This is the second article in a series of 2 about fun facts from the Olympics.
On the 21st August, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil came to an end. The Olympics are the largest, and perhaps most prestigious sporting events in the world, and this year has been no exception: 11,540 athletes from 207 nations have competed in 28 sports. In this article we will explore some of the fun facts that have made the Olympics so special since the first Ancient Olympic games in Ancient Greece.
- The United Kingdom is the only country to have received at least one Gold medal at the Summer Olympics every time.
- There are four cities in the United States of America which have hosted the Summer Olympics, which makes the USA the country to have hosted the most in the history of the Games. (Read article 1 in this series to find out why it is cities and not countries that host the Olympic games)
- London is the city that has hosted the most Olympic games, as it hosted them in 1908, 1948, and recently in 2012.
- Although the Olympic games have only been cancelled three times (in 1916, 1940, and 1944 because of the world wars) the 1980 Games in Moscow were ignored by 66 countries, including the USA, because Russia has invaded Afghanistan in 1979.
- Many of the athletes that compete in the Modern Olympic athletics wear sparkly leotards that allow them to move freely. The athletes from the USA this year wore leotards made with 5000 crystals, they took two years to make, and they are custom fit to the athletes.
- At every Olympic Game there is a big torch, called simply “the Olympic Torch”. This is a tradition from Ancient Greece and the Ancient Games: just as they did back then, traditionally dressed women light the torch in Olympia, Greece, using curved mirror that reflect the sun. The torch is then carried to the stadium that is hosting that year’s games, by athletes and important individuals. This flame is supposed to symbolize purity.
- Only men could take part in the Ancient Olympics, they had to be “free men” (Ancient Greece still had slaves, who were not allowed to take part) and they had to speak Greek. Married women were not even allowed to watch the Olympic games! This is of course very different from today, where women take an active part in the games and are among the most impressive athletes. There are still issues of women and men not being treated the same unfortunately, especially by the media reporting on the Games.
- The first women who were allowed to participate took part in the games in 1900. They were not allowed to wear anything that showed too much skin, which means that they had to run, jump, swim and more while wearing large uniforms with a lot of fabric.
- The crown prince of Norway, who became King in 1957 until 1991, won a Gold Medal for sailing during the 1928 Games.