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Les Jeux olympiques de Londres sont terminés depuis quelques jours. La communauté sportive mondiale a souligné de façon unanime la qualité de l’organisation de ces Jeux de la trentième olympiade. Me Marcel Aubut, président du Comité olympique canadien, a qualifié ces Jeux d’exceptionnels. Pour lui, l’équipe canadienne « a livré (la marchandise), la ville de Londres a livré. Il n’y a pas un athlète qui a laissé échapper de la frustration comme c’est toujours le cas. Même les journalistes ne se sont pas lamentés comme ils savent le faire souvent. Tout a fonctionné à la perfection », a-t-il déclaré au Journal de Montréal. Bref, tout le monde semble satisfait.

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The charioteer was one of the few clothed athletes at the ancient Olympic Games. The vitor’s crown went to the owner of the horses, not the driver.

Legend dictates that the games of the Olympiad owed their origin to the Theban hero Heracles who staged them to honour his grandfather Pelops. It was said of Heracles that while engaged in his 12 labours he brought back a twig of wild olive from the legendary land of Hyperboreans and planted it in Olympia. This was the tree whose branches served to crown the victors. If we look for more practical explanations, the Olympic Games more likely derived from funeral games held in honour of fallen heroes, like the one Achilles held for his friend Patroclus in Homer’s Iliad.

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George Orton. Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
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George Orton, Canada’s first Olympic medallist. Credit: public domain.

George Orton is known as Canada’s first Olympic gold medal winner. On the official Olympic Games website, there are two records concerning George Orton at the 1900 Paris Olympics. The records show that he won a bronze medal in the 400 m men’s hurdles and a gold medal in the 3000 m steeplechase. The records note his country as Canada, making George Orton the first Canadian to win at the Olympic Games. The Canadian Olympic Association supports that record; it regards Orton as the first Canadian Olympic medalist. But Canada did not send a team to the Olympics in 1900; Canada had no Olympic team until 1904 at the St. Louis games. Orton, a student, competed as part of the University of Pennsylvania team. Because he was entered as an American athlete, it was not until years later that anyone even realized that a Canadian had won an Olympic competition.

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Le 22 mai dernier à Québec, lors du diner-conférence donné en l’honneur de Jacques Rogge, président du Comité international olympique, les dirigeants de l’équipe canadienne ont clairement indiqué leur objectif en vue des Jeux de Londres : terminer parmi les douze premiers pays au tableau des médailles pour les Jeux olympiques de 2012.

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