Chinese Language Blog

Summer Olympics Posted by on Jul 28, 2012 in Culture, Vocabulary

The famous Olympic rings.

It’s time again for the Summer Olympics (夏季奥运会 – xià jì ào yùn huì), which means it’s been a whole four years since I came to Beijing and China hosted the games for the first time. How time flies! This year, of course, the games are being hosted by London (伦敦 – lún dūn). Many athletes (运动员 – yùn dòng yuán) from all over the world will take part in this incredible event that comes but once every four years. They’ve put their blood, sweat, and tears into years of grueling training just for this chance to prove that they are the best in the world. They have traveled many miles, and so has the Olympic torch (奥运火炬 – Ào yùn huǒ jù), the most famous symbol of the Games.

This great tradition dates all the way back to the summer of 1896, when the first MODERN Olympic games were held in Athens (雅典 – yǎ diǎn). The Opening Ceremony (开幕式 – kāi mù shì) was last night, and it was quite impressive to say the least. Even her Majesty, the Queen of England (英国女王 – yīng guó nǚ wáng), was in attendance. To get you amped up for the next few weeks full of competition, and especially to talk about it in Chinese, here’s some useful vocabulary:


  • archery (射箭 – shè jiàn)
  • badminton (羽毛球 – yǔ máo qiú)
  • basketball (篮球 – lán qiú)
  • beach volleyball (沙滩排球 – shā tān pái qiú)
  • boxing (拳击 – quán jí)
  • canoeing-flatwater (皮划艇静水 – pí huá tǐng jìng shuǐ)
  • diving (跳水 – tiào shuǐ)
  • fencing (击剑 – jí jiàn)
  • gymnastics (体操 – tǐ cāo)
  • ping pong (乒乓球 – pīng pāng qiú)
  • rowing (赛艇 – sài tǐng)
  • sailing (帆船 – fān chuán)
  • shooting (射击 – shè jí)
  • soccer (足球 – zú qiú)
  • swimming (游泳 – yóu yǒng)
  • synchronized swimming (花样游泳 – huā yàng yóu yǒng)
  • tennis (网球 – wǎng qiú)
  • triathlon (铁人三项 – tiě rén sān xiàng)
  • track and field (田径 – tián jìng)
  • volleyball (排球 – pái qiú)
  • water polo (水球 – shuǐ qiú)
  • weight lifting (举重 – jǔ zhòng)
  • wrestling (摔交 – shuāi jiāo)


  • gold medal (金牌 – jīn pái)
  • silver medal (银牌 – yín pái)
  • bronze medal (铜牌 – tóng pái)

The motto for the Olympics this year is in Latin – “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” In English, that means “Faster, Higher, Stronger” (更快,更高,更强 – gèng kuài, gèng gāo, gèng qiáng), and that’s exactly what we can expect from the 30th installment of the Olympic Games. So happy viewing, everyone! I personally will be glued to my TV during the basketball games, cheering “Go America!” (美国加油 – měi guó jiā yóu – lit. “America add oil!”), one of the first phrases I learned in Chinese way back in the summer of 2008.

Fireworks light up the sky at the end of the opening ceremony in London.

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


  1. Kerry:

    Hi Sasha

    Believe you need to delete “ever” and replace it with the word “modern” in the following sentence,”This great tradition dates all the way back to the summer of 1896, when the first ever Olympics games were held in Athens (雅典 – yǎ diǎn).” Here is one link to history of the Olympic Games, .

    I enjoy the posts.


  2. barrie blick:

    quote ‘This great tradition dates all the way back to the summer of 1896, when the first ever Olympics games were held in Athens (雅典 – yǎ diǎn).’
    this is the date of the first MODERN olympic games.

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