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What you did NOT know about the Olympics

Team StoryWeavers|September 2, 2020|

While the world is eagerly gearing up for the official 2020 Summer Olympics (popular as Tokyo 2020) that has unfortunately been rescheduled for 23 July to 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan, let’s look at the lesser-known Olympics that you ought to know about. 

 

  • Following the success of the Summer Olympic Games, the first Winter Olympic Games were held in 1924, in Chamonix, France.
  • The original five Winter Olympic sports were bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, Nordic skiing, and skating.
  • Initially, the Winter Games were held in the same year as the Summer Olympics until 1992. Post that, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to place the Summer and Winter Games on separate four-year cycles in alternating even-numbered years. Hence, the next Winter games took place in 1994.
  • So far, the Winter Olympic Games have been hosted on three continents by twelve countries. 
  • No country in the Southern Hemisphere has ever hosted a Winter Olympics.
  • America’s Eddie Eagan is the only person in history to have won a gold medal at both the Winter and Summer Olympics (Light-heavyweight boxing gold at Antwerp in the 1920 Summer Olympics and gold in the four-man bobsled team at the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid in 1932).
  • The next Winter Olympics is scheduled to take place from 4 to 20 February 2022, in Beijing, China.

 

  • Paralympic Games or Paralympics (Greek word para meaning ‘beside’ or ‘alongside’) are a specially conducted series of international sports events for athletes with a wide range of disabilities. The prefix ‘para’ denotes that the Paralympics occur “parallel to the Olympics” and denotes the  “spirit of the two movements existing side-by-side.”
  • Before the Paralympics began, athletes with physical disabilities competed in the Summer Olympics. American track and field athlete Ray Ewry won eight gold medals in the 1900, 1904, and 1908 Olympics in spite of  having polio.
  • The Paralympic Movement began in 1948 after Sir Ludwig Guttmann organised sports as a method of rehabilitation for World War II veterans. He organised the first competitions in wheelchair sport and the first event in archery at Stoke Mandeville, England, on the same day as the opening of the Summer Olympics in London. 
  • In 1960, Olympic-style games for athletes with a disability were organised for the first time in Rome.
  • The Paralympics has grown from 400 athletes with disabilities from 23 countries in 1960 to thousands of competitors spanning over 100 countries in its 2012 edition.The Paralympic games happen alongside the Summer and Winter Olympics with twenty-two sports on the Summer Paralympic roster and five sports for the Winter Paralympics. 
  • Paralympic sports include Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boccia, Canoe Sprint, Cycling (both road and track)and Table Tennis among other sports. 
  • Four of the 22 Summer Paralympic sports have wheelchair-friendly versions. These include Basketball, Fencing, Rugby and Tennis.

 

  • The Deaflympic Games are a series of sports conducted for deaf athletes to compete at an elite level.
  • The games were originally called World Games for the Deaf, and International Games for the Deaf until 1965.
  • The first Deaflympics were held in Paris in 1924 and have been held every four years since, apart from a break during World War II. 
  • The athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55-decibel loss (in their ear with the most hearing) to be qualified for these sports.
  • To place all athletes on the same level, hearing aids, cochlear implants, and the like are strictly prohibited.
  • As athletes (called Deaflympians) cannot be guided by sounds, certain sports use alternative methods of commencing the game. For instance, in football, referees wave a flag instead of blowing a whistle, and lights replace a starter pistol in a race.
  • Spectators are encouraged not to cheer or clap, but rather use ‘Deaf applause’ by waving both their hands.

 

  • It is the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.
  • The organisation provides year-round training and activities to 5 million participants for different sports.
  • The competitions in Special Olympics take place every day, throughout the year and include local, regional and national competitions, adding up to more than 100,000 events a year.
  • In June of 1962, Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a summer camp called Camp Shriver for children with intellectual disabilities at her home in Potomac, Maryland to explore their capabilities in sports and physical activities.
  • The first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on 20 July 1968. Around 1,000 athletes from the U.S. and Canada took part to compete in track and field, and swimming events.
  • In 1971, The U.S Olympic Committee gave the Special Olympics official approval to use the name ‘Olympics.’
  • Special Olympics offers over 30 Olympic-type individual and team sports that provide meaningful training and competition opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities.

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About the Author


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Tanaya Goswami

Books are Tanaya Goswami’s first love and cheesecakes come a close second. Talking about movies, music, calligraphy, politics, and Elon Musk will get you listed under the friends’ section of her diary. Ever since moving on from her job as an English lecturer, she spends her time at BYJU’S crafting stories filled with emotion and sprinkled with sarcasm. Outside of work, she’s either learning something new (French, most recently!) or is curled up with a book and a cup of coffee. She firmly believes that discovering what you don’t know is the key to knowledge and is constantly working towards improving herself. Drop in a line at storyweavers@byjus.com if you liked her stories, have something nice to say, or if you have compelling ideas to share!

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