The Olympic Spirit: Athletic Toys and Training Gear

The Olympics are already underway and the opening ceremony takes place tonight. In the Olympic spirit of athletic competition, we’ve assembled some of our favorite kids’ athletic toys and adult athletic training gear.

Toys to Start Their Training

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Boxing is one of the oldest and most honorable sports in the Olympics. Get your kid into fighting shape with this Standing Punching Bag Set. It features a built-in rebound and an adjustable height. For ages 4 and up.

Basketball and Soccer both have a unique history in the Olympics. Now your kid can stay up practicing their skills with a Franklin GLOMAX Ball. All are made of PVC, except for the basketball, which is made of rubber.

Get In Shape — Stay In Shape

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It’s never too late to start getting your body in shape. Start your active lifestyle in a fashionable way with the Women’s Set of 2 Sporty Leggings. Each pair has a comfortable, spandex design and an elastic waistband.

Take care of your body after a long workout with the Hot/Cold Back Therapy Wrap. Its quilted design on the back keeps the beads evenly distributed. Just microwave or freeze the wrap and secure with fabric-magic.

The Olympic Torch Relay: What You Need to Know

Even for longtime fans of the Olympic Games, the origins and symbolism of the Olympic Torch Relay isn’t always entirely clear. One of the iconic symbols of the modern Games, the Olympic flame has some deep roots in the ancient Olympics and Greek mythology, as well as a newer history that dates back to the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. Although the Olympic torch has been in motion for over three months, it’s not too late to catch the final stretch on August 5th. Read on to learn some facts about the Olympic Torch Relay.

Ancient Origins
The flame has always been an important symbol of the Olympic Games. It symbolizes the titan Prometheus stealing fire from Mount Olympus and giving it to mankind. Fire was a divine symbol in Ancient Greece, and the Olympic flame was known to burn continuously throughout the ancient Games just as it does today.

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Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece where the Olympic flame is first lit.

Modern Rebirth
The rebirth of the Olympic flame occurred at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. As continues to be tradition, the flame was lit in a cauldron in the main stadium, but the introduction of the relay was still years away. It wasn’t until the 1936 Olympics in Berlin that the relay began to take shape, even if it wasn’t totally refined.

The First Relay
Both the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam and the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles lit the Olympic flame at their home stadium where the events were held. The 1936 Olympics in Berlin took the lighting of the flame to the next level, a process that’s been repeated ever since, with the flame lit in Olympia and taken to the host city.

Starting in Olympia
The lighting of the Olympic flame always starts in Olympia, and is still lit in one of the known places where it was lit in the ancient Games, at the site of the Temple of Hera. The ancient Greeks utilized a mirror-like tool called a skaphia to light the flame using the sun, a process now mimicked with a parabolic mirror and torch.

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Land, Sea or Air
Once the flame is lit in Athens, it has to be transported to the host nation. As was the case in 2016, the torch had to be transported across the ocean from Athens to Brazil. Because the Olympics take the torch to many different places around the globe, it must travel by air and sea. Once in the host nation it begins its journey.

Special Precautions
The Olympic flame is never supposed to go out. It’s placed in a special container when traveling to secure it during air travel. But special precautions don’t always work. The flame has gone out during the relay several times. However, it is always re-lit with a backup flame that’s also from the first lighting ceremony in Olympia.

Torch Bearers
The longest relay in the history of the Olympics was in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. It took place over 8,000 miles and went to some pretty crazy places. This year in Rio the torch will travel over 12,000 miles on land alone. It seems like a chore, but with over 12,000 torch bearers participating, the effort is evenly shared.

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Opening Ceremony
The final stretch of the relay brings the Olympic flame into the main stadium where the opening ceremony is held, depositing the flame into a cauldron which burns during the entire length of the Olympics. The closing ceremony of each Olympic Games finally extinguishes the flame, waiting until the Winter Games to be re-lit.

Interesting Olympic Facts to Get You Ready for the Games

Olympic athletes train their entire lives for one race, one game, one moment. But you don’t have to put in a lifetime of work to catch up on your Olympic facts. Read on to train your brain for the opening ceremony.

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Before You Watch: Key Facts About the 2016 Rio Olympics
The 2016 Olympic Games have been knee-deep in controversy since the beginning. With the Zika Virus, athletes dropping out, teams being banned and unhygienic water, it can be difficult to figure out what you need to know as a humble viewer. Get caught up before the opening ceremony with these lighter key facts.

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Olympic Fashion from Over a Century of Competition
The modern Olympics began in 1896, more than 1,500 years after the previous Olympics. Clothes worn by the competitors were obviously different, but the changes were small compared to the changes between 1896 and 2016. Learn about the changes in sports apparel over the last 120 years with these fashion facts.

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How to Organize Backyard Olympics for Kids
Let the Rio Olympics serve as the inspiration for your own Olympic celebration with fun activities that are almost guaranteed to spark some friendly competition. Get water bottles ready, choose your teams and lace up the gym shoes. Here are five tips on how to plan backyard Olympics for kids who can’t wait to compete.

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Eat Like an Olympian: How Athletes Fuel Up for Competition
Being an Olympic athlete requires a high level of discipline when it comes to dieting. Training diets are much different from the diets Olympians use once they reach the Games. Take a break from your healthy cookbook and learn more about race day diets, or learn a few tricks that can help improve your workouts.