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Olympic Facts

Interesting facts about the Olympic games.
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  • The early Olympic Games were celebrated as a religious festival from 776 B.C. until 393 A.D., when the games were banned for being a pagan festival (the Olympics celebrated the Greek god Zeus). In 1894, a Frencheducator Baron Pierre de Coubertin, proposed a revival of the ancient tradition, and thus the modern-day Olympic Summer Games were born.
  • Host Greece won the most medals (47) at the first Olympic Summer Games in 1896.
  • The first Winter Olympic Games were held in Chamonix, France in 1924.
  • Norway has won the most medals (239) at the Winter Games.
  • The United States has won more medals (2,019) at the Summer Games than any other country.
  • The five Olympic rings represent the five major regions of the world – Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceana, and every national flag in the world includes one of the five colors, which are (fromleft to right) blue, yellow, black, green, and red.
  • Up until 1992 the Olympics were held every four years. Since then, the Winter and Summer games have alternated every two years.
  • The first Olympics covered by U.S. television was the 1960 Summer Games in Rome by CBS.
  • No country in the Southern Hemisphere has ever hosted a Winter Games.
  • Three continents – Africa, South America, and Antarctica – have never hosted an Olympics.
  • A record 197 countries participated in the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta.
  • Only three athletes have ever won medals at both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games: Eddie Eagan (United States), Jacob Tullin Thams (Norway), and Christa Luding-Rothenburger (East Germany).
  • Speed skater Bonnie Blair has won six medals at the Olympic Winter Games. That's more than any other American athlete.
  • Nobody has won more medals at the Winter Games than cross-country skier Bjorn Dahlie of Norway, who has 12.
  • Larrisa Latynina, a gymnast from the former Soviet Union, finished her Summer Olympic Games career with 18 total medals – the most in history.
  • The United States Olympic Committee established the U.S. Olympic Hall of Famein 1983 to recognize outstanding American Olympic athletes, however, a plan to build a hall has been suspended due to lack of funding.
  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) came under fire in 1999 when many members accepted cash, jewelry and other bribes by the organization that is bringing the games to Salt Lake City, Utah in the winter of 2002.
  • The Summer Olympic sports are archery, badminton, baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, gymnastics, judo, mountain biking, rowing, sailing, shooting, soccer, softball, swimming, synchronizedswimming, table tennis, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling. Two sports will make their debut at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. The new sports will be taekwondo and triathlon (swimming, biking, running).
  • Mountain biking made its Olympic debut in 1996.
  • The Winter Olympic sports are biathlon (cross-country skiing and target shooting) bobsled, cross-country skiing, curling, downhill skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, luge, snowboarding and speed skating. Snowboarding made its Olympic debut at the 1998Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.

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