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11 Fun Facts About the Olympic Games

Updated on May 28, 2013
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Fun Facts About the Modern Olympics

Before I scared you off with historical figures and statistics, I thought it would be better to write an article containing some of funniest and most outrageous facts about the modern Olympic Games. Enjoy.

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Did Gandhi write a report on the Olympics while in jail?
Did Gandhi write a report on the Olympics while in jail? | Source

Gandhi for Writer of the Year?

It is commonly believed that Mahatma Gandhi, a devout Hindu and world-renowned philosopher, once covered the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as a news reporter!

Unfortunately, if you read up on his facts, this seems rather unlikely:

Gandhi was arrested in Bombay by British police on January 4, 1932. He was released September of the same year because he began a "fast unto death."

Being able to write an article on the Olympics he couldn't attend? Seems a little far-fetched to me.Therefore, while amusing, this one fun fact may not actually be a fact!

An Active Lifestyle

To help promote the sexual health of their athletes, the organisers of the Olympic Games have provided condoms to Olympic athletes ever since the 1992 Barcelona games. In the year 2000, Olympic competitors went through a whopping 70,000 condoms, resulting in the amount provided to athletes to be almost doubled four years later.

Approximately 150,000 free condoms were distributed to athletes living in the Olympic Village during the 2012 London games! And just so we're clear, that's a lot.

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Sole Victor

Abebe Biikila was the first black man to win a marathon in the modern Olympic Games. Abebe ran 26 miles (42km) to victory in the 1960 Rome Olympics. Even better, he ran the distance completely barefoot, because he couldn't find an official pair of Adidas shoes that would fit his feet. Naturally.

Official Shoes

At the 1964 Tokyo Games, Billy Mays was denied official race shoes from his own country, because it was believed to be unlikely that he would win the 10,000m event, and official shoes were only distributed to "potential winners."

Even better, Mays was then approached by a Japanese official, who didn't know his name!

Apparently shoes are a big deal.

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The Value of Art

Gold, silver and bronze medals were not awarded to athletes until 1904.

Therefore, in 1900, French athletes were awarded paintings in place of medals, because the French believed paintings were more valuable than gold.

Olympic Hype

Call it a coincidence if you like, but the first time an opening ceremony was held for the modern Olympic Games, those games lasted for 187 days.

In 1908, the Olympics started in April, and finished months later in October.

Worth it's Weight in Silver

What are Olympic gold medals made of? Sounds like a pretty self-explanatory question, but in these modern times, Olympic gold medals are made of exactly 92.5% silver, and plated with gold.

The last time gold medals were actually solid gold was in 1912, just 8 years after solid gold medals were first awarded.

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Finder's Keepers

The opening ceremony of the Olympic games is always led by the Greek team.

After them, the ceremony continues in alphabetical order, with the host country bringing up the rear. If you're wondering, the alphabetical order in the alphabet of the host country.

Colours of the Rainbow

Ready to be inspired with a sense of global community?

At least one of the ring's colours, (Blue, Black, Green, Red & Yellow) appear on every national flag in the world.

Also, if you count the North Americas and South Americas as a single continent, and conveniently overlook Antarctica, each ring on the Olympic flag correlates with a continent.

Unfortunate Flight

The 1988 Seoul Olympic Games was the last to honour tradition by releasing doves during the opening ceremony.

Why?

Because instead of soaring through the skies and flying into the sunset, several doves sought refuge on the edge of the Olympic cauldron and were incinerated. Talk about a bad omen.

Bad Sportsmanship

Tunisia's pentathletes in the 1960 Rome Olympics were likely a great disappointment. The five events in a modern pentathlon are pistol shooting, fencing, 200m freestyle, show jumping, and a 3km cross-country run.

  1. All three contestants fell off their horses in the show jumping event
  2. All three were removed from pistol shooting, after shooting too close to judges
  3. One athlete nearly drowned and had to pulled out of the water

As if that wasn't enough, only one of the athletes had any experience in fencing!



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