So you’re glued to the screen watching swimming and women’s gymnastics. Soccer is boring and you wonder why football isn’t an Olympic sport. Here are some Odd Facts that might liven up your Olympic viewing.
The first modern Olympic Games were at Athens in 1896. Silver medals were awarded to the winners. Second place got a bronze medal and third place went home to sulk. Speaking of Greece. They are the only country to participate under they’re own flag in every Olympics since 1896.
In 1900, pigeon shooting was an Olympic sport. Yes, live pigeons. More athletes than spectators attended the 1900 Paris Olympic Games.
For the first time, women outnumber men participating in the London Games. No women competed in 1896, as de Coubertin felt that their inclusion would be “impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic, and incorrect.” In 1900, Paris hosted the Olympics and World’s Fair at the same time. Women participated in sporting events in both. To this day it’s hard to determine which was which. For the record, it has been agreed that tennis and golf were the first official female events.
Women competed in swimming events for the first time in 1912, but none of them were from America, which did not allow its female athletes to compete in events without long skirts.
In 1928, women competed in track and field events for the first time; however, so many collapsed at the end of the 800-meter race that the event was banned until 1960.
There are only two Olympic sports where men and women compete directly against each other; equestrian and sailing, though in sailing it is only now one event. Tennis (in early Games in since 2012) and Badminton (since 1996) have mixed doubles events.
In 1976, the East German women’s swim team were men. Or so it was rumored for years. With the fall of Communism, East German documents revealed that they were in fact women pumped chock full of male steroids. The medals they won have yet to be revoked.
Yordan Yovchev is the current President of the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation. He was elected flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony and has qualified for the finals in the Rings. 2012 is his sixth Olympics. He has medaled four time. He won silver in the men’s rings at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. In the same Olympic Games, Yovchev won bronze in the men’s floor exercise. In the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, he won the bronze on both floor exercise and still rings. He is 39.
The medals being awarded at the 2012 Olympics are being securely stored in the Tower of London.
- Tug of War
- Water Motorsports
FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO COMPETED IN THE OLYMPICS
- General George S. Patton- 1912 Pentathlon
- Dr. Benjamin Spock-1920 Rowing
- Princess Anne of England-1976 Equestrian
- Johnny Weismuller (Tarzan on TV)- 1924 and 1928. Swimming with 5 gold and a bronze.
- Geena Davis-2000 Archery.
- Hershel Walker- 1992 Two Man Bobsled
- Senator Bill Bradley- 1964 Basketball
- Larry “Buster” Crabbe- 1928. Swimming. Winning a gold and a bronze.
- Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell- 1964 Judo
World War Two had ended just three years prior. London was slated to host the 1944 Games which were cancelled due to the War. Although the United States was vieing to host, the Olympic Committee voted to allow London to reapply and was accepted to host the 48 Games.
London was still in rubble from German bombings. More than a million people were homeless. But without building a single thing, London hosted the Olympics. Athletes were given cots in army barracks, ate in the mess halls and were asked to bring their own towels. Food was at a premium so visiting nations pitched in. Hungary brought 20,000 lemons. Denmark brought 160,000 eggs. The French brought wine which the British government would not allow so the French team stayed aboard ship.
Germany and Japan did not attend.