There is two weeks till the Official start of the Olympics and since there is just too much cool thing about this event, we just have to write a post a week till it’s starting. A week ago we told you about the Olympic Torch’s journey, but this week is all about the fun facts.
The Ancient Greeks Competed in the Nude
In ancient Greece, athletes didn’t have to worry about endorsements on their jerseys or shorts, because they weren’t wearing any. That’s right, competitors back in the day had to strut around in the buff, and only men were allowed to compete. Competitors often oiled themselves up for looks, and as a tribute to the Gods. (The word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnos,” which means “naked.”)
The First Olympics
In the first Olympics in 776 B.C., there was only one event—a short 200 meter sprint called a stade.
Ancient Prizes and Ancient Rules
There were no gold, silver, or bronze awards in the ancient Olympics, just an olive wreath for the winner. And not only were winners awarded, but the Greeks were so serious about the Games that one athlete who backed out of the competition was fined for cowardice.
How War’s Affected Both Ancient and Modern Games
Because there were wars usually occurring during the ancient Olympics, the Greeks set aside a month’s truce so athletes and spectators from different countries could travel to the Games. However, the modern Olympics have been canceled three times, always on account of war. The 1916 Summer Olympics in Berlin were canceled because of WWI. The 1940 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, as well as the 1944 Summer Olympics in London were canceled because of WWII.
Rebirth of the Olympics
The early Olympic Games were celebrated as a religious festival from 776 B.C. until 393 A.D., when the games were banned for being a pagan festival (the Olympics celebrated the Greek god Zeus). In 1894, a French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin, proposed a revival of the ancient tradition, and thus the modern-day Olympic Summer Games were born.
Winners of the First Modern Olympics
Host Greece won the most medals (47) at the first Olympic Summer Games in 1896.
Jack of All Trades, Master of Two
Only four athletes have ever won medals at both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games: Eddie Eagan (United States), Jacob Tullin Thams (Norway), Christa Luding-Rothenburger (East Germany), and Clara Hughes (Canada).
Winter Games Champions
Not only have Norway won the most medals (263) at the Winter Games, but nobody has won more medals at the Winter Games than cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie of Norway, who has 12.
The World’s Youngest Olympian
Dimitrios Loundras was a Greek gymnast who took part in the Athens Olympics held in 1896. Young Dimitrios won a bronze medal for his efforts, and to this day he still remains the youngest Olympic competitor and medalist on record. Even more amazing, he was 10 years and 218 days old when he won his medal.
The Oldest Olympian Ever
Oscar Swahn, a Swedish shooting expert, won his first Olympic medal in 1908, when he was a spry 60-year-olds. Apparently he got a taste for winning, even if it came later in life than most people. (He would go on to compete in two more Olympic Games.) After WWI, Swahn attended the Antwerp Games (his last) and won a silver medal. He was 72 at the time.
The Barefoot Marathoner
Running a marathon is hard work. Shoe companies market like crazy to all types of runners, but their advertisements would have been wasted on Abebe Bikila. Abebe, who hailed from Ethiopia, won the gold medal for the marathon in the 1960 Rome Olympics. He was the first African to win a gold, and he did so barefoot.