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Written by sadhana on August 17, 2016 Share on

7 Things you didn’t know about the Olympics

The Olympics started out as a Greek pagan ritual in honour of Zeus. Today the game is a versatile event that unites the world and entertains too. The modern Olympics has something for everyone. So you aren’t a sports enthusiast? Look out for the dazzling opening ceremony!Did you know that what the five Olympic rings stand for? The rings represent the five major regions of the world – Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceana, and every national flag in the world includes one of the five colors, which are (from left to right) blue, yellow, black, green, and red.

The Olympic Rings stand in front of the flags of Nations in the Olympic Park in Sochi.. Picture date: Monday February 3, 2014. See PA story OLYMPICS Sochi. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire.
Image credit – sbs

Here are 7 interesting facts you should know about the Olympics!

  1. The United States (USA) has the maximum number of Olympic medals with a total of 2,549 medals! And we haven’t added the 2016 Olympic wins yet. They seem to be on a roll!
United States Olympics
Image credit – dailyhunt

2. Olympic winners bite their medals. Why? Gold was originally used in the Olympics, and biting medals would show their purity. But the practice is more of a photo-op now. Modern gold medals are 92% silver and just 2% gold! The 2016 Olympics Gold medal is worth only $500!

medal-biting-1
Image credit – allure

3. Speaking of medals, the tradition of presenting winners with gold medals did not start until the 1904 games in St. Louis. Until then, the winners were awarded silver medals, certificates, and olive branches. The runners-up received bronze medals and laurel wreaths while the third place finishers went home empty handed!

mia-hamm.7026
Image credit – duke

4. Women were not allowed to participate in the ancient Olympics. They had their own festival Heraea, to honour Zeus’s wife, Hera. However, in modern Olympics, that changed. It was the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris when women were first given the opportunity to participate. The 2012 London Olympic Games was the first time where there were female athletes from every competing country. 

Women in olympics
Image credit – webboard.bayonnet

5. The 1908 London Olympics began in April and didn’t come to an end until October. It lasted for 187 days! The 1908 Games had been originally scheduled to be held in Rome, but the venue had to be changed due to an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, which devastated the city of Naples. The venue had to be hastily rearranged, and hence, the Games lasted for over 6 months. 

1908 Olympic Poster email
Image credit – rebeccajenkins

6. Bebe Bikila (from Ethiopia) won the marathon in the Olympics held at Rome in 1960, barefoot. Adidas, the shoe sponsor at the Games, had very few shoes left when Bikila tried some on and he ended up with a pair that didn’t fit properly. He decided to run barefoot, the way he’d been training for the race. Grit and determination go places! Cut to the present – a decathlete from USA, Jeremy Taiwo (below) will wear eight different pairs of shoes for 10 events he is to participate in!

Olympic athletes
Image credit – seattletimes

7. No athlete from Bolivia has ever won an Olympic medal, although the country has sent athletes to every Summer Olympics since 1964. They’re not the only country to have never won an Olympic medal though. That honour goes to a total of 79 countries!In fact, 154 countries have won fewer medals than Bolt! That’s roughly three quarters of the world’s countries.

 

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