4 Essential Things You Need to Know About the Olympics in Spanish

The Olympic Games are a major international multi-sport event that take place every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympic Games every two years within that cycle. They are considered the world’s foremost sports competition.

Every four years, athletes from around the world gather to compete in these games and more importantly they celebrate unity, excellence, and determination. All this while showing what the human species is capable of. Before we do an in-depth analysis of the Olympics in Spanish, let’s first check out what Juan from Spring Spanish (a project I co-founded) has to say about Spanish sports vocabulary.

And now, let’s dive into five key elements you should know about the Olympics in Spanish.

1. A Short History of the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games have their origin 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.

olympics in spanish logo

After centuries in inactivity, the modern Olympic Games were revived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin. The first modern Olympics took place in Athens in 1896, marking a new era of international sports. Coubertin’s aim was to promote peace and understanding across nations through the medium of sports – and well, we can safely say that it worked out pretty good!

The Olympic motto, “Citius, Altius, Fortius,” which translates to “Faster, Higher, Stronger” or “Más rápido, más alto, más fuerte” in Spanish shows the striving spirit of the Olympic movement. Athletes are always encouraged to push their limits and achieve new heights.

2. Summer Olympics in Spanish

Spanish-speaking countries have excelled in various sports at the Summer Olympics. Track and field, boxing, and football (soccer) are areas where these nations have often found themselves on the podium.

road cycling is the olympics in spanish

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

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

The table below presents a translation of common Olympic sports from Spanish to English:

Common Summer Olympic Sports

FútbolFootball (Soccer)
Tenis de mesaTable Tennis
Tiro con arcoArchery
Tiro deportivoShooting

For translation purposes and to help those learning Spanish, let’s imagine a conversation about enjoying the Summer Olympics using Spanish terms from the table:

Alfred: “¿Viste la carrera de atletismo ayer?” (“Did you see the athletics race yesterday?”)
Bianca: “Sí, fue increíble. Los atletas demostraron una velocidad asombrosa.” (“Yes, it was incredible. The athletes displayed astonishing speed.”)
Alfred: “Y la gimnasia me dejó sin palabras. La precisión y la gracia son simplemente arte en movimiento.” (“And the gymnastics left me speechless. The precision and grace are simply art in motion.”)

3. Winter Olympics in Spanish

Due to the climate in Spanish-speaking countries, they’re not particularly renowned for their prowess in the Winter Olympics. Still, athletes from these regions compete with determination even in the Winter Olympics.

winter olympics in spanish skiing on the mountainslide

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

Common Winter Olympic Sports

Esquí alpinoAlpine Skiing
Patinaje artísticoFigure Skating
Esquí de fondoCross-Country Skiing
Hockey sobre hieloIce Hockey
Patinaje de velocidadSpeed Skating
Salto de esquíSki Jumping

Let’s craft a dialogue that reflects the less successful side of Spain in the Winter Olympics:

Anna: “España rara vez se lleva medallas en los Juegos de Invierno.” (“Spain rarely wins medals in the Winter Games.”)
Benji: “Es comprensible, nuestro clima no favorece deportes como el esquí alpino.” (“It’s understandable, our climate doesn’t favor sports like alpine skiing.”)
Anna: “Sin embargo, es emocionante ver a los atletas competir con tanto corazón en el patinaje artístico.” (“However, it’s thrilling to see the athletes compete with so much heart in figure skating.”)

4. Important Sports Vocabulary to Speak About the Olympics in Spanish

When discussing the Olympics in Spanish, certain verbs become indispensable. Here are some key sports verbs in Spanish:

CompetirTo compete
EntrenarTo train
GanarTo win
PerderTo lose
CorrerTo run
SaltarTo jump
LanzarTo throw
NadarTo swim
RemarTo row
PatinarTo skate
EsquiarTo ski
JugarTo play
MontarTo ride (horse/bike)
LevantarTo lift
BoxearTo box
SurfearTo surf
PatearTo kick
CazarTo catch, to hunt
BloquearTo block
MarcarTo score (a point/goal)

Using these verbs for sports in Spanish, one can talk about the the Olympic Games, from first day preparations to last day competitions. If you want more, you can sign up now and request full practice worksheets for Olympic-related terms in Spanish. 40 more included!

5. Practice Olympics vocabulary in Spanish with Full Practice Worksheet Library

Match the Spanish term for the sport with its English translation. Each sport is related to the Summer or Winter Olympic Games as mentioned in the blog post.

6. Discover Olympic Athletes and Olympic Champions with Conversation Based Chunking

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

This approach helps to contextualize the language, making it easier to remember and use in conversation. It also puts a spotlight on the achievements of Spanish-speaking athletes and their contributions to the Olympic legacy.

The Olympics is a complex event with a rich history and a significant cultural impact. Understanding these aspects provides a deeper appreciation for the Olympic Games and the athletes who compete in them. 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 Spanish.

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