The modern Olympic Games (French: Jeux olympiques) are the leading international sporting event featuring summer and winter sports competitions wherein thousands of athletes variously compete. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summerand Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart. Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. The IOC is the governing body of theOlympic Movement, with the Olympic Charterdefining its structure and authority.
The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries has caused several changes to the Olympic Games. Among these adjustments are creating the Winter Games for ice and winter sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with a disability, and the Youth Olympic Games for teenage athletes. The IOC has adapted to economic, political, and technological advancements, shifting the Olympics from pure amateurism, as envisioned by Coubertin, to allow participation of professional athletes. The growing importance of mass media created the issue of corporate sponsorship and commercializing the Games. World wars caused the 1916, 1940, and 1944 Games' cancellings. Large boycotts during the Cold War limited participation in the 1980 and 1984 Games.