In the last couple of years, Greece may have become infamous due to its ‘bankrupt’ tag, but for all the sports fans across the world, the only identity that the gorgeous nation needs to care about is as the birthplace of the greatest sporting event in history– the Quidditch World Cup… errrr, wait… I meant the Olympics.
With this years Summer Olympics already underway, every citizen is pumped up with patriotism. Officially called as the ‘Games of the XXXI Olympiad’, the 17-day event will see India being represented by a 124- member contingent. This year’s Olympics truly promises to be all about the sports and world unity, with the International Olympics Committee allowing refugees of the European crisis to participate under the Olympic flag.
But wait, you know all this and more, thanks to social media and 24×7 news, so why not discuss some lesser known facts about the largest sporting event of our times? See if you knew these facts about the Olympics…
The Olympics wasn’t always about ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’. The Ancient Olympics was initially undertaken as a religious festival in the honour of Zeus, a Greek God, from 776 B.C. until 393 A.D. The Modern Olympics, the one we identify with today, was initiated by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a French educator, in 1894. In a day & age when religion only seems to divide, isn’t it good to know that what unites nations of the world had its seed in religion too?
The gold medal hasn’t been all that “gold” for about a 100 years now! Actually, the gold medal is a silver medal with gold plating. Thankfully, the Olympians don’t play the sport for the gold but glory.
Know those five rings that make up the Olympic symbol? Well, it’s not just a lazy attempt at a simplistic design. The five rings represent the five participating regions– Americas, Europe, Africa, Oceana, and Asia.
That’s not all; the five colours of the rings– red, blue, yellow, black, and green- are a part of the flags of each nation.
The very first Modern Olympics saw, Dimitrios Loundras, a Greek gymnast, win a bronze medal in his field. Nothing special, right? Except that he was just 10 years and 218 days old. Better yet, he still holds the record for being the youngest Olympic medallist & competitor.
Do you know that the 13-year old Gaurika Singh from Nepal is the youngest athlete at Rio Olympics?
If we have the youngest, why not the oldest? Oscar Swahn, a Swedish shooter, became the oldest Olympian to win gold at the age of 64 years.
If you have ever played Duck Hunt, you would like how things were done during the 1900 Olympic Games. That edition of the Games used real pigeons for the shooting events, instead of clay ones that we continue to use today.
We finally know why Uruguay doesn’t like winning gold at the Olympics; the winning nation’s National Anthem is played for a maximum duration of 60 seconds which means that Uruguay’s 6 ½ minute one will be played incomplete. So you see, Uruguay is just protecting its honour.
7. Swim away in the open sea!
Competing with the likes of fishes and other sea creatures, the competitors of swimming events at the Athens Olympics swam in the open sea. That’s right- real conditions, real guts.
The marathons that are such a testament to one’s endurance was invented for the 1896 Olympics. Since then, it has been a real mark of grit, determination, and resilience displayed by a marathoner.
9. Drugs rears its ugly head
Russia may have become the worst drug offenders in the Olympic history, but the first drug suspension occurred in the 1968 edition when Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall of Sweden was suspended for using… wait for it… Alcohol!
Abebe Bikila, an Ethiopian runner, won the gold running barefoot… and here we have the Nikes and Pumas of the world championing the importance of footwear to win a race. Meh!
Stay tuned to our very own Doordarshan or get your hands on the fastest streaming internet plan to catch all the live action and see our Indian athletes make their mark on the global stage.