24 August 2004

Olympic trivia

In the last 108 years of Olympic history, quite a few fascinating things have happened. How many of the following facts did you know?

In the last 108 years of Olympic history, quite a few fascinating things have happened. How many of the following facts did you know?

  • In 1896, at the first modern Olympic Games, only 13 nations took part, and just over 300 athletes. More than 200 of them were Greek.
  • The Olympic oath taken by athletes states: "In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams."
  • In 1900, there were more athletes than spectators at the Paris Olympics.
  • The first team sport added to the Olympic list was football.
  • When Charlotte Cooper won the women's tennis finals in 1900, she became the first woman to win an Olympic event.
  • In the 1908 Olympics, there was only one competitor from Australia and not a single one from Britain.
  • The first women's gold medal for swimming was won by the Australian Sarah Durack, who won the 100m freestyle in 1912.
  • The idea of an Olympic flame burning for the duration of the Games, was first introduced in 1928.
  • The lighting of the Olympic flame, after a long torch relay, is the traditional start of the Olympics.
  • American Mildred "Babe" Didriksen won medals in high jumping, hurdling, and the javelin in 1932. She is the only athlete to ever medal in all three events.
  • The 1936 games in Berlin were the first ones to be televised.
  • The Olympic Games have only three times not taken place since 1896 – in 1916 and in 1940 and 1944. These cancellations were caused by the First and Second World Wars respectively.
  • In 1952 the Soviet Union took part in the Olympic Games for the first time.
  • In 1952, Emile Zatopek of Czechoslovakia won gold medals in the 5000 metres, the 10,000 metres, and in the marathon.
  • In 1956, the Olympic Games in Melbourne Australia were the first Games held in the southern hemisphere.
  • The Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila was the first man who managed to defend the marathon title successfully in 1964.
  • In 1968, the Olympic Games were held in Mexico city – at the highest altitude to date.
  • The 1972 Olympic Games in Berlin belonged to Mark Spitz form the US, who won 7 gold medals – all in record time.
  • A terrorist attack during the Berlin Olympics left 11 Israeli athletes dead.
  • In 1976 at the Montreal Games, Nadia Comaneci shot to fame as she became the first gymnast ever to score 7 perfect 10's.
  • At the Moscow Olympics in 1980, Aleksandr Ditiatin of the USSR won 8 gold medals in gymnastics.
  • Over 200 countries participated in the Sydney Olympics in the year 2000.
  • Australia and Greece are the only two countries who have taken part in every single Olympic Games since 1896.
  • A South African team causes an upset in the Men's 400 m freestyle relay, taking gold and setting a new world record. It is only the second time since 1964 that the US has not won this event.

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