It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
"For athletes, the Olympics are the ultimate test of their worth." - Mary Lou Retton
According to most accounts, the Olympics date back a couple millenia at least. They have been held every four years since 1896, and as such, it's hardly surprising that the prestigious meet has got a barrel full of quirky facts to plate up for an article like this.
So, here are 10--hopefully surprising--fact about the Games that you may not have known:
Fact One: According to several accounts, Mahatma Gandhi covered the Olympics as a newspaper reporter in 1932. However, during this period the Mahatma was incarcerated for his role in the Civil Disobedience Movement. So, his alleged involvement in the 1932 Games is all but a rumour.
Fact Two: Till date, not a single white athlete has managed to run the 100m in under 10 seconds. The closest anyone ever came was Marian Waronin of Poland who did it in 10 seconds flat, 40 years ago.
Fact Three: The Games haven't handed out real gold medals since 1912. Now, it's all silver plated with gold; and in 1900, in France, winners got paintings instead of medals! Gold, silver and bronze medals were never given out until 1904.
Fact Four: There was no concept of drug testing for a while and the first Olympic drug suspension only occurred in 1968. The Games were being held in Mexico City and a Swedish pentathlete, Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, was suspended for using alcohol. It seems the he had consumed several beers before the race, which was against the rules, and hence, he was suspended. Still, we think he should have at least been applauded for attempting to partake in an event too strenuous for most people to even try when sober!
Fact Five: The youngest Olympian ever was a 10-year-old Greek gymnast Dmitri Loundras, who took part in the 1896 Athens Olympics. Clearly, this was before the minimum age requirements came into play. The oldest Olympian ever was a Swedish shooter named Oscar Swahn, who took part in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics at the ripe old age of 72! Quite a mean feat in both cases.
Fact Six: The United States has won more medals than any other country (2,189 to be exact) at the Summer Games. And Norway has won the most medals at the Winter Games (263).
Fact Seven: The Olympics logo--the famous five rings--was designed to represent the five major continents. The five colours used (blue, yellow, black, green and red) cover every national flag in the world.
Fact Eight: There are three continents in the world that have never hosted the Olympics. They are Africa, South America and Antarctica.
Fact Nine: The largest collection of Olympic medals belongs to Larissa Latynina, a Soviet Union gymnast, who finished her Summer Olympic career with a whopping 18-medal tally.
Fact Ten: The Olympics once lasted for 187 days! The year was 1908 and the London Olympics, which began in April, didn't end all the way until October.
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