13 Facts About the Olympics You Didn’t Know


The Olympics first began over 3,000 years ago in ancient Greece. Today, they have become the biggest competitive sports competition in the world. Every four years, countries around the world join together to celebrate some of the most incredible athletes in the world at the Olympics. Popular events like swimming, gymnastics, and track draw in millions of viewers who are cheering on their countries’ Olympians. The following Olympics facts are not known by all fans of the games, but will make any viewer appreciate them more. Read on for some interesting facts about the Olympics that you may not have known!

13 Iconic Olympics Facts

    1. The last time a gold medal was made out of pure gold was 1912. (source) A gold medal is an iconic part of a first-place win at the Olympics. However, the rising cost of gold has made them impractical today. The last actual gold medal awarded was at the 1912 Summer Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden.
    1. The 1908 Summer Olympics lasted 188 days. (source) Today’s Olympic Games generally take place over the course of about two weeks, but the 1908 Summer Olympics in London lasted more than six months!
    1. The Summer Olympics were only cancelled three times and postponed once. (source) The 1916 Summer Olympics (set to be hosted in Berlin) were cancelled due to the onset of World War I. The Summer Olympic Games of 1940 (Tokyo) and 1944 (London) were also cancelled because of World War II. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo were postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    1. The most-watched event in the Summer Olympics is gymnastics. (source) Gymnastics is the most popular event in the Summer Olympics. When the Magnificent Seven women’s gymnastics team won their first-ever gold for the United States, the competition was watched by a record-breaking 38.7 million viewers.
    1. The first American woman to become an Olympic champion didn’t know she was competing in the Olympics. (source) Margaret Abbot saw an advertisement for a golf tournament in the paper and entered. She won the tournament but was unaware that it was an event in the poorly run 1900 Paris Summer Olympics.
    1. There were six new events in the 2021 Summer Olympics. (source) After being scrapped in 2008, both baseball and softball made a comeback in the Summer Olympics. Skateboarding, surfing, karate, and sport climbing all made their Olympic debut in 2021.
    1. The Olympics were originally created to honor Zeus. (source) The Greeks most famous God. Athletes prayed to him for success and left him gifts when they won.
    1. Early athletes were only men and they competed completely in the nude. (source) All events in track and field, wrestling, boxing and horse racing were all done in the nude.
    1. Since the start of the games, 23 different cities around the world have hosted the Summer Olympics and 20 cities have hosted the Winter Olympics. (source)  There have been 5 Olympics that were canceled because of war.
    1. The US is the country with the highest medal count for the Summer Olympics while Norway has the highest medal count for the Winter Olympics. (source) The US has collected 2,655 medals. 1069 Gold, 842 Silver and 744 bronze.
    1. Women were not allowed to compete in the Olympic games until 1900. (source) However they were only allowed in tennis, golf and figure skating. Track and field events were off limits until 1920 when women took it into their own hands and started their own competition.
    1. In 776 BC, there was only one event, a 192-meter race. (source) The earliest records show that a man named Coroebus won this event.
    1. There was once a hand-to-hand combat event in the Olympics called Pankration. (source) There was no weight class or time limits. Men fought, surrounded by screaming fans, until one surrendered, passed out, or died.

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