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To help with spellings and usage in coverage of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, The Associated Press compiled an editorial style guide of essential terms, spellings and definitions. Some terms are from the Olympics entries in the AP Stylebook: Others are common usage in AP sports stories. The terms include input from Steve Wilson, AP's Olympics beat writer for more than 24 years, as well as Brazil News Director Peter Prengaman, Rio correspondent Jenny Barchfield, AP sports writers Stephen Wade and Mauricio Savarese in Rio, and Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region.
Facts and figures
Rio de Janeiro is the first city in South America to host the Olympics. It was selected in a vote by the IOC in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009.
Dates: Aug. 5-21, 2016. (Olympic soccer tournament starts Aug. 3)
Sports: There are 28 sports and 42 disciplines under the official program. Note that the International Olympic Committee defines sports by the international federations that govern them: swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, open water swimming and water polo are considered disciplines that all fall under the sport of swimming. Note the distinctions if quantifying the number of Olympic sports in a story, but don't get tripped up by official definitions in other uses: It's OK to describe water polo and diving as different sports.
Sports venues: 37 competition venues, including five soccer stadiums located outside of Rio de Janeiro.
Medal events: 306 medal events.
Two new sports: golf and rugby sevens.
Athletes: around 10,500, plus 5,000 coaches and team officials.
Countries: Athletes from 205 national Olympic committees expected, as well as a team of refugee athletes competing under the Olympic flag.
Cost: The budget for building venues and infrastructure is made up of a mix of public and private money. This spending is 39.1 billion Brazilian reals. In dollar terms, this amounts to $10 billion to $12 billion, depending on the latest exchange rate. Separately, the local organizing committee's privately funded operating budget is 7.4 billion reals ($1.9 billion to $2.3 billion). This budget is met through television revenues, sponsorships, ticket sales and merchandising.
Medals: Organizers have produced a total of 2,488 medals: 812 gold, 812 silver and 864 bronze. Some competitions award two bronze medals. The medals weigh 500 grams (17.6 ounces). The name of the event in which the medal was won is engraved by laser along the outside edge of the medal.
Mascots: The Olympic mascot is Vinicius, a bright-yellow, cat-like figure that also has elements of monkeys and birds. It represents the diverse animal life of Brazil. Tom is the Paralympic mascot, a mop-headed doll with leafy hair that represents the country's diversity of flora. Vinicius is named for the Brazilian musician Vinicius de Moraes, and
Tom is for Brazilian musician Tom Jobim.
Medals tables: In the United States, national standings are compiled by the total number of medals per team: gold, silver and bronze. In the rest of the world, national standings are based on the number of gold medals per team.
Olympic sports on the program: archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoe/kayak (slalom and sprint), cycling (track, road, mountain bike and BMX), equestrian (dressage, eventing and jumping), fencing, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics (artistic, rhythmic and trampoline), handball, field hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, rugby sevens, sailing, shooting, swimming (swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming, marathon swimming), table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, track and field, triathlon, volleyball (indoor and beach), weightlifting, wrestling (freestyle and Greco-Roman).
Rio de Janeiro stands alone in datelines and is the proper dateline for events in the four major venue clusters, not Barra da Tijuca, Deodoro, Maracana or Copacabana, which are neighborhoods. For soccer stadiums outside Rio, Sao Paulo stands alone in datelines while Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasilia and Manaus require country identification. Example: MANAUS, Brazil. Do not use any diacritical or accent marks in English language stories because they cause garble for some users.
Games, games
Capitalized when attached to the host city or year: the Rio de Janeiro Games and the 2016 Games. When standing alone, spell games lowercase: The games open Aug. 5.
Rio de Janeiro, Rio
Rio is acceptable as a first reference for the city in stories about the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics provided that you use the full name, Rio de Janeiro, somewhere in the story, preferably high up. Rio is also acceptable in headlines. This is an exception to our usual guidance on city names, acknowledging the prevalence of the shorthand Rio in common parlance. The dateline should always be the full name of the city. Examples: Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Rio de Janeiro Games, Rio Olympics, Rio Games.
