20 Fun Facts about the Olympics

In just over two weeks, the curtain will rise on an exciting world sporting event – the Summer Olympics, to be held in London, England. The games run from 27 July to 12 August, with the Paralympic Games running from 29 August to 9 September. Here are some fun and interesting facts about the Olympic Games.

20 Fun Facts about the Olympics

  1. This will be the third time that London has hosted the Olympics. The other two times were in 1908 and 1948. Interestingly, the 1908 London Olympics started in April and finished in October, lasting 187 days.
  2. The colors of the Olympic rings (black, blue, green, red and yellow) were chosen because at least one of those colors appears in every flag in the world.
  3. There are five rings to represent the five continents, leaving Antarctica out in the cold (sorry, couldn’t help myself :) )
  4. Gold medals are not made of gold but of gold-plated silver. The last athletes to win solid gold medal did so in 1912.
  5. The Winter Olympics were first held in 1924 in Chamonix, France.
  6. The US has won more medals in the Summer Olympics than any other participating country.
  7. The Olympics have never been held in South America or Antarctica.
  8. The Olympics were first held in Ancient Greece in Olympia in 776 BCE; the practice was revived in 1896 by Baron de Coubertin.
  9. Events held in the Ancient Olympics which are still part of the games today include running, boxing, wrestling, long jump, discus and javelin.
  10. The motto of the Olympics is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which means ‘swifter, higher, stronger’.
  11. As part of the Olympic ceremonies, an athlete swears an oath: “In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.”
  12. The tradition of the Olympic torch comes from the original Olympics in Ancient Greece.
  13. The Greek team is always the first to lead the athletes’ procession; the team of the host country is always last.
  14. The first ever marathon was run in 490 BCE from Marathon to Athens. The distance was around 25 miles. In 1908, the official marathon distance was set at 26 miles and 385 yards.
  15. The word stadium comes from the word stade, a unit of measurement that was also the length of the first Olympic race – 600 feet.
  16. Only artistic gymnastics, athletics, fencing and swimming have never been excluded from the Olympics.
  17. Baseball and softball will not be part of the 2012 Olympics.
  18. There will be 302 events in this year’s Olympics; there were only 43 in the first modern Games.
  19. The first Paralympics were held in 1960 in Rome, though its precursor, the Stoke Mandeville Games, started in 1948. A formal agreement for both sets of games to be held in the same host city was signed in 2001.
  20. The 1936 Summer Olympics were the first games to be televised; however, the first to be shown internationally were the 1956 Winter Olympics.

Find out more about the Olympics on the London 2012 official site – and don’t forget to check out our latest airport parking deal if you’re planning a trip to see the Olympics. (Image:  <<ToNy>>)

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  1. Olympic Fun Facts - US edition | Taking off Travel blog Says:

    [...] couple of weeks ago, we published some fun facts about the Olympics. But did you know that the USA has a lot to be proud of when it comes to this global event? [...]