“I declare open the Games of London, celebrating the 30th Olympiad of the modern era.” If you watched the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic London Games you probably heard Queen Elizabeth utter those words. If you, like me, are unsure what exactly an “Olympiad” is, look no farther.
After a quick Google search and a timely distraction by “Bored Queen” internet memes, I found the answer. Apparently an Olympiad is a set of four consecutive years in which the Olympic Games are counted by. So the 2008 Beijing Olympics would have been the 29th Olympiad. The starting date in order to calculate the dates is 1896, when the first modern Olympiad took place.
Even the 6th (1919), 12th (1940) and 13th (1944) Olympiads are counted even though the Olympic Games were cancelled due to World War I and World War II.
Also of note, the Olympiad is only used as a counter for the Summer Olympics, not the Winter Olympics. The Winter Olympics, on the other hand, counts only the Games. For example, the 1940 and 1944 Winter Games were cancelled, like the Summer Games, because of the war. However, unlike the Summer Games, the 1940 and 1944 Winter Games are not counted. The 1936 Games were the 4th Olympic Winter Games and the 1948 Games were the 5th Olympic Winter Games.
[Zim’s Note: Since I already mentioned it, you might have heard about Queen Elizabeth receiving some flack because she appeared bored during the opening ceremony. There are now “Bored Queen” memes floating around the internet. Below are two of my favorites…]
*If the meme creator did a quick Google search they would have seen that they spelled Philip wrong...but it's still funny!
Internet Meme Source