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Every four years the whole world comes together for a show of competition and athletic prowess. The Olympics have their origins in ancient Greece, and in their modern form they’re perhaps even more interesting. Read on for the facts about these amazing games.
1. The Olympic rings were chosen to represent every flag in the world. At least one of the colors appears in every flag in the world.
2. In 1932, at the height of his civil disobedience, Gandhi covered the Olympics as a reporter.
3. In the 1900 games, the winners received paintings instead of gold medals because the French thought they were more valuable.
4. In the first modern games in Athens, winners got a silver medal and an olive branch, while second place received bronze.
5. The 1908 Olympic games in London lasted 187 days.
6. The oldest Olympian to ever compete was Oscar Swahn, a Swedish shooter, at 72. The youngest was Dimitrios Loundras, a Greek gymnast, at 10 (before age requirements). That’s a 62 year difference between oldest and youngest.
7. In 1928 during the rowing quarter final, Henry Pearce stopped his boat to let a family of ducks pass. He still won gold.
8. Today, shooters shoot clay pigeons, but in the 1900 Games they shot real birds, killing over 300.
9. Since 1992, organizers have provided free condoms to all the residents of the Olympic Village. In 2000, athletes used up all 70,000 which means that organizers had to nearly double the amount.
10. The first American gold medalist was something of an accident. Margaret Abbott was on holiday in Paris with her mother in 1900 and joined a golf tournament that she thought was simply a part of the World’s Fair. Turns out it was the Olympics and she won gold.
11. The only city to hold the Olympic Games three times is London.
12. In 1976, all the female competitors underwent a sex test. The only exception was Britain’s Princess Anne.
13. The first modern Olympic games were held in Athens in 1896. There were only 9 events.