Although the ancient Olympic Games were staged in Olympia, Greece, from 776 BC through 393 AD, it took 1,503 years for the Olympics to return. The first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896.
As the Rio Olympics of 2016 progresses, here are some really interesting facts about the Olympics from beginning to date, you might have not come across before.
1. In ancient Greece, the original Olympic competitors were men only, and they had to compete Unclad. Participants even oiled up their Unclad bodies for show.
2. The 1940 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, as well as the 1944 Summer Olympics in London were canceled because of World War 2.
3. The 1916 Summer Olympics in Berlin were canceled because of World War 1. Those were the only times the modern Olympics have been canceled.
4. The Olympics were held traditionally four years apart until 1994. We now have the Winter and Summer games held two years apart. Winter Olympics comes up in 2018.
5. The first Olympics to have an opening ceremony was in London in 1908, before then, Olympics did not have opening ceremonies.
6. The gold medals given at the Olympics are nit really made of gold. They are made of silver and plated with gold.
7. The first Olympics to be televised was the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Before then, fans could only follow the games via radio and newspapers.
8. The first globally televised Olympics was in 1960. Before then, you could only get the Olympics on TV if you were in the host country.
9. The first medal in the history of the modern Olympics, that is after the 1,503-year hiatus, was won by an American James Connolly in Athens in 1896.
10. As at 1986, the top prize was not a gold medal, but a silver medal and an olive leaf.
11. Oldest person to compete at the Olympics ever, was Oscar Swahn, a 60 year old marksman from Sweden in 1908.
12. The first African to win a gold medal at an Olympic was Abebe Bikila, an Ethiopian. He won gold for the marathon race in the 1960 Rome Olympics.
13. Abebe Bikila was also known as the ‘Barefoot Marathoner’, he ran the entire race barefoot, because he did not have shoes.
14. The youngest Olympian ever was Dimitrios Loundras. He participated in the Athens Olympics in 1896 at the young age of 10 years and 218 days old.
15. The youngest person to win a medal at the Olympics was also Dimitrios Loundras. He won a bronze medal in gymnastics.
16. London is the first city to hold a modern Olympics three times; 1908, 1944 and 2012.
17. London is the first city to host the Paralympics in 1948. It started as a way to include wounded war veterans in the Games.
18. Greece, Australia, France, Great Britain and Switzerland are the only countries to have had representatives at every Summer Olympic Games.
19. The 5 rings of the Olympic flag represent Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas, they are linked together in friendship. Every national flag of the world has at least one of the rings colors, blue, black, green, yellow, and red.
20. The Olympic flame is lit at Olympia in Greece every two years (Summer and Winter Olympics) before it journeys to the next host nation where it is paraded around until the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron at the opening ceremony.