Olympics

Ski jumpers use aerodynamics and physics to overcome gravity – at least for a while.

The Beijing Winter Olympics

The Freaky Physics of Ski Jump

Olympic ski jumpers do everything they can do counteract the effects of gravity and fly as far as they can down hills

Bobsled, luge and skeleton athletes descend twisting, steep tracks at speeds upward of 80 mph (130 kmh).

The Beijing Winter Olympics

The High-Speed Physics of Olympic Bobsled, Luge and Skeleton

In these sports that send humans hurtling faster than a car on a highway, tiny motions mean the difference between gold and a crash

Fireworks fill the sky over the "Bird's Nest" arena in Beijing on January 30, 2022

The Beijing Winter Olympics

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

As you watch the Beijing Winter Olympics, enjoy this guide to the history, science and thrills of the worldwide athletic competition

Activists in London hold signs urging the BBC to boycott the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Beijing Winter Olympics

Is China Committing Genocide Against the Uyghurs?

The Muslim minority group faces mass detention and sterilization—human rights abuses that sparked the U.S.' diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics

Snowboarder Shannon Dunn competes for Team USA in the 1998 Winter Olympics, where she won the bronze medal in half-pipe.

The Beijing Winter Olympics

A Brief History of Snowboarding

Rebellious youth. Olympic glory. How a goofy American pastime conquered winter

A 1930s couple rings in the new year with party blowers and streamers. New Year's Eve celebrations only began incorporating countdowns decades later, with the first crowd countdown in Times Square taking place in 1979.

Why Do We Count Down to the New Year?

A historian traces the tradition's links to space travel, the Doomsday Clock and Alfred Hitchcock

The Parthenon, the temple that sits atop Athens' Acropolis, seen surrounded by smoke on August 4

Ancient Olympics' Birthplace Saved as Fires Rage Across Southern Europe

A massive heatwave sparked blazes along the Mediterranean, threatening cultural heritage sites and forcing mass evacuations

Olympic runners compete during the 10,000 meters race in Tokyo. In ancient times, running was likely used to push animals to exhaustion during hunting.

Five Ways Humans Evolved to Be Athletes

An archaeologist explores how our prowess in sport has deep roots in evolution

Will an American athlete from the Tokyo Games grab gold and become the next to be featured on the cover of Wheaties?

The Tokyo Olympics

How Wheaties Became the 'Breakfast of Champions'

Images of Olympians and other athletes on boxes helped the cereal maintain a competitive edge

Interest in gymnastics soared during the Cold War, when the Olympics emerged as a cultural battleground for Western and Eastern nations.

The Tokyo Olympics

A History of Gymnastics, From Ancient Greece to Tokyo 2020

The beloved Olympic sport has evolved drastically over the past 2,000 years

A mural in Munich's former Olympic Village features Otl Aicher's pictograms.

The Tokyo Olympics

This Graphic Artist's Olympic Pictograms Changed Urban Design Forever

Having lived through Germany's Nazi regime, Otl Aicher went on to pioneer democratic design

Team USA Stamps

Smithsonian Voices

The Science Behind a Faster, Higher, Stronger Team U.S.A.

The unsung heroes behind the Summer Olympics are the scientists and engineers whose inventions and innovations help athletes

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The Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Summer Olympics: Smithsonian's Guide to the Games

Prepare yourself for the Tokyo Olympics with this comprehensive guide to the history, science, arts and thrills of the worldwide celebration

The blanket toss is one of the many events that occur during the annual World Eskimo Indian Olympics in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The Tokyo Olympics

For 60 Years, Indigenous Alaskans Have Hosted Their Own Olympics

Athletes at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Fairbanks test their mettle in events like the blanket toss, knuckle hop and ear pull

Babe Didrickson’s brash behavior along with her decorated athleticism (above: second from right in the 80-meter hurdle) challenged every imagined ideal for a woman athlete in the 1930s.

The Tokyo Olympics

Olympian Babe Didrikson Cleared the Same Hurdles Women Athletes Face Today

The star track and field athlete of the 1930s boisterously challenged gender expectations with her record-setting athleticism

Detail of medieval roll showing England's Henry VIII tilting at a joust in front of his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. In the West, chariot racing died out rather quickly, but beginning in the second half of the 11th century, knightly tournaments were the spectacle of medieval Europe.

The Tokyo Olympics

What the Medieval Olympics Looked Like

The Middle Ages didn't kill the Games, as international sporting competitions thrived with chariot races and jousts

Pure athletic prowess wasn’t really the point—the People’s Olympiad was about cultivating a spirit of equality, in direct contrast to Nazi ideals.

The Tokyo Olympics

The 'Protest' Olympics That Never Came to Be

A leftist response to the 1936 Games being held in Nazi Germany, the proposed competition was canceled by the Spanish Civil War

Yakumo Academy High School karate team members practice a kata. Competitors are judged on such things as strength/power, deportment and interpretation.

The Tokyo Olympics

The Centuries-Old Sport of Karate Finally Gets Its Due at the Olympics

With the games set for Japan, the martial art will at last debut at next month's competition

Tsökahovi "Louis" Tewanima became an Olympian while being forced to attend the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

The Olympic Star Who Just Wanted to Go Home

Tsökahovi Tewanima held an American record in running for decades, but his training at the infamous Carlisle school kept him from his ancestral Hopi lands

Workers felling 150-year-old oak trees in the Villefermoy forest, near Echouboulains, France, on March 15. The wood will eventually used to reconstruct Notre-Dame Cathedral's roof and spire.

Hundreds of Centuries-Old Trees Felled to Rebuild Notre-Dame's Iconic Spire

French authorities cut down some 1,000 historic oaks as part of the Paris cathedral's ambitious reconstruction process

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