As most of us know by now, the Olympics is a worldwide multi-sport event normally held once every four years, although Tokyo 2020 was pushed back one year due to the pandemic. The Games were first held in 1896 in Athens, Greece and hopefully, they will go on until the end of time.
Many athletes gather every four years to compete against each other. So, as you may imagine, hundreds of crazy things happen during this time. From the days of ancient Greek to the modern Olympics, there are many facts and traditions you might not know.
So, with the 2020 Summer Olympics coming soon, we want to amaze you with the 10 funniest facts about the Olympics. So let’s get into the Olympic spirit and let the surprise come with it for we’re about to blow your mind.
10. Gold Medals Are Mostly Made Of Silver
What an irony, huh? Despite the popular belief that as its name states gold medal must be composed out of pure gold, the truth is that it hasn’t been that way since the 1912 Olympics. So there you have it, gold medals are a kind of imposter made almost entirely from silver with approximately 6 grams of gold to meet the standard laid out in the Olympic Charter.
9. Naked Athletes
We all know today nudity is considered outrageous, but in ancient Greece, nudity was actually one of the major Olympic traditions. Back then nudity was considered a sign of fearlessness, courage, and power and was also considered a tribute to the gods. As a matter of fact, participants would even lather themselves in olive oil to best show off their physique. Did you know The word ‘gymnasium’ comes from the Greek word “gymnós” which means naked?
8. The Tradition Of Biting Olympic Medals
You’ve probably seen Olympians medal-winners biting their medals during the awards ceremony. Have you ever wondered why they do it? Well, it comes from when the merchants checked the coins to see if they were indeed made out of gold. A lead coin would leave teeth marks, while a gold coin would not. And although gold medals aren’t made out of gold, as we’ve seen before, Olympians still do it as a tradition.
7. At Least One Of The Olympic Rings’ Colors Appears In Every National Flag
The five-ringed symbol of the Olympic Games is blue, green, yellow, black, and red. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Movement, conceived these colors so there would be at least one of those in all national flags of the world. And if you ever wondered, the five Olympic rings are symbolic of the five continents.
6. Only One Person Has Ever Won Gold Medals During The Summer And Winter Olympics
Edward Patrick Francis Eagan was an American boxer and bobsledder born on April 26, 1897. He is the only person in the world to have this distinction of winning gold medals during the Summer and Winter Olympics. In 1920, Eagan took home gold in boxing. He later earned a gold medal at the 1932 Lake Placid Games in the team bobsled event.
5. The First Paralympics
The first Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960, in order to allow war veterans a chance to compete and rehabilitate. Before these games were designed, there were instances where physically disabled athletes competed in the Olympics against each other. Today, the Paralympics offers a chance for people with disabilities to compete. In 2014 Ibrahim Hamato made history as he became a world champion in table tennis despite having no arms and playing with the racquet in his mouth.
4. The Youngest Olympian Was 10 Years Old
Dimitrios Loundras is a Greek gymnast who competed in the 1896 Athens Olympics when he was only 10 years old. Next to him, it’s springboard diver Marjorie Gestring, the youngest female individual gold medalist in history. She was 13 years old. While Kusuo Kitamura is the youngest male individual gold medalist. He won a gold medal in swimming when he was 14 years old.
3. The Olympic Torch Relay Is Not Really An Ancient Tradition
Everybody believes the Olympic Torch Relay dates back from the Olympic Games origin in ancient Greece, but as it turns out, it started in the controversial 1936 Olympics in Berlin. And you won’t believe why was it used for: as a propaganda tool for the Nazi Party to showcase the supposed superiority of the Aryan race.
2. The Olympic Flame Is always Lit
The torch has traveled all around the world, it has been even in space, it has been winding whitewater, and it is virtually weatherproof. It can withstand extreme temperatures and roaring winds of up to 50 mph and somehow has not yet gone out during its lengthy relays around the world.
1. A Marathon Without Shoes
Abebe Bikila was an Ethiopian marathon runner born on August 7, 1932. He won the Olympic marathon at the Rome Olympic Games in 1960. But what’s most amazing is that he ran barefoot the 26-mile run. Bikila became the first African in history to win a gold medal.