Blog: Author: Lily Mysona

The 2018 Olympic Games

It’s time again for the Olympic Games! The 2018 Winter Olympics are being hosted by South Korea in PyeongChang. The games will begin on the 9th of February and end on the 25th. If you want more information about this year’s Olympics, the history of the Olympics, and Olympic traditions, read on!


How long have Olympic Games been held? 

We break the Games into two periods: ancient Olympics and modern Olympics. There was a long gap between the last ancient and the first modern Games. When you think of chariot racing and olive branch victory wreaths, you are thinking of the ancient Games, which took place in Greece. You can read a history of the ancient Olympics here. The modern Olympics started in 1896. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a French historian, is credited with reviving the Games.

Why do we have the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies?

What’s an international event without some pomp and circumstance? The opening ceremony is a chance for the host country to share with the world its values and history. You can read more about the tradition and see past opening ceremonies here. The closing ceremony is a celebration of the now concluded Games and is meant to symbolize unity among the participants. You can read more about the tradition and see past closing ceremonies here.

Where can I find the 2018 schedule of events?

You can find the schedule right on the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics website!

Do the Olympic medals look the same now as they did at the first modern Games?

No! The medals are redesigned each Olympic year. You can see the 2018 medals here and past medals here.

Where did the Olympic torch and cauldron tradition come from?

The Olympic flame can be traced back to the ancient Games. The Greeks considered fire to be a symbol of purity, and those values were carried over to the modern Games. Read the history here.

What does the 2018 Olympic torch look like?

See the 2018 Olympic torch and read more about it here.

Where is the Olympic torch now?

Follow the torch’s path here.

What are the Olympic rings?

They are the symbol for the Olympics! Pierre de Coubertin designed the original symbol, and it hasn’t changed much over time. Each represents one of the participating continents. Read more here.

How are host countries chosen?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), formed in 1894, oversees the selection of host countries. You can read about the election process here.

When and where are the next Olympics?

The next Winter Games will be in Beijing, China in 2022. The next Summer Games will be in Tokyo, Japan in 2020. To see a full list of host countries and years for the Summer and Winter Games, follow the links.

Where were the last Winter Olympics?

The last Winter Olympics were in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

Where were the last Summer Olympics?

The last Summer Olympics were in Rio de Janerio, Brazil in 2016.

Which sports are included in the Olympics?

Winter sports include alpine and cross country skiing, curling, hockey and more. For a full list of Summer and Winter Olympic sports, click here.

Is there a mascot for the Olympics?

There is a mascot for every Olympics! The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics mascot is a white tiger named Soohorang. For a full list of past mascots, click here.

For books and movies about

  • The history and economics of the Olympics
  • Specific Games such as the 1936 and 1972 Summer Olympics in Germany
  • Specific teams such as the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team
  • Specific Olympic athletes such as Jesse Owens, Michael Phelps, and Esther Williams
  • Sports such as swimming, gymnastics, and basketball
  • Fictionalized accounts of the Games

stop by the library today and check out our Olympics display!

By the way, did you know the Olympics has its own library? Check it out here!

A Holiday Hiccup

We all know that iconic scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie, certain that his wish for a Red Ryder B.B. gun has gone unanswered, finds that final package hidden behind the desk which turns his dismay into utter delight. Now imagine yourself on Christmas morning as a child, hoping against hope for the baby doll you’d seen in a catalog. You find it under the tree. Gleeful, you pick up the doll and give it a hug, only to have it growl in your ear, “I’m Smokey the Bear.”

That’s probably not where you thought this story was headed, but that’s the shock Christmas day of 1955 had in story for little boys and girls. On Thursday, 22 December 1955, the Malden Evening News reported a creepy voice box mix-up in an Atlanta, Georgia toy factory that assembled talking dolls. Talk about a nightmare before Christmas! Read on for the full scoop.

“Doll Factory Error To Startle Some Girl Christmas Day

ATLANTA, (UP)—A toyshop mixup threatened today to ruin some little girl’s Christmas because a dainty doll that is supposed to say a goodnight prayer will instead growl a fire prevention rhyme in a bear-voice.

The mixup occurred in a toy factory commissioned to manufacture talking models of Smokey, the bear used on posters by the U.S. Forestry Service in its fire prevention campaign.

The same factory also makes a petite little doll equipped with a voicebox that says gently:

‘Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
God bless Mommy,
God bless Daddy,

The prayer and the voice are much different from the sounds created for Smokey, the forest service teddy bear.

It growls in a gruff voice:

‘I’m Smokey the Bear, I’m the Smokey the Bear.
‘Running and looking for smoke in the air.
‘I warn careless people and tell them “take care.”
‘Please prevent forest fires, says Smokey the Bear.’

The South Carolina Forestry Commission ordered 96 of the stuffed bears for use in its fire prevention campaign. The first of the 96 Smokey Bears to arrive in the commission office was immediately tested. It created pandemonium by uttering in a childish voice:

‘Now I lay me down…’

Regional employes [sic] speculated that the toyshop mixed the voice boxes earmarked for the Smokey Bear and the dolls.

One of the bearlike voice boxes was sure to end up in one of the dainty ‘praying’ dolls, they calculated.”


After some research, it seems that the two dolls mentioned in the story were manufactured by the now-defunct
Ideal Toys. The praying doll was probably Ideal’s Patti Prays doll.