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Учебник английского языка
7 класс

Unit 8.
Sport in Our Life


Reading for Information

18. Read the text once very attentively and complete the sentences after it with the appropriate variants.

History of the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games are an international sports festival that began in ancient Greece. The original Greek games took place every fourth year for several hundred years, until they were brought to an end in the early Christian era. The OlympicGameswere renewed in 1896, and since then they have been staged every fourth year, except during World War I and World War II. Perhaps the main difference between the ancient and modern Olympics is that for the ancient Greeks the Games were a way of saluting their gods, when the modern Games are a manner of saluting the athletic talents of people of all nations.

The original Olympics included competitions in music, oratory1 and theatre performances as well. The modern Games haven’t got them, but they represent a lot more sports than before. For two weeks and a half any international conflicts must be stopped and replaced with friendly competitions. This is the noble idea on which the modern Olympic movement is based.

The earliest record2 of the Olympic Games goes back to 776 B.C., but historians think that the Games began well before then. The ancient Games were held in honour of Zeus, the most important god for ancient Greeks. According to the earliest records, only one athletic event was held in the ancient Olympics — a footrace of about 183 metres, or the length of the stadium. A cook, Coroibus of Elis, was the first recorded winner. Only men were allowed to compete or watch the games. When the powerful, warlike Spartans began to compete, they changed the programme of the Games. The 18th Olympics already included wrestling and pentathlon, and later Games — chariot races and other sports. The winners of the Games were highly praised and honoured for their results. In 394 A.D. the Games were officially ended by the Roman emperor Theodosius, who felt that they had pagan3 meaning.

Pierre de Coubertin, a young French nobleman, had an idea to bring the Olympic Games back to life. With the help of the people who supported him he managed to organize the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Baron de Coubertin had planned to hold the Olympic Games in France, but the representatives from the nine countries that supported his idea decided that Greece was the right place to host4 the first Olympic Games. The nine countries were Belgium, Great Britain, France, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the United States. They agreed that every four years the Olympics would move to other great cities of the world.

The Athens Games in 1896 were a success. Athletes from thirteen countries competed in nine sports. A second Olympiad was held in France in 1900. The 2004 Summer Olympics were held in Athens, Greece and hosted 201 countries. The USA took the first place. And Russia took the third place.

Beginning in 1924 Winter Olympics were included. They were held in the same year as the Summer Games, but starting in 1994, the Winter Games are held two years after the Summer Games. The Olympics are governed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), situated in Lausanne [lai/zasn], Switzerland.

  1. Compared to the original Olympic Games, modern Olympic Games __________,

    a) include fewer sports
    b) are held more often
    c) have no connection with religion
    d) don’t stop during wartime

  2. Modern Olympics __________.

    a) were revived in 1896
    b) first took place in France
    c) take part only in summer
    d) never spread across the Atlantic

1 oratory — ораторское искусство
2 a record — письменное упоминание; to record — делать запись
3 pagan — язычсский
4 to host — принимать, проводить (Олимпийские игры)

19. Now that you’ve read the text once, say into what two parts it falls. Give titles to these parts. Say what new things you’ve learned from the text.

20. Answer these questions.

  1. Where did the Olympic Games begin?
  2. How often did the Games take place in ancient times? How often are they held now?
  3. Did the original Olympic Games consist only of sports competitions?
  4. What was the only athletic event that was held in the ancient Olympics?
  5. Could women take part in the ancient Olympics?
  6. At about what time were the ancient Olympics officially ended?
  7. Whose idea was it to bring the Olympic Games back to life?
  8. In what city were the first modern Olympic Games held? And what country hosted the second modern Olympiad? Where were the latest Olympic Games held?
  9. When are the Winter Olympic Games held now?
  10. What committee organizes the Olympic Games?

21. Read the text again for more detailed information and find in it words and word combinations which mean:

  1. первые (впервые появившиеся) Олимпийские игры;
  2. в начале христианской эры (нашей эры);
  3. игры были возобновлены;
  4. способ чествовать своих богов;
  5. способ прославить спортивные таланты;
  6. на которой основывается современное олимпийское движение;
  7. в честь Зевса; 8. состязание в беге;
  8. воинственные спартанцы;
  9. борьба, пятиборье, гонки на колесницах;
  10. вернуть Олимпийские игры к жизни;
  11. поддержали его идею;
  12. самое подходящее место для проведения первых Олимпийских игр;
  13. Олимпиады проводятся под руководством Международного олимпийского комитета (МОК).

22. A. Find in the text several examples of international words. Say how they help you to understand the text.

B. Say what elements of the words below help you to understand them.

International, renewed, replaced, friendly, movement, athletic, powerful, warlike, winner, nobleman.