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The Summer Olympics: 10 Cool Facts You Should Know About The Games

Team StoryWeavers|August 05, 2021, 18:18 IST|

Tokyo Olympics

There’s something magical about the Olympics, isn’t it? Even if you aren’t an ardent sports fanatic, you would still cry happy tears for your country’s athletes when they clinch a gold. And feel sad for their loss. 

As the mega event ends this week, we have prepared a cool list of funny and strange facts about the Olympics that will provide a fitting end to the rollercoaster of emotions that come with it.  The further you read, the crazier it gets! Are you ready?

Rocky start: The first-ever Olympic Games took place during the eighth century BC in Olympia, Greece. They were held every four years for 12 centuries. Then, in the fourth century AD, all pagan festivals were banned by Emperor Theodosius I and the Olympics too weren’t held anymore. However, the athletic tradition was resurrected about 1500 years later. The first modern Olympics were held in 1896 in Greece.

Silver lining: Do you know what the Olympics gold medals are made of? Gold, of course! Well, not completely. Despite popular belief, this hasn’t been the case since the 1912 Olympics. Today’s Olympic Gold Medal is made almost entirely from silver with approximately six grams of gold. The medals for this year’s edition were made from 80,000 tons of recycled electronics. The last time they were made entirely of gold was in the 1904 Olympic Games.

Girl power: Women have been allowed to compete in the Olympics since 1900. The 2012 Summer Olympics in London was the first in which all participating countries sent several female athletes. However, studies have found that the representation of women on the International Olympic Committee has missed the minimum 20 per cent mark since its inception and continues to do so until now.

Lingo love: The official languages of the Olympic Games are English and French. However, they are also joined by the official language of the host country. For this year, French and English are being accompanied by Japanese.

Jungle vibes: We have all read the Legend of Tarzan or watched its movies when we were young. Do you know that Tarzan competed in the Olympics too? Interestingly, Johnny Weissmuller, an athlete-turned-actor who played Tarzan in 12 movies, had won as many as five gold medals in swimming in the 1920s.

Real deal: Ever seen Olympians bite their medals during the awards ceremony and wondered why they are doing that? Well, the gesture dates back to ages ago, where merchants would check if a coin was indeed the precious metal they wanted and not a forged one. A coin made of lead will show teeth marks, while a gold coin would not. 

Colours of a nation: At least one of the five Olympic Rings’ colours appear in every national flag around the world. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Movement, was also the creator of the five-ringed symbol. He specifically chose different colours — blue, green, yellow, black, and red because at least one of those colours appeared on all the national flags of the world.  

Prodigy check: The youngest Olympian in the modern era is Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras, who competed in the 1896 Athens Olympics at the age of just 10 years. When she was 13, springboard diver Marjorie Gestring became the youngest female individual gold medalist in history; while 14-year-old Kusuo Kitamura (swimming) remains the youngest male individual gold medalist.

Puppy love: The first official Olympic mascot was Waldi, a dachshund, at the 1972 Games in Munich, Germany. President Willi Daume of Munich in 1972 presented a wirehaired dachshund puppy to Felix Levitan, head of the International Association of the Sports Press and had announced that this breed of dog would be the mascot.

Flame of pride: The Olympic torch, contrary to popular belief, has no historical significance or origin. It was first used at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and has since become one of the most famous sporting traditions. The Olympic Flame made its debut in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. The torch is designed to weather all odds and has also been carried underwater during the Olympics in Sydney in 2000. However, there have been instances when it went out due to human error or natural circumstances. There’s always a backup plan though. A second torch carrying the flame from Olympia is kept ready to quickly reignite the main torch whenever there’s a glitch.

Do you know any other fun facts about the Olympics? Post them in the comment section below. 

Read more: What You Did NOT Know About The Olympics

Watch this video to know more: The History Of The Olympic Games

About the Author

Writing has always been Shreesha’s passion, be it for imparting knowledge or expressing opinions. In her former role as a journalist, she contributed to enriching society with knowledge. Now, at BYJU’S, she has moved on to something more exciting – creating tailor-made content for students. When she is not writing, you would find her looking for new ways to engage her child.

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