How Often Are the Olympics Held?

Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty Images

The summer and winter Olympic games are each held once every four years on an alternating schedule, meaning there is an Olympics competition every two years. The modern Olympic games started with a four year cycle in 1896.

The early Olympics were held only once a year in the summer months. The separate winter games were added in 1924 and were originally held in the same year as the summer Olympics. The last year that the summer and winter games were held during the same year was 1992. In 1994, the new cycle began with the games happening on alternating schedules. In 1916, 1940 and 1941, no Olympic games were held because of World War I and World War II.