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Five Things You Didn't Know About the Olympics

Updated on August 1, 2012

1. Gender

Although women have been competing for quite some time in the modern Olympic games, the 2012 games mark the first time that every participating nation has at least one female competitor.

2. Television

While watching the Olympics on television seems commonplace today, it wasn't always. For many years following the spread of the television set, the games were only televised for people living in the area hosting the events. It wasn't until the 1956 Winter Olympics that the games were broadcast internationally.

3. Debt

The Olympic Games are a huge honor for any city, but the host tends to find itself spending more than projected. The Olympics have always gone over budget, with cities spending two, three - even seven - times as much on the games as estimated. In fact, Montreal didn't finish paying off the debt from hosting the 1976 games until 30 years later.

4. The Arts?

While we don't typically associate gold medals with artistic achievement today, the modern games once featured a variety of artistic categories. Until 1952, medals were awarded for works in literature, architecture, music, painting, and sculpture.

5. Politics

Politics have frequently interrupted the Olympic games. In 1984, the Soviet Union and most of the Eastern Bloc boycotted the games. Instead, they participated in the "Friendship Games." Some nations who were not boycotting the games - France, Britain, and a handful of other Western nations - participated as well, mostly sending their backup athletes who failed to qualify for the Olympic games that year.

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    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 5 years ago from United States

      Yes politics is always raising it ugly head in everything we try to achieve in the human condition. Sometimes the judging falls prey to a political decision in close reviews. (Some not so close). I do wish that they would include the arts in the Olympics again. It too is a way for those who might not participate in athletics, to contribute and share in their art abilities. Nice hub.