8 fun Olympics facts and information that are simply astounding,
Every four years we are graced with one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the Olympic games. For two weeks our scheduled television programming is interrupted by sports, that we in general pay next to no attention to most of the time, but grow passionate towards during the two weeks of competition.
The Olympics pit athletes from around the world against each other in different sports, testing their skill and endurance against the best in their chosen field. But while we enjoy the fleeting event while it temporarily graces our television screens, there’s a lot to the Olympics that many people don’t know. So with no further ado, here are 8 Olympics facts and information.
1 An Olympic Basketball Final Was Played In Mud
Professional basketball today is generally played indoor, under cover and away from the elements. But for the average player put there, it is played outdoors, most often on some sort of paved surface. But it hasn’t always been that way. Even during the Olympics the game was played outdoors on a dirt field. So you could imagine what happened when it rained and there was a schedule to keep to.
The final of the 1936 Berlin Olympics basketball match was a near wash out. It was played on an outdoor clay tennis court, and before the 2nd half a deluge turned the court into a mud pit. The US team spent most of the time just passing the slippery ball around. The US won 19 – 8 Canada, which was without a doubt one of the lowest scoring Olympic matches in history.
2 The Tradition Of The US Not Dipping Their Flag To World Leaders Started Because Of A Snub
The tradition of the US team refusing to dip the flag to world leaders during opening ceremonies began with the 1908 London Games. The US flag wasn’t flying in the arena, so the flag bearer refused to dip the flag to King Edward VII. To me this seemed like a fair enough compromise.
Although they did dip the flag at following Olympics, it hasn’t occurred since 1932. They did not even dip the flag to US President Ronald Regan in 1984.
3 Art Was An Olympic Event For 36 Years
Well, some sports can be as boring as watching paint dry, which is pretty much what this event was. Art was an actual event at the Olympics for 36 years. We aren’t kidding either. In an effort to bring a new level of boring to world sporting events, art participated as an event.
Beginning in the 1912 Stockholm Games art was an Olympic event. The pieces of work were required to be originals and based on a sports theme. It continued for 36 years until it was deemed a profession following the 1948 games.
I’d rather watch lawn bowls than art, thank you very much.
4 The First US Female Olympic Champion Didn’t Know She Was Competing In The Olympics
If you are competing in an Olympic event you are pretty darn sure you are there as an athlete for the games. But this wasn’t exactly the case for the first US female Olympic champion. She had no idea that the tournament she was a participant in was part of the Olympics.
The first US female Olympic champion had no idea she was competing in an Olympic event. In the 1900 games Margaret Abbott saw an ad for a golf tournament. She decided to enter and ended up winning. But there was no gold medal for her. Her prize was a porcelain bowl.
5 The Olympics Used To Last Months
The early Olympic games used to last for months. The London games of 1908 lasted a staggering 188 days, or a full six months! The Paris games in 1900 lasted five months and the 1904 St. Louis Games and the 1920 Antwerp Games also lasted nearly as long as the Paris games.
It must be said though that the early events weren’t exactly as well an organized event as they are today. It wasn’t really until the 1936 games that they really became an organized world platform.
Thank Christ this doesn’t happen today. I don’t think I could handle that much sport or so many reruns.
6 Gold Medalists Used To Get Silver Medals
The tradition of awarding gold, silver and bronze to Olympic champions began in 1904. Before than, the winner of the event only got a silver medals. But it didn’t last long.
No solid gold medals have been awarded since 1912. Today’s winners receive medals that are 93 percent silver and 6 percent copper, with just 6 grams of gold.
7 An Amputee Has Won Medals At The Olympics
The world was abuzz when Oscar Pistorius, the amputee known as the blade runner competed at the summer Olympics in London in 2012. But he wasn’t the first amputee to compete against able bodied athletes. In fact, in 1904 George Eyser, who lost his left leg as a child won 6 medals in gymnastics, and 3 of them were gold.
That is a spectacular sporting feat that may never be emulated again.
8 The 1956 Olympics Were Held In Two Countries
In the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the equestrian events were held in Stockholm, Sweden, nearly five months before the rest of the games were held. This happened because of Australia’s strict quarantine rules.
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