Olympics or Olympiad? What is the difference?

The Beijing Olympics are slowly drawing to a close. While our athletes relentlessly pursue medals, we wondered about the difference between the terms Olympics and Olympiad. ?


The origin of the Olympic Games dates to 776 BC in Ancient Greece, and the games remain extremely popular even today. The terms Olympics or Olympic Games and Olympiad are frequently used in the media, so we did some research to explain the difference between them.

The term Olympics or Olympic Games refers to an event organised by the International Olympic Committee. The event is held alternately every two years (alternately Winter Games and Summer Games). Thus, 4 years always separate each Summer Olympics and each Winter Olympics.

The term Olympiad, on the other hand, refers to the four-year period between two consecutive Olympic Games. The Greeks used olympiads as one way of counting time.


Thus, it is correct to say:

Today’s grand opening officially marks the start of the 24th Winter Olympics.

BUT NOT: Today’s grand opening officially marks the start of the 24th Winter Olympiad.


The term Olympiad has in the meantime become widely used to refer to other sporting and non-sporting events. Thus, we often see:

Science Olympiad, Linguistics Olympiad, Chess Olympiad


And now get back to cheering! ??



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