The Olympics is seen throughout the world as the pinnacle of athletic competition. Hosted every two years (alternating between summer and winter events), the Olympics brings together the best athletes from a myriad of sports (such as swimming, weightlifting, ping pong, biathlon, skiing, skating, etc.) to compete for the gold, silver, or bronze medals in each category. A source of national pride, countries send top-level athletes to represent them at the various categories.
Despite the small changes that have been made to its format and organization over the decades, the Olympics hasn’t changed much from what it was in its early days.
Historical Perspective of The Olympics
The modern Olympics has its roots in the culture and traditions of ancient Greece. Historians trace the origins of the event back to 776 BC. At the time, it was said that a cook won the first 600-foot race at the Stadion track at Olympia. History also has it that the first 13 games only featured that same 600-foot sprint. Importantly, the Olympics gets its name from mount Olympia – a towering mountain, located at the center of the Greek mainland, that hosted the earliest versions of the competition. The games were held originally as a religious/cultural event in reverence to the Greek god Zeus.
In its early days, the Olympics included events such as colt racing, chariot racing, mule cart racing, boxing, wrestling pentathlons, horse races, and sprints.
The 1503 Year Wait
Although the original version of the Olympics started, as previously mentioned, in 776 BC, there is a 1503-year space between the sudden cessation of the games and its re-emergence as a global event. The first version of the games ran from 776 BC to 393 AD and following the aforementioned hiatus, remerged (albeit rebranded) in 1896 in Athens.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a Frenchman, was at the forefront of the founding of the modern Olympics. He was so enthralled with the idea of staging the event in his native city of Paris. However, after a few consultations, he determined that Athens would hold more historical relevance and as such, moved the games to the Greek city.
Contrary to popular belief, earlier versions of the Olympics did not have a torch-lighting ceremony. The tradition was, in fact, introduced as part of the modern version of the games. The torch-lighting tradition was first introduced in the 1928 edition of the Olympic Games in Amsterdam and implemented fully in the 1936 edition in Berlin, Germany.
The Summer and Winter Olympics
A fact that has caused quite some confusion amongst casual fans of the Olympics, the Summer and Winter version of the games are held in separate years. The first Winter Olympic Games were held in 1924 in the town of Chamonix in France, in combination with the regular event.
However, from 1994, it was decided that every other year would have an Olympics, alternating between the Summer Winter Games every two years. For more than 25 years, the Olympics has operated under this format and in doing so, has created many lasting memories in the hearts of global fans.
Best Websites for Winter and Summer Olympics Betting
Many Americans are confused as to whether or not they can place bets on Olympic Games events. The short answer to this is yes, you can. More specifically, most states allow online betting on the Olympics. There are, however, a few outlier states like New York and Alabama that do not allow both online and mobile betting.
With all that said, here is a list of the best websites for Olympics betting:
- BetAmerica: Owned by the renowned Churchill Downs Incorporated, this prestigious organization combines its world-class sportsbook and racebook betting services into one consolidated service. The website allows users to place bets on Olympic events from their laptops and mobile devices, with a 100% bonus up to $50 on first deposits. If you are looking to bet on multiple events, the website hosts quickly-updated pre-game odds as well as live bet tracking. The platform is legal, based in the United States, and operates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
- Draftkings Sportsbook: One of the most popular websites in the United States, Draftkings sportsbook boasts more than 10 million users and more than $7 billion in bet payouts to date. The platform is well-built across its desktop and mobile app environments, with its numerous features spread evenly across them. On the platform, you can place and monitor your bets on Olympic sporting events in real time as well as withdraw your winnings instantly.
- BetOnline.ag: Another established website, BetOnline is the ultimate swiss-army-knife of betting sites, with its multiple ease-of-life features and expedient functionality. The site offers bonuses on every deposit, with an initial 50% welcome bonus up to $1,000 on your first deposit. For first time bettors, the website has all you need to place an informed bet. Things like live odds on Olympic sporting events and promotions are shown front and center on the platform. Lastly, BetOnline accepts bets from all 50 US states.
- Bovada: Another strong entrant into the American betting scene, the American Sportsbook has kept sports betting fans thrilled since its founding in 2011. Having grown into the mature platform that it is today, Bovada offers users a 25% welcome bonus on first deposits, in addition to other bonuses and promotions on the site (and there are plenty). For Olympics betting, you might want to bet in bitcoin as the platform rewards bitcoin deposits handsomely.
Olympic Betting Tips
Finally, here are a few tips for making the best bets on Olympic events:
- Watch for the right moments during each game before making in-play bets.
- Don’t be afraid to bet on an underdog if they are carrying a good qualifying record into the main Games.
- As a guide, check your preferred sportsbook regularly for live odds and predictions.
- Go with your gut – sometimes, the best bets come from a good feeling, especially in high pressure events like the Olympics.
- Bet only on sports you have prior knowledge on, don’t get caught up in the new shiny thing.
- Start following experts on your favorite Olympics events (using online publications and social media handles) to get a leg up.
- Consider other (less popular) betting categories like the over/under nation medals, no medals – athlete or nation, and handicap categories