BC-London Olympics Style Guide,Advisory

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To help with spellings and usage in coverage of the London Summer Olympics, The Associated Press compiled a style guide of essential terms, spellings and definitions. Some terms are from the Olympics entries in the AP Stylebook: http://www.apstylebook.com/. Others are common usage in AP sports stories. For style and usage questions, contact the AP Standards Center at 212-621-1600.


Olympics or Olympic Games

Always capitalized. There are Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics, or Summer Games and Winter Games.


Noun. Always capitalized.


Adjective (without s) and always capitalized: Olympic gold medal, Olympic organizers, Olympic host city, Olympic flame, etc.


A period of four years beginning on Jan. 1 of the Olympic year. Olympiads are numbered consecutively in Roman numerals from the 1896 Athens Games. The XXX Olympiad that includes the London Games began Jan. 1, 2012.


Any athlete who has been to the Olympics.

London Games, London Olympics

Capitalized. Also, 2012 Olympics or 2012 Games. London Summer Olympics and London Summer Games.


Capitalized when attached to the host city or year: the London Games and the 2012 Games.


Standing alone, lowercase: The games open on July 27.

The year

Always precedes the host city and Olympics: 2012 Olympics, 2012 London Games.

Facts and figures

London is the first city to host the Summer Olympics for a third time. The previous games were in 1908 and 1948.

Dates: July 27-Aug. 12, 2012. (Olympic soccer tournament starts July 25.)

Cost: The government's public sector budget for construction of venues, infrastructure and security: 9.3 billion pounds ($14.6 billion). The local organizing committee's privately-funded operating budget (based on TV rights, sponsorship revenues, ticket sales and merchandising) is 2 billion pounds ($3.2 billion).

Sports: 26 sports and 39 disciplines.

Sports venues: 31, including nine sites at London's Olympic Park.

Medal events: 302

Athletes: around 10,500, plus 5,000 coaches and team officials.

Countries: 204 expected.

Medals: A total of 2,100 gold, silver and bronze medals will be handed out to individuals and teams. The medals are the largest for a Summer Games, measuring 3.35 inches (85 millimeters) in diameter and weighing 13 to 14 ounces (375-400 grams).

Medals tables: In the U.S., national standings are compiled by the total number of medals per team: gold, silver and bronze. In Britain and elsewhere, national standings are based on the number of gold medals per team.

London Olympic sports

archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoe/kayak, cycling (track, road, mountain bike and BMX), equestrian, fencing, soccer, gymnastics (artistic, rhythmic and trampoline), handball, field hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming (swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming), table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, track and field, triathlon, volleyball (indoor and beach), weightlifting, wrestling.

Mascot: Wenlock, doll-like one-eyed figure named after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock that helped inspire Pierre de Coubertin to launch the modern Olympics in 1896. Mandeville is the Paralympic mascot, named after the birthplace of the Paralympics.

Olympic terms

Olympic Park: 2.5-square-kilometer (1-square-mile) site in Stratford, East London.

Olympic Village, capitalized, or athletes' village, lower case. Located next to the Olympic Park.

Olympic flame and torch relay: the Olympic flame will be lit in Ancient Olympia, Greece, on May 10. The Greek leg of the torch relay will take place May 10-17, an 1,800-mile journey across most of the Greek mainland and island of Crete, before the flame is flown to Britain.

UK Olympic torch relay: starts May 19 at Land's End in Cornwall and travels 70 days and 8,000 miles, including a stop in Dublin, Ireland. Concludes at the opening ceremony on July 27 with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the main stadium. The final torchbearers are secret.

Olympic opening ceremony (singular) and closing ceremony (singular). Together they are the Olympic ceremonies (plural) held in the 80,000-seat main Olympic Stadium.

Symbols and culture

Olympic rings: five interlocking rings (blue, yellow, black, green and red) symbolizing the five continents.

Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius (faster, higher, stronger).

Olympic Charter: code of rules and principles governing the International Olympic Committee and Olympic movement.

Olympism: IOC term for the philosophy of sport, culture and education behind the Olympic movement.

Olympic hymn or anthem: music by Greek composer Spyridon Samaras and lyrics by Greek poet Kostis Palamas. Played at opening and closing ceremony.

Olympic oath: a solemn promise to abide by the rules in the spirit of sportsmanship. Recited by one athlete and one judge or referee at the opening ceremony on behalf of all the athletes and all officials.

Cultural Olympiad: the program of cultural, musical and artistic events organized in the host city around the games.

Names and acronyms

IOC: International Olympic Committee. Either is OK on first reference, but use full title in the story.

IOC President Jacques Rogge. The title is capitalized.

LOCOG: London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games. Short forms are London organizers and London organizing committee.

International sports federations. All Olympic sports are run by international federations. Avoid abbreviation IF; use international federation or governing body.

NOC: national Olympic committee. There are 204 recognized NOCs. In news stories, avoid the abbreviation and use national Olympic committees or national bodies.

USOC: U.S. Olympic Committee; BOA: British Olympic Association. Abbreviations acceptable on second reference.

The Olympic movement: comprises the IOC, international federations, national Olympic committees, organizing committees and all other recognized federations and bodies, as well as athletes, judges, coaches and other sports officials

TOP: acronym from The Olympic Program, the IOC's global sponsorship program. The 11 TOP sponsors are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos Origin, Dow, GE, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Visa.

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