Live Pigeon Shooting took place in the 1900 Paris Games. Over
300 pigeons were slaughtered in an orgy of blood and feathers.
Though it's in dispute as to whether the event was sanctioned by the
Olympic council, there's no disputing that Parisian sidewalks were
cleaner for a brief period at the turn of the century. It was the only time
animals were killed on purpose during an Olympic event.
The Beijing Olympics, 2008, began at exactly 8:08:08 PM on
8/8/08 because the number 8 is considered lucky in China.
The Berlin 1936 Olympiad was the first games to be televised.
There is a study of the
2004 Athens Olympics which shows that athletes who wore red while
competing in "combat sports", such as wrestling, scored higher than
opponents wearing blue. Very interesting but no scientific evidence can
be produced say Will and Guy.
It wasn't until 1900 that women were allowed to participate in the
Australian rower, Henry Pearce, stopped halfway through his
quarter-final race to let a family of ducks pass in front of his boat. The French competition overtook him, but Pearce managed to get back in
front and win the gold.
Pierre de Coubertin, the late founder of the International Olympic
Committee [IOC], decided to send his heart to the site of ancient
Olympia in Greece, where it is kept in a monument. The rest of him is
buried in Lausanne, Switzerland.
No boxing was held at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics because
the sport was illegal in Sweden.
George Patton, who would later
become a famous U.S. general, competed in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics
pentathlon, an event combining pistol shooting, swimming, fencing, cross
country and steeplechase. Patton performed poorly in his best event,
pistols, but shined in fencing, defeating the French army champion. 'Old
Blood and Guts' finished fifth overall, the only non-Swede to make the
During the 1972 Munich
Summer Olympics, Olga Korbut, the gymnast from the USSR was the media
darling. She was 17 years old and only stood 4ft 11in tall. [1.49
Tug-o-war made its last appearance as an Olympic sport in
French athletes bent the rules at the 1932 Los Angeles
Olympics: despite 'Prohibition', they were allowed wine with their
The greatest star of the 1936 Berlin Olympics was the 10th
child born to an Alabama sharecropper family named Owens. He was not
born with the name Jesse, he was called James Cleveland Owens, and as a
child moved to his namesake city: Cleveland. A teacher asked his name,
and he said "J.C." The teacher thought he said "Jesse," and the boy was
too polite to disagree.
Another great Olympian, with Chicago ties,
was Johnny Weissmuller, the winner of five gold medals in swimming who
later starred as Tarzan in the movies. Weissmuller swam brilliantly in
the 1924 and 1928 Olympics and also in the waters off Chicago's North
Avenue Beach on a stormy day in July 1927. Weissmuller was training on
the lakefront with his brother Peter when a sudden storm swamped the
pleasure boat Favorite. The disaster killed 27 of the 71 people aboard,
mostly women and children, but the Weissmuller brothers rescued 11
people. He can really be considered a hero.
Ethiopian marathoner, Abebe Bikila, was the first man to successfully
defend the marathon title [1960 and 1964]. An interesting observation
was that he only wore shoes for the second victory.
Nadia Comaneci scored perfect 10's seven times at the 1976 Montreal
Discus thrower, Al Oerter, of the USA is the only
athlete to win his event in four consecutive Olympic Games. He won gold
medals and set new discus records in the 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968
games. Only nine other athletes have even won their events twice in
succession in track and field competition.
Stella Walsh, [Stanislawa Walasiewicz] won the women's 100m race at the
1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, becoming the first woman to break the
12 second barrier. When she was killed in 1980, as an innocent victim in
a robbery attempt, an autopsy declared her to be a male.
For over 50 years there was an unsolved mystery concerning the
whereabouts of the original Olympic flag presented to the IOC by the
city of Antwerp, Belgium, following the closing ceremony of the 1920
Olympics. Then in 1977 at an Olympic Committee banquet a reporter
asked Haig "Hal" Prieste, a bronze medalist at the 1920 Olympics in
platform diving, about the stolen Olympic flag. Prieste stunned
the reporter with the reply, "I can help you with that, it's in my
Perhaps if they had called-in that famous Belgian detective Hercules
Poirot, he would have deduced that American swimmer Duke Kahanamoku was
behind the jape to climb the flagpole and take the flag. At a
special ceremony at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia Prieste, then
103, returned the Olympic flag. You can now see it at the Olympic
Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland; there is a plaque thanking Prieste for
The reason the extra yards
were added to the running distance of the marathon to make the total
length a rather strange figure of 26 miles and 385 yards was because
of the rather whimsical demand of Queen Alexandra of Great Britain,
who demanded, in 1908, that the marathon should end below the royal
box at London's White City Stadium, which added the extra 385 yards.
The First Marathon: In 490 BCE, Pheidippides, a Greek soldier,
ran from Marathon to Athens [about 25 miles] to inform the Athenians
the outcome of the battle with invading Persians. The distance was
filled with hills and other obstacles; thus Pheidippides arrived in
Athens exhausted and with bleeding feet. After telling the
townspeople of the Greeks' success in the battle, Pheidippides fell
to the ground dead. In 1896, at the first modern Olympic Games, held
a race of approximately the same length in commemoration of
A bus has been transformed into an exercising artwork that can
perform push-ups. Artist David Cerny created The London Booster by
attaching huge arms, suspension mechanics and adding groaning sound
effects to the 1957 double decker bus. The Czech artist said the piece
could be seen as ironic because push-ups are 'a common exercise for
every sportsman' but also punishment.
The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but
taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but
fighting well. - Pierre de Coubertin (primarily responsible for
the revival of the Olympic Games in 1894)
All I've done is run fast. I don't see why people should make
much fuss about that. Fanny Blankers-Koen (Dutch sprinter who won
four gold medals at the 1948 Summer Olympics)
One shouldn't be afraid to lose; this is sport. One day you win;
another day you lose. Of course, everyone wants to be the best. This
is normal. This is what sport is about. This is why I love it. -
Oksana Baiul, 1994 Olympic Gold Medalist [from the Ukraine]
The Olympics remain the most compelling search for excellence
that exists in sport, and maybe in life itself. - Dawn Fraser
(Australian swimmer, 3-time winner at the Olympics)
An Olympic medal is the greatest achievement and honor that can
be received by an athlete. I would swap any World Title to have won
gold at the Olympics. - Jeff Fenech (Australian boxer, 1984
I Didn't Set Out to Beat the World; I Just Set Out to Do My
Absolute Best. - Al Oerter. 4 times Olympic discuss champion [USA]
If you don't try to win you might as well hold the Olympics in
somebody's back yard. - Jesse Owens (American Athlete, 4 time Gold
Medalist in Track and Field at the 1936 Olympic Games)
Everything about the Olympics was first class, and women were
treated as athletes and equals. - Elizabeth Robinson Schwartz [USA]
1928 100meter sprint champion
It is the inspiration of the Olympic Games that drives people
not only to compete but to improve, and to bring lasting spiritual
and moral benefits to the athlete and inspiration to those lucky
enough to witness the athletic dedication.- Herb Elliott (Australian
middle-distance Runner) Olympic gold 1960 1500 metres.
The six colours, including the white background, represent the
colours of all the world's flags ... this is a true international
emblem. - Pierre de Coubertin
The Olympic Torch
The Olympic torch passes through all 5 continents on its 79 day journey. Trivial
Question: when was this practice of relaying the torch first started?