Submitted by countylibrary on

After a tough year that led to its postponement, the Summer Olympics are officially back! Beginning Friday, July 23 in Tokyo, the best of the best will compete in a number of summer games, including diving, archery, gymnastics and tennis. New this year are five exciting sports: surfing, sport climbing, skateboarding, karate, and baseball/softball. This variety shows just how much the Olympic games have evolved since their creation 3,000 years ago in Olympia, Greece. In the beginning, there were only track and field events, but after 13 Olympiads, or Olympic Games, the pentathlon was introduced, incorporating javelin throwing and wrestling. Unfortunately, a ban was placed on the games, which lead to a 1,500-year break until Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France petitioned for its revival. He succeeded, and in 1896 the first modern Olympic tournament was held in Athens, Greece.

Aside from the five new events, another wonderful creation we will see at the games this year is the addition of a new team: the Olympic Refugee team. Consisting of 29 athletes who will be competing in 12 games, the team was created by selecting from a group of 55 athletes who had fled their home countries and received scholarships to train in their new home countries. The new team represents a beautiful and historic display of inclusivity. United Nations Commissioner Filippo Grandi praised the athletes and the decision to include them, saying, “Surviving war, persecution and the anxiety of exile already makes them extraordinary people, but the fact that they now also excel as athletes on the world stage fills me with immense pride.”