16 AP style tips for the Summer Olympics

As the world casts its eyes on London for the 2012 Summer Olympics, writers can go for the gold in their prose.


The Associated Press (AP) has published its editorial style guide for the Summer Games, compiling essential terms, spellings, and definitions for the XXX Olympiad. Opening Friday, July 27, the London Games will feature 26 sports and 39 disciplines, with about 10,500 athletes vying for a total of 2,100 gold, silver, and bronze medals.

When watching U.S. swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte’s aquatic quests or Team USA’s vaults in gymnastics, writers can follow AP’s Olympic terms and usage:

1. Olympics or Olympic Games: Always capitalized. There are Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics, or Summer Games and Winter Games.

2. Olympics (n.): Always capitalized.

3. Olympic (adj., without s): Always capitalized: Olympic gold medal, Olympic organizers, Olympic host city, Olympic flame, etc.

4. Olympiad: 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. The XXX Olympiad that includes the London Games began Jan. 1, 2012.

5. Olympian: Any athlete who has competed in the Olympics.

6. London Games, London Olympics: Capitalized. Also, 2012 Olympics or 2012 Games. London Summer Olympics and London Summer Games.

7. Games: Capitalized when attached to the host city or year: the London Games and the 2012 Games.

8. games: Standing alone, lowercase: The games open July 27.

9. The year: Always precedes the host city and Olympics: 2012 Olympics, 2012 London Games.

10. Olympic Park: The 2.5-square-kilometer (1-square-mile) site in Stratford, East London.

11. Olympic Village: Capitalized, or athletes’ village, lowercase. Located next to the Olympic Park.

12. Olympic opening ceremony (singular) and closing ceremony (singular): Together they’re the Olympic ceremonies (plural) held in the 80,000-seat main Olympic Stadium.

I3. IOC: International Olympic Committee. Either is OK on first reference, but use full title in the story. IOC President Jacques Rogge; title is capitalized.

14. LOCOG: London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games. Short forms are London organizers and London organizing committee.

15. USOC: U.S. Olympic Committee; BOA: British Olympic Association. Abbreviations are acceptable on second reference.

16. International sports federations: All Olympic sports are run by international federations. Avoid abbreviation IF; use international federation or governing body.

Steve Vittorioso is an account executive at Inkhouse Media + Marketing, where this story first appeared. Follow Steve on Twitter @savittorioso.

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