘Love’ – the term for ‘no points’ in tennis – is thought to come from the French word ‘l’oeuf’, meaning ‘egg’ – the shape of a zero.
King Henry VIII was a champion in ‘real (or ‘royal’) tennis’ – a precursor of the modern sport.

Key facts

Venue: Wimbledon
Dates: Saturday 28 July – Sunday 5 August
Events: Men’s and women’s Singles and Doubles; Mixed Doubles
Medal events: 5
Athletes: 172 (86 men, 86 women)

Every four years, the Olympic Tennis tournament attracts the world’s top stars. At Beijing in 2008, for instance, Rafael Nadal won the men’s Singles, while the Williams sisters triumphed in the women’s Doubles. All the players will be aiming for a showdown on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, where the Olympic champions will be crowned.

The basics

The Tennis competition at London 2012 will feature five medal events. Along with men’s and women’s Singles and men’s and women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles will be making its first Olympic appearance since 1924.

All matches will be the best of three sets with the exception of the men’s Singles final, which will be the best of five sets, and all Mixed Doubles matches, which will be resolved by a first-to-10 tie-break if they reach one set all.

At London 2012, the Tennis tournament will be played according to a knockout format, with the winners of the semi-finals in each event going head-to-head on Centre Court for the gold medals.

Olympic Tennis, past and present

Tennis appeared at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 but was dropped from the programme after the Paris 1924 Games. It returned 64 years later, with Miloslav Mečíř (Czechoslovakia) and Steffi Graf (West Germany) winning gold in the two singles tournaments at Seoul 1988.

The Tennis competition at London 2012 will be held on the grass courts of Wimbledon, which has its own Olympic history. The venue staged the Tennis competition when London first hosted the Olympic Games in 1908, with Great Britain winning all six gold medals

Jargon buster

  • Ace: A legal serve that the opposing player fails to touch with their racket
  • Baseline: The far boundary line at either end of the court
  • Lob: A ball hit high in the air, usually deep into the opponent’s court
  • Love: No points; zero
  • Tie-break: If the score in games reaches 6-6 in anything other than the deciding set, there is a tie-break, won by the first player or doubles team to reach seven points with a margin of at least two clear points. A first-to-10 tie-break is also used to decide Mixed Doubles matches that reach one set all.

Get Get Involved

The Lawn Tennis Association  (LTA) runs various schemes to help young people in Britain get started and become winners. Your local club is the best place to learn, and public courts are a great place to practice your skills. The LTA website includes a ‘Find a Club’ facility, while the Active Places website  also allows you to search for indoor courts in England.

For information about Tennis in Northern Ireland go to the Ulster branch of Tennis Ireland.

Or for more on the sport, see the website of the International Tennis Federation (itftennis.com).

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