Rope Climbing took place in the following years: 1896, 1904,
1906, 1924, 1932. Rudimentary gym skills were all it took to win
Olympic gold in the early 20th century it appears, as this event
basically consisted of shimmying up a rope.
Club Swinging occurred in 1904 and 1932. This consisted of
swinging a club festooned with ribbons around your body and head. Strange but true.
Tug-of-War between 1900 -1920. Indeed this trickiest of
sports favoured by rather overweight beer drinkers in pubs was
actually considered an Olympic event. We hear competitive tug-of-war
gave way to another short-lived event: the 40m three-legged race.
In wrestling at the Stockholm Games in 1912, the light
heavyweight final between a Swede, Anders Ahlgren, and a Finn, Ivar
Bohling, lasted nine hours. Since neither had gained an advantage
over the other, no gold medal was awarded. Each received a silver
Motor boating was an official sport at the 1908 Olympics. It was
frowned upon because the competitors were often out of sight of the
Polo was played at the Olympics in 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924, and
In 1912, in Stockholm, the first electric timing devices and
public address system was used at the Olympics.
Ralph Craig ran in the 100m for the USA in
1912. He next competed in the Olympics in the USA yachting team, some 36
years later in 1948.
The key word
"amateur" was eliminated from the Olympic Charter in 1971.
American swimmer Michael Phelps holds both the record for most
gold medals won at an Olympic Games, eight, and most career gold medals with
the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, silver medals were
awarded to the winners and bronze to the second place getters.
Olympic gold medals haven't been pure gold in years. The 1912 Olympics
was the last time that gold medals were solid gold. Ever since,
they've been silver with gold plating.
Starting in Amsterdam 1928, all Summer Olympic medals featured
the same design: a Greek goddess, the Olympic Rings, the Coliseum of
ancient Athens, a Greek vase, a horse-drawn chariot. Each host
city then adds their own design together with with the year and the
number of Olympiad. The host city has control over the design
of the reverse side of the medal.
In 1900, in France, Olympian winners got paintings instead of gold
medals. Gold, silver and bronze medals weren't given out until the
third modern Olympics in 1904. The French gave the winners paintings
because they believed they were more valuable.
Incidentally, more athletes than spectators attended the 1900
Paris Olympic Games.
No women competed in 1896, as de Coubertin felt that their
inclusion would be "impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic, and
The first black athlete to compete at the Olympics was
Constantin Henriquez de Zubiera, competing for France in 1900.
The Berlin 1936 Olympiad was the first games to be televised.
The only Olympian ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was
Philip Noel-Baker of Great Britain, who won the silver in the 1500
metres in 1920.
The first Winter Olympic Games were held in Chamonix, France in
1924. Norway has won the most medals (263) at the Winter Games.
In Beijing 2008, equestrian rider Hiroshi Hoketsu became the
oldest Japanese Olympic representative at age 67. Hoketsu also took
part in the 1964 Tokyo Games at the age of 23 where he finished 40th
in the show jumping event.
In order for a sport to be considered for inclusion in the
Olympics it must be 'widely practiced' by men in at least 75
countries and on four continents, and by women in at least 40
countries and on three continents.
Interesting Facts about the London 2012
Olympic sites are chosen by secret ballot, so we're not sure how
London beat Paris for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Some blame French
President Jacques Chirac, who insulted Britain before the vote by
saying, "After Finland, it's the country with the worst food."
France's bid wasn't getting British support anyway, but Finland had two
IOC members, and some speculate that they were swing votes in the 54-50
The very first recorded Ancient Olympic Games took place in 776
BC. The event was a 'stadion' race - a foot race on a running track
183m [200 yards] long. The Greeks called this measurement a stade
- from which we derive the word "stadium".
Milo of Kroton, one of the greatest Ancient Olympic champions.
He won the wrestling event 6 times, over a span of 34 years. [The
famous wrestler Milo was said to train by carrying a calf every day.
As the calf grew heavier, his muscles got stronger.]
Did you know that all athletes competed in the nude at the
The early Olympic Games included competitions for trumpeters.
In the ancient Olympics, the philosopher Plato [427-347 BC] was
a double winner of the Pankration. [Combat sport, a mix of wrestling
In ancient times married women were prohibited from watching the
Games under penalty of death.
In ancient times big sunhats were banned in the crowd, because
they blocked other spectators' view.
Olympic Games Myths
Pelops, a prince from Lydia sought the hand of the daughter of King
Oinomaos of Pisa, namely Hippodamia. Oinomaos had declared that his
daughter's suitors should compete with him in a chariot race; winning it
he gets Hippodamia as his wife; but on losing it, he would be beheaded.
Pelops with his charioteer Myrtilos secretly replaced the bronze
linchpins of the King's chariot with wax linchpins. During the race, the
wax melted and Oinomaos was thrown from his chariot and died. Pelops and
Hippodamia got married and Pelops celebrated his victory with the
According to another myth, poet Pindar, in his Olympian Ode, tells
the tale of how King Augeas of Elis reneged on his promise to reward
Herakles for cleaning his stables. Herakles attacked and sacked Elis and
started the Olympic Games in honour of his father Zeus.