The Olympics is the ultimate test of an athlete. It is the biggest stage for an athlete to showcase their talent and bring glory to their country. While the Olympic Games bring tears, joy, and celebration every four years, it even brings with it a lot of history and some amazing facts about its history.
Here is a look at some lesser known and probably surprising facts about the Olympic Games
10. Not a single white skinned athlete has been able to complete the 100 meter race in less than ten seconds till date. Marian Waronin of Poland came the closest when he clocked a timing of ten seconds flat almost forty years ago. While many have tried and failed over the years, there will not be a dearth of white athletes trying to achieve this feat in the years to follow.
9. According to several reports, the great Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as Mahatma Gandhi, was a news reporter and covered the 1932 Olympics. Although this fact is unverified, it is amazing if something like this happened. While it will be difficult to verify this fact, it has to be one of the most historic things ever to be associated with the Olympic Games.
8. The coveted Olympic Gold Medals have not been made of pure gold since the 1912 Olympics. The gold medals awarded since 1912 are silver plated with gold. Another amazing thing to know is that the gold, silver, and bronze medals were not handed out till the 1900 Olympics. Prior to 1900, athletes were awarded paintings instead of medals.
7. The youngest Olympic athlete ever to compete in the Olympic Games was ten year old Dmitri Loundras, who was a gymnast from Greece. Dmitri participated in the 1896 Olympics held in Athens. This happened before the minimum age requirement came into play. The oldest Olympic athlete ever to compete in the Olympic Games was 72 year old Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn. This was quite an astonishing feat by both the athletes given their age.
6. Prior to the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, the concept of drug testing did not exist. The first ever drug testing and Olympic drug suspension happened in the 1968 Olympic games. Swedish pent-athlete Hans Gunnar Liljenwall was suspended from the Olympic Games for using alcohol. He was found to have consumed beer before the race. Since this was against the rules, he was suspended. One still wonders though what he tried to achieve in the event without being sober. The pentathlon is one of the toughest events in the Olympic Games and Has Gunnar Liljenwall would have been ill advised to compete in this event under the influence of alcohol.
5. The United States of America has won more medals than any other country in the summer Olympic Games. The United States has won 2,189 medals till date. Norway has won the most medals at the winter Olympic Games than any other country. Norway has won 263 medals till date. While other countries have attempted to come close to these countries, the United States and Norway continue to dominate the summer Olympic Games and winter Olympic Games respectively. Only time will tell if any nation can break this stronghold.
4. While many countries have taken turns and a great deal of pleasure hosting the Olympic Games, three continents have never hosted the Olympic Games. These continents are Antarctica, Africa, and South America. While this may change in years to come, it is astonishing that these big continents have not been part of Olympic Games history in over a hundred years.
3. The world famous Olympic Games logo is made up of five rings and is made and designed to represent the five major continents. The five colors of the rings – yellow, blue, green, black, and red – cover ever national flag around the world. At least one of these colors will be found on every national flag around the world.
2. These days Olympic Games are scheduled and planned to last for a maximum of thirty to forty five days. This is done due to tight schedules of the athletes and organizational restrictions. However, the longest duration that the Olympic Games have lasted is for 187 days. This was during the London Olympics of 1908. The Olympic Games began in April and ended only in October that year. That would have been a grueling event for the participating athletes.
1. The athlete with the highest collection of Olympic medals is the famous Soviet Union gymnast, Larissa Latynina. She ended her glittering Olympic Games career with an astonishing tally of 18 medals. Whether anyone will end her reign and overhaul her tally remains to be seen. For now, Larissa Latynina has her name etched in the Olympic Games history.