As we count down for the Olympics Opening Ceremony tonight, check out these interesting facts about Olympics in history. Do you know any other? Share with us!
1. The Barefoot Marathoner
Running a marathon is hard work. Shoe companies market like crazy to all types of runners, but their advertisements would have been wasted on Abebe Bikila. Abebe, who hailed from Ethiopia, won the gold medal for the marathon in the 1960 Rome Olympics. He was the first African to win a gold, and he did so barefoot. That just goes to show you expensive footwear doesn’t always make the difference.
2. The First Olympics Ever Broadcast on Television
The 1936 Berlin Olympics were the first Olympic Games to ever be televised. Before the advent of television, sports fans had to make due with radio commentary, and before radios were ubiquitous, you could only read about the results of the events in the newspaper.
These days, giant screens and HD televisions let fans live vicariously through their favorite athletes. Every glistening pore and bead of sweat can now be captured on camera. Back in 1936, you could only get a fuzzy black-and-white image, but that beat radio hands down if you happened to own a television and live in Germany (there was no global television then). Worldwide Olympic television broadcasts only became possible in the 1960s.
3. London Hosted the First Opening Ceremonies
The opening ceremonies of the Olympics are a pretty big deal nowadays. The city, and the nation chosen for the event invest a lot of money and resources into creating a big fanfare and a huge spectacle. Well, the first few Olympics of the modern era didn’t even have an opening ceremony. That only came into style with the 1908 games, held in London. Cities have been trying to outdo one another with elaborate ceremonies ever since. How do you think the ceremony of Rio 2016 will be like?
4. Gold Medals Aren’t Pure Gold
Names can be deceptive. Even though the top athlete in his or her field wins the ‘gold,’ the medals aren’t really made out of solid gold. In fact, they haven’t been pure gold for around 100 years. The gold medals awarded now are actually silver, with gold plating. That probably doesn’t matter to the athletes who have dedicated their lives to winning one, as long as they aren’t planning on melting the medal down and pawning it off.
5. The Ancient Greeks Competed in the Nude
In ancient Greece, athletes didn’t have to worry about endorsements on their jerseys or shorts, because they weren’t wearing any. That’s right, competitors back in the day had to strut around in the buff, and only men were allowed to compete. Competitors often oiled themselves up for looks, and as a tribute to the Gods. (The word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnos,” which means “naked.”) Those unabashed Greeks even worked out in the nude. Image the anxiety and preening that would cause in a modern gym. At least you’d save some money on your workout clothes. But where would you clip your iPod?
Adapted from: http://thefw.com