Fascinating facts about the Olympic Games
Did you know…
On 5 August 2016, it's going to be that time again. When the entire world will be gathering in the city of the samba, Copacabana and Christ the Redeemer. The time-honoured games, version 2016, will be held this year in Rio de Janeiro.
Time for a quick refresher course in international sports!
- The 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens saw participation by the most countries ever (202).
- Great Britain is the only country that has won at least one gold medal in every edition of the Summer Olympics.
- During the Paris Olympics in 1900, the French decided to make a few changes. Medals? No, paintings! According to the French, a painting would be much more valuable.
- No African country has ever hosted the Olympic Games. Perhaps that's a tip for the 2024 Olympics?
- Abebe Bikila was the first African to win a gold medal in 1960. And he did it in style… He ran the marathon barefoot! Maybe he just never found a pair of shoes that felt quite right.
- The United States has won the most medals (2,189) of all the participating countries ever at the Summer Games!
- You know the feeling when you wake up and for a moment, you don't know where you are? That's what Margaret Abbott felt like at the 1900 Olympics in Paris. She had seen a small advertisement in the newspaper for a golf competition. She took part and went home with the grand prize! It was only later that she realised she had in fact taken part in the poorly organised Paris Olympics. And that's how she became the first American woman to win an Olympic competition.
- None other than Walt Disney, the father of Mickey Mouse, was in charge of the committee organising the opening ceremony in 1960. Can you imagine how magical it must have been?! (Interesting detail: it was actually for the Winter Olympics that the magic was brought to life.)
- Sometimes tempers can get a bit out of control. That much is clear from the incident at the 1998 Olympics in Seoul. After the announcement of the results for the bantamweight class, the Korean boxer Byun Jung-Il began a sit-in. A full hour after all the lights had been turned off, he finally threw in the towel. As you can imagine, he had lost …
- The Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu is one determined guy. When he took part in the London Olympics in 2012, he was already 71 years old! He began competing in the Olympics when he was 23 but (for now at least) has yet to win a medal. If he participates in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, he will again be the oldest athlete. Never give up!
- Australia is a real ‘diehard’ when it comes to the Olympics. Since 1896, the country has never missed a single edition of the summer Olympic Games!
- The fact that athletes can be animal lovers was demonstrated by Henry Pearce at the 1928 Olympics. He interrupted the rowing quarter-finals to allow a family of ducks to safely swim in front of his shell. He then resumed rowing at top speed, and went on to win the finals. A gold medal for a man with a heart of gold!
Voilà, theo is all ready for the 2016 Olympics! And you?