We’re just a day away from the grand opening of the Olympic Games in London, and in the wake of the Olympic spirit, we are more than eager to share with you some fun facts related to the games.
I believe you’ll enjoy reading this catch-all list of amusing, odd, or just flat-out infirmative facts. So, enjoy in what follows:
1. The different colors of the Olympic rings represent every flag in the world!
The Olympic rings are colored blue, yellow, black green and red, since every flag of the World has at least one of these colors. While the number of the rings, they are five, represent the five continents. We all know there are seven continents and that makes you go hmmm. But don’t panic, there are still 7 continents in the World and the Olympic committee gave a reasonable explanation about this matter that appeased everyone. They’ve just condensed the world into 5 continents: America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania, as simple as that. Sad but true, Antarctica is not included. And on the fun side, we’re now continent mates with Uruguay and Colombia. Cool, right?
2. Black athletes, were in a sense discriminated and didn’t win a marathon until 1960
I know it’s hard to picture this now when black people practically rule the marathon, but that wasn’t the case 40 years ago. The first black athlete to win the marathon was Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia in 1960. And believe it or not, he did it barefoot. Take this fact as a proof that expensive footwear doesn’t always make the difference.
3. Gold medals haven’t been made solely of gold for 96 years
Until the 1912 Olympics, gold medals were solid gold. Ever since, they’ve been 92.5% silver, but have been plated with at least 6 grams of gold. And just as a matter of fact, not all gold medals are more silver than gold like the Olympic ones. There are also gold medals that are really gold, such as the Congressional Gold Medal and Nobel Prize Medal.
4. Once upon a time, the top prize at the first modern Olympics was the silver medal
Back in 1896 in Athens, first place winners didn’t get any gold at all, they were awarded with a silver medal and an olive branch. Second place winners got bronze, while third place winners got nothing. Not even a recognition of participation.
5. The first Olympic suspension happened at 1968
Honestly, he should have been applauded for attempting to do the pentathlon drunk. 99.9% of the world couldn’t even do it sober.
6. China won its first medal in 1984
Hard to believe it now when China is a medal-winning monolith. But history says China didn’t win its first Olympic medal until 1984. The first Chinese to win gold was Xu Haifeng in the 50 meter pistol event.
7. The Olympic Games once lasted for 187 days.
In 1908, the Olympics, once again held in London, went on for approximately 6 months. They began in April and continued until October.
8. So far, no white person has run 100 meters in under 10 seconds.
There is no white person to ever run the 100 meters in under 10 seconds, history says. The closest person to run it was Marian Woronin of Poland who ran the 100 meters in 10 flat seconds.
On the other hand, there’s no exact count on how many black athletes broke this 10 second mark. They first broke it in 1968, and ever since they have done it several hundred times (at least).
9. Mahatma Gandhi once covered the Olympic Games as a newspaper reporter.
It was at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea. At that time the father of the Indian nation was at the prime of civil disobedience movement.
10. A 62-year age difference gap stands between the youngest and the oldest Olympian ever.
The youngest Olympian ever was Dimitrios Loundras, a Greek gymnast who participated in the 1896 Athens Olympics. He was 10.
On the other hand, the oldest Olympian ever to take part in the games was Oscar Swahn, a Swedish shooter who engaged in the 1920 Antwerp, Belgium, Olympics. He was 72.