There are no direct financial rewards to winning the event, although being a medal winner at the Olympics carries a great deal of prestige and many medal winners will be able to take advantage of lucrative sponsorship and advertising deals.
The first known version of the Olympic Games dates back to 776 BC and the event takes its name from Olympia, the city where it was first held in ancient Greece. The first modern Olympic Games took place towards the end of the 19th century.
Fourteen countries took part with a total of 241 athletes in 43 different sporting events. Compare this to 2016 when more than 11,000 athletes took part representing more than 200 countries and it is easy to see how the event has evolved in less than 150 years.
In that time there are also other Olympics that have been created. The winter Olympic Games includes specifically winter sports such as skiing and skating. There is also a Paralympics Games equivalent of both the summer and Winter Olympics Games. These games are designed for athletes who have a disability and they always take place a few weeks after the main Olympic Games.
Years without the Olympics
The four year gap between games has always been adhered to but there have been exceptions for unique circumstances. In 1916 the First World War meant that the Games could not take place.
The same applied to the Games in 1940 and 1944 during the Second World War. In 2020 the global Covid-19 pandemic meant that the Games due to be held in Tokyo had to be postponed to 2021.