Rio de Janeiro Games, Rio de Janeiro Olympics
Capitalized. Also, 2016 Olympics or 2016 Games. The year always precedes the host city and Olympics: 2016 Olympics, 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Do not use Rio 2016 Olympics or Rio 2016 Games, marketing terms commonly used by organizers and others that do not conform with longstanding AP style.
Names and acronyms
IOC: International Olympic Committee. Either is OK on first reference, but use full name in the story.
IOC President Thomas Bach. The title is capitalized when used before the name.
International sports federations. All Olympic sports are run by international federations. Don't use abbreviation IF; use international federation or governing body.
National Olympic committee. In news stories, avoid the abbreviation NOC and use national Olympic committees or national bodies. There are 205 recognized national Olympic committees.
USOC: U.S. Olympic Committee. Abbreviation 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
The Olympic Program: The IOC's global sponsorship program. The 12 sponsors are Coca-Cola, Atos, Bridgestone, Dow, GE, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Toyota and Visa. Do not use the IOC's abbreviation, TOP.
Best to avoid as the term can be confusing. It is not a synonym for the Olympics. It is 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. These are the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, which began Jan. 1, 2016.
Any athlete who has been to the Olympics.
Adjective (without s) and always capitalized: Olympic gold medal, Olympic organizers, Olympic host city, Olympic flame, etc.
Olympic terms
Olympic Village, capitalized, or athletes village, lowercase.
Olympic flame and torch relay.
Olympic opening ceremony (singular) and closing ceremony (singular). Together they are the
Olympic ceremonies (plural) held at the Maracana Stadium.
Noun. Always capitalized.
Olympics or Olympic Games
Always capitalized. There are Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics, or Summer Games and Winter Games.
Staged in Rio de Janeiro from Sept. 7-18, involving about 4,350 athletes with physical disabilities from 160 countries. Sports on the program include: canoe/kayak, wheelchair basketball, equestrian, boccia, wheelchair tennis, sitting volleyball, swimming, archery, goalball, football (soccer), track and field, judo, wheelchair rugby, table tennis, powerlifting, cycling, shooting and sailing. Athletes are grouped in classifications based on different types of impairments. The word Paralympic as an adjective (without s) is always capitalized: Paralympic Games, Paralympic organizers, Paralympic gold medal, and so forth. Paralympics as a noun is also always capitalized, following similar usage rules as Olympics: Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, 2016 Paralympics. Paralympic athletes are known as Paralympians. The games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee; IPC is acceptable on second reference. When reporting on the Paralympics, see the disabled, handicapped entry in the AP Stylebook, which encourages specific descriptions and gives guidance on some terms and descriptions.
Summer Olympics
Capitalized. While proper style, note that during the Rio de Janeiro Games it will likely not be necessary in your story to refer to the season. When the games are played, it will be winter in Brazil, and it's widely understood that these games are the summer set.
Symbols and culture
Olympic rings: five interlocking rings (blue, yellow, black, green and red) symbolizing five areas of the world involved in the Olympic movement (Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania).
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.
The preferred term for the plural form of Brazil's currency, the real. Do not use reais, which is confusing as a pluralization of Portuguese. Use currency conversions the first time the currency is mentioned to make clear for readers how a number translates to dollars. Do not convert amounts that are not current because exchange rates change over time. If necessary for clarity in the story, specify that the conversion is at current exchange rates.
Pronunciations of Key Terms
These Portuguese terms are presented as commonly pronounced in Brazil. In English-language text stories, do not use any diacritical or accent marks because they cause garble for some users. The marks are presented here to help with the pronunciation guide.
Olimpíadas (Olympics) – "oh-leem-PEE-ah-dahz"
Reais (reals) – "hey-ICE"
Ipanema – "ee-pah-NAY-mah"
Barra da Tijuca – "BA-ha da chi-JOO-kah"
Corcovado – kor-koh-VAH-doo"
Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf) – "pow gee ah-SOO-kahr"
Maracanã – "ma-rah-kah-NAH"
Açai (a Brazilian fruit often eaten for breakfast) – "ah-sah-EE"
Praia (beach) – "PRAH-yah"
Baia de Guanabara (Guanabara Bay) – "ba-EE-a gee gua-na-BAH-rah"
Faixa Olímpica (Olympic lane) – "PHAI-shah oh-LIM-pee-kah"
Carioca – "kahr-EE-oh-kah"

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