The Business of the Olympics - Phrases and Words

phrases vocabulary Jul 28, 2021
Business of The Olympics

It’s the year of the Olympics! This year’s games are held in Tokyo, Japan, and news reporters are weighing in on the events with their view on who will swim and who will sink. 


To ‘sink or swim’ is an idiom that means to fail (sink) or to succeed (swim). 


Phrases and Words to Speak About Olympic Games

This blog will focus on common vocabulary and collocations about the Olympics. After you’ve read the article, try practicing some of the news languages we learn in the comments section below by making some sentences of your own.

Here we go!

A Motto (noun)

A motto is a short statement used to express a goal or principle. Every business, organisation, and even individual people have mottos:


“Today’s motto is ‘to not run before you can walk’!”


“We should try to live our lives by the motto of ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’.”

Associated Costs/Expenses (adjective + noun)

Associated costs or expenses are all those extra costs that you need to keep in mind when you buy something. The simplest example is when you buy something from Amazon. 


One of the costs associated with the ordered product is transportation (which you pay extra, besides the price of the product itself). 

If the purchased product requires installation and commissioning, then again we are talking about a cost associated with the purchase of the product.


“There are so many associated costs when setting up the Olympics.”


Anti-Doping (noun)

Anti-doping means to have control over the use of a drug which is used to improve athletic performance. 


You’ll often hear the term ‘anti-doping agencies’, which specialise in tracking and monitoring athlete’s drug usage.  


English will also use the word ‘dope’ as a slang term for illegal drugs. 


“Anti-doping is a critical part of the Olympic games. They need to make sure the games are fair.”

A Level Playing Field (phrase)

If a game or competition has a level playing field, it means that it is fair and not unjust. It’s a situation in which everyone has a fair and equal chance of succeeding.


“The Olympics will do everything they can to ensure that there is a level playing field for all participating athletes.”


“There needs to be a level playing field in any kind of sport or event.”

Legacy Schemes (noun)

You may have heard the word ‘legacy scheme’ mentioned before, especially after the main events have finished. 

A legacy scheme is essentially an after-Olympics program to create a sustainable and prosperous environment with sporting, economic, cultural, and environmental benefits.


“Legacy schemes are a vital element of the Olympic games.”


Eye Watering (adjective)

An extremely large amount of something, often more than one would expect. We would often use this adjective to describe the cost of something that is way too high. 


“Spectators pay eye watering prices for food and drink at the Olympics.”


Spectators (noun)

People who watch a game or event; the audience who sit in the stadium are often referred to as ‘spectators’. 

“Due to COVID-19, Tokyo will not be allowing any spectators into the stadium this year.”

Commentators (noun)

A commentator is a sportscaster who provides commentary during live events. Pretty much every sport in the world will have a commentator. It’s their job to inform the audience what is going on in the game and to add drama and atmosphere to the event. 


“The Olympics without commentators just wouldn’t be the same - there would be no atmosphere at all!”


To Be on Track to Do Something (phrase)

If someone is on track to do something it means to be on schedule for reaching a specific level in a given time. 


This phrase is often used to describe athletes who are predicted to perform a certain way in the Olympics.


“Tom Daley is on track to win gold for the men’s synchronized 10m platform.”


State-of-The-Art (adjective)

State-of-the-art means when something, usually a thing, is very modern and uses the latest technology. A similar word that can be used to describe something like this is ‘cutting edge’. 


We’ll often describe stadiums or/and equipment as state-of-the-art.


“Have you seen Tokyo’s new Olympic stadium? It really is state-of-the-art.”


“Athletes now use state-of-the-art technology to help them train and prepare for the Olympic games.”


Phrasal Verbs and Idioms About the Olympics 

Now that we’ve looked at some common words about the Olympics, let’s explore some useful phrasal verbs and idioms that can be used to describe the historic event!

To be Poised to Do Something (Phrasal Verb)

To be poised to do (something) means that you are braced, prepared, or ready to do something in the immediate future.


Commentators will use this term to describe athletes who are ready to begin their event or race. 


“The athletes were poised to do the 200m sprint.”

To Rake in The Dough (idiom)

To rake in the dough simply means to make or earn a lot of money. A person, business, or organisation can ‘rake in the dough’ whenever they make or earn a large sum of money. 


“The Olympics must rake in the dough with all of the spectators they have this year.”


Native English speakers will often shorten this idiom to just ‘rake it in’. 


“Athletes rake it in. I don’t think they should be paid as much as they are.”

To Show Off (phrasal verb)

To show off means to display someone or something that is a source of pride. It can also mean to boastfully display one's abilities or accomplishments. 


‘Boastfully’ is an adverb and it has a slightly negative connotation. To do something boastfully is having an overinflated sense of pride. A person who is constantly talking about his own accomplishments is an example of someone who would be described as boastful.


“Good sportsmanship means to not show off in front of other competitors.”


“It’s disrespectful to show off when you’ve won an event.”


To (not) Be Worth It (idiom)

Another great idiom is ‘to not be worth it’. If something isn’t worth it, then it means that the thing they’re trying to do is not worth the time spent on it - it’s counterproductive or meaningless basically. 


Coaches might use this idiom to tell their athletes that doing something in their event or performing a certain way might not be worth it. 


“Using all of your strength and energy at the beginning of the race just isn’t worth it. Save it to the very end.”

To Fork Out (phrasal verb)

To fork out means to spend a lot of money on something. We use the preposition ‘for’ in this phrasal verb followed by the noun or object. 


“Japan must have forked out a lot for this year’s Olympics.”


“Athletes fork out thousands of pounds each year for coaching and training.”

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Let’s Wrap Up

So there you have it! Fifteen new words and phrases for you that are often used to talk about the Olympic games. 


I want you to start practicing these vocabularies in sentences of your own and I want to see them in the comments section below this blog article!


Try writing them in the context of the Olympics to really make them more relevant. 


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