What You Have to Know About Olympic Sports in German: Olympic Games & German Sports

The Olympic Games, or “Olympische Spiele” in German, are a major international multi-sport event that takes place every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympic Games every two years within that cycle.

Every four years, athletes from around the world gather to compete in these games and celebrate unity, and excellence. All this while showing the incredible capabilities of the human body and spirit.

Before we do an analysis of the Olympic sports in German, let’s first check out what Learn German has to say about German sports vocabulary:

And now, let’s see what the fuss is all about with the olympic sports in German!

1. The Olympic Games: held every four years

The Olympic Games have their roots in ancient Greece, specifically in Olympia. They were held from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD and included events such as running, long jumping, shot put, javelin, boxing, and equestrian events.

These competitions were integral to the cultural and spiritual life of ancient Greeks.

After centuries of inactivity, the modern Olympic Games were revived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin. The first modern Olympics took place in Athens in 1896.

olympic sports in german symbolized with the olympic games flag on a flagpole

Coubertin’s aim was to promote peace and understanding across nations through the medium of sports – and we can safely say that it has been largely successful!

The Olympic motto, “Citius, Altius, Fortius,” which translates to “Faster, Higher, Stronger” or “Schneller, Höher, Stärker” in German, embodies the spirit of the Olympic movement.

2. German-speaking countries in Summer Olympics

German-speaking countries have excelled in almost all sports at the Summer Olympics.

Track and field, swimming, and cycling are areas where these nations have found themselves on the podium.

Now, let’s examine how to discuss the Summer Olympics in German.

After considering the sports that German-speaking countries are known for, we must also look at the sports that make up the Summer Olympics.

The table here presents a translation of common Olympic sports from German to English:

GermanEnglish
LeichtathletikAthletics
SchwimmenSwimming
TurnenGymnastics
FußballFootball (Soccer)
BasketballBasketball
VolleyballVolleyball
TennisTennis
BoxenBoxing
RadsportCycling
RingenWrestling
JudoJudo
RudernRowing
KanurennenCanoeing
SegelnSailing
TischtennisTable Tennis
BogenschießenArchery
ReitsportEquestrian
FechtenFencing
GewichthebenWeightlifting
SchießenShooting

Let’s imagine a conversation about enjoying the Summer Olympics using German terms from the table:

Andreas: “Hast du gestern den Leichtathletik-Wettkampf gesehen?” (“Did you see the athletics competition yesterday?”)
Birgit: “Ja, es war unglaublich. Die Athleten zeigten eine erstaunliche Geschwindigkeit.” (“Yes, it was incredible. The athletes displayed astonishing speed.”)
Andreas: “Und das Turnen hat mich sprachlos gemacht. Die Präzision und Anmut sind einfach Kunst in Bewegung.” (“And the gymnastics left me speechless. The precision and grace are simply art in motion.”)

Due to the climate in German-speaking countries, they’re particularly renowned for their greatness in the Winter Olympics, too.

Athletes from these regions often compete with great success in the Winter Games.

Here’s a glimpse into discussing the Winter Olympics in German:

GermanEnglish
Alpiner SkilaufAlpine Skiing
EiskunstlaufFigure Skating
BiathlonBiathlon
BobBobsleigh
CurlingCurling
LanglaufCross-Country Skiing
EishockeyIce Hockey
RennrodelnLuge
EisschnelllaufSpeed Skating
SkispringenSki Jumping

Let’s see a German conversation that reflects the successful side of Germany in the Winter Olympics:

Anna: “Deutschland holt oft viele Medaillen bei den Winterspielen.” (“Germany often wins many medals at the Winter Games.”)
Bernd: “Verständlich, unser Klima begünstigt Sportarten wie Skifahren und Rodeln.” (“Understandable, our climate favors sports like skiing and luge.”)
Anna: “Es ist aufregend zu sehen, wie die Athleten mit so viel Herz im Eiskunstlauf antreten.” (“It’s thrilling to see the athletes compete with so much heart in figure skating.”)

4. Important German sports vocabulary to speak about the Olympic Games in German

When discussing the Olympics in German, certain verbs become indispensable.

Here are some key sports verbs in German:

GermanEnglish
WettkämpfenTo compete
TrainierenTo train
GewinnenTo win
VerlierenTo lose
LaufenTo run
SpringenTo jump
WerfenTo throw
SchwimmenTo swim
RudernTo row
EislaufenTo skate
SkifahrenTo ski
SpielenTo play
ReitenTo ride (horse/bike)
HebenTo lift
BoxenTo box
SurfenTo surf
TretenTo kick
FangenTo catch, to hunt
BlockierenTo block
PunktenTo score (a point/goal)

Using these verbs for sports in German, one can talk about the Olympic Games, from first day preparations to last day competitions.

5. Discover olympic sports in German Conversation Based Chunking

The stories of Olympic athletes and champions from German-speaking countries are inspiring. Through Conversation Based Chunking, we can learn about these individuals in a more engaging way.

This method helps to contextualize the language. It also puts a spotlight on the achievements of German-speaking athletes and their contributions to the Olympic legacy.

The Olympics is a complex event with a rich history and a significant cultural impact.

Although the Olympic spirit definitely transcends language barriers and unites us in the celebration of human potential, it’s good to know how you can talk about the Olympics in German.

If you sign up now, you’ll get the German Conversation Based Chunking Guide for FREE. I’ll explain everything you need to know about it, after you click the button!

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