Ladies and Gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts! The biggest, oldest, and most eminent sporting event in history is happening once again, this time in Tokyo, Japan. There’s nothing more significant happening at the moment than the 32nd Summer Olympics kicking off. For centuries now, the Olympic games continue to be the largest sporting extravaganza, with above 206 nations participating this year. Here we present some exciting facts about the Olympic Games.
Olympic facts: Olympics History
- Until 1912, the Olympic gold medals were made of solid gold.
- Initially, the Olympic games were exclusively for amateurs and professional athletes were banned from participating in any event.
- In the 1896 Olympics held in Athens, the first prize was a silver medal and an olive branch. A bronze medal was awarded for the runner-up and third place gets nothing.
- The Olympics had a massive break of 1500 years in 393 AD during the Roman emperor Theodosius’ rule because it was a pagan festival.
- Writers, musicians, painters, sculptures, and architects participated in their respective events in the Olympics from the year 1912 to 1948.
- Baron Pierre de Coubertin is the father of the modern Olympic Games
Olympic facts: First in Olympics
- The 1st Paralympic Games took place in Rome in 1960
- The first ancient Olympic Games took place in 776 BC.
- The first African to win Olympic gold is Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia. He ran a 26-mile marathon barefoot to win it.
- The Olympic games were first broadcasted on television in 1936 in Germany during the reign of Adolf Hitler.
- The 2012 London Olympics was the first Olympic games in history where every participating country sent female athletes.
- The first-ever Olympics consisted of only one event – the stade also known as short sprint.
- The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio marked the 1st time games were held in South America.
- The 1964 Summer Olympic Games was the 1st time the Games were held in Asia.
- The Tokyo Olympic 2020 is the first-ever Olympic Games with no spectators.
- Japan is the 1st country to make medals out of recycled materials. (Tokyo 2020)
Olympic facts: Significance
- The Olympic rings represent 5 regions of the world – Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania.
- The six colors – blue, yellow, black, green & red were chosen because every nation’s flag contains at least one of the colors.
- The Olympic flame and the relay torch should burn until the end of the Games that year. If it goes off, it should only be re-ignited with a backup flame, not with any ordinary lighter.
- The official language of the Olympic games is French, English, and the official language of the host nation.
- The Olympic flame for the torch relay comes all the way from Olympia, Greece. The torch is ignited in a traditional way using a parabolic mirror that reflects the sun’s rays. The torch is then transported to the host city.
- The tradition of lighting the Olympic flame in Olympia is governed by Rule 13 of the Olympic Charter. It is organized by the Hellenic Olympic Committee.
Olympic facts: Unfortunate Incidents
- The Olympic games didn’t take place in 1916 during WW1, & in 1940 & in 1944 during WW II.
- The country of Monaco has participated in 20 Summer Olympics but is yet to win a medal.
- No African or South American country has ever hosted the Olympics.
Women in Olympics
- Women have been allowed to compete in the Olympics games since 1900.
- In ancient times, women were not allowed to even witness the Olympics games.
- In Paris Olympics 1900: 1st-time women made an entry in the Olympic Games. 22 women competed in sailing, tennis, croquet, equestrian, and golf.
- It was Plato who supported women in Olympics by advocating running and sword-fighting.
- Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Oe, two Japanese pole-vaulters tied for second place at the 1936 Olympics. Instead of competing again, they decided to cut the silver and bronze medals into halves and fused it like a silver-bronze medal, and wore it with pride.
- Dimitrios Loundras of Greece won an Olympic bronze medal for gymnastics at the age of 10 making him the youngest medal winner in Olympic history.
- In Ancient Olympics, athletes participating were nude and they believed that it is a display of courage and power.
- Oscar Swahn is the oldest Olympic medal winner claiming a silver medal for shooting at the age of 72.
- The London Olympics of 1908 was the longest Olympic Games lasting 187 days.
- Netherland’s Annica Van Grunsven won Olympic gold for Dressage while she was 5 months pregnant.
- Only 4 athletes have won medals in both the Summer and the winter Olympic games
Highest medal winner in Olympics
- US swimmer Michael Phelps has the most Olympic gold medals (23). The second place belongs to USSR gymnast Larisa Latynina with 9 golds.
- The United States has the highest medal tally in the history of the Olympics followed by the Soviet Union which never became a part of the Olympics since 1988.
- China is the fourth highest country in terms of the Olympic medal tally but they have never won an Olympic medal before 1984.
India in Olympics
- India has won 9 gold medals so far in the Olympics in which eight of them were for Men’s hockey and one individual gold medal won by Abhinav Bindra for men’s 10-meter air rifle shooting in the 2008 Olympics.
- India was the undisputed champions of men’s hockey in three consecutive Olympic games – 1928, 1932, and 1936.
Tokyo Olympics facts
- Tokyo 2020 medals are made up of recycled electronics. It will be distributed across 50 games and 33 different sporting events.
- Japan has produced 5,000 Olympic medals from 78,985 tons of recycled electronic devices. It includes laptops, digital cameras, and a whopping 6.21 million mobile phones.
- A total of 11,000 athletes from 205 countries will be competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
- 5 new sports have been added in Tokyo Olympics 2020 – baseball/softball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing, and surfing.
- The official motto for Tokyo Olympics 2020 is “United by Emotion,”.
- It is the 2nd time Tokyo will be hosting the Olympic games. Earlier, Tokyo hosted the game 56 years back in 1956.
- The Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch is designed after the shape of a sakura, or cherry blossom. It is a beautiful flower beloved by Japanese people.