One of the world’s biggest sporting events, the 2016 Summer Olympics got underway on August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Here are some interesting facts about the OLYMPICS.
1. Shakespeare was the first person to use the word “Olympian”. In Henry VI (1591), he writes: “Promise them such rewards / As victors wear at the Olympian games.”
2. The “Olympic Truce” required the suspension of wars & disputes with the Hellenic world during the Games period.
3. The International Olympic Committee was founded in 1894 by French aristocrat Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
4. The Ancient Greeks competed in the Olympics nude, and only men were allowed to compete.
5. Coubertin proposed Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) as the official Olympic motto. He also created the Olympic Rings symbol which represents 5 regions – Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania.
6. All national flags in the world consist of one of the five Olympic ring colours — Blue, Yellow, Black, Green & Red.
7. The first International Olympic Committee Games took place in Athens in 1896 and had only nine events.
8. The 1900 Paris Olympics were the first to allow women to take part. In these Olympics, winners were awarded paintings and works of art instead of medals as the French believed that it was far more valuable.
9. Electrical timing devices were used for the first time at the 1920 Games in Stockholm.
10. The official Olympic flag was flown for the first time during the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.
11. The first flame to appear in modern Olympics was at the 1928 Games in Amsterdam.
12. The first Torch Relay started in Athens and went through Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria and Czechoslovakia before finishing in Berlin (1936 Games).
13. The Berlin Olympics of 1936 were the first ever to be broadcast on television.
14. No Olympic Village was built in 1948 due to a lack of money; instead, the government accommodated the 4,100 or so athletes and over 1,000 officials at RAF stations, schools, colleges and nurses’ homes.
15. Before 1994, the Olympics were held every 4 years. Now, the Winter and Summer games are alternately held every 2 years.
16. London is the only city to have hosted 3 Olympic Games — 1908, 1948 & 2012.
17. Beijing is the only city that held both Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
18. The Olympic Anthem, which is played when the Olympic Flag is raised during the opening ceremony, was composed by Spyridon Samar. Its lyrics are taken from a poem written by Greek poet Kostis Palamas.
19. Equestrianism is the only Olympic sport in which men and women compete against each other on equal terms.
20. During the closing ceremony, 3 flags are raised; the Greek flag to honour the Games’ birthplace, that of the current host country, and that of the next host country.
21. Rio 2016 are the first in Olympics history being hosted by a South American country.
22. Rio de Janeiro won its bid in 2009, beating out Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo.
23. Around 85,000 soldiers and policemen have been deployed — the largest security force assembled at any event in Brazil’s history.
24. Russia’s track-and-field athletes were banned the Rio 2016 Olympics.
25. This year, Kosovo and South Sudan are participating for the first time in Summer Olympics.