Olympic Facts

The Olympics are popular for a reason. This event features the best of everyone from around the world. However, there are not many things that may be readily known about the Olympics.

The evolving nature of the Olympics has meant tremendous change and development in this grand tradition. It was not until  April 6, 1896 when the Olympic Games came back for good.

In general, the Olympics was nearly forgotten but became a motivating event and tradition.

The Olympics was banned, 1,500 years ago, by Roman Emperor Theodosius I.

The modern Olympics as we know today came back for good in 1896. Baron Pierre de Coubertin started a revival of the Olympic Games in the late 1800s. The Olympic revival brought on the ‘modern Olympics’ that are still going strong today! Read more Olympic facts below.

The first ever Olympic games were held in ancient Greece

ancient greece olympic games

The history of the Olympics can be traced back to ancient Greece and and as well in some way to ancient Rome. The origin of the Olympic games itself are in present day Greece.

In ancient Greece, it was in Olympia, Greece that the first ever games were held for the Olympics. The ancient Olympic games were held 776 BC.

There was a time that the Olympics were not held. However, in the last 100 years, the first modern Olympics were to take place in Athens, Greece, on April 6, 1896. Ever since the modern day Olympics in Athens, the Olympics have continued.


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The Olympics took a nearly 1,500 year break before returning in 1896

The Olympics 1896

The ancient Olympics took a long break and stopped all together for a variety of reasons. Historically, it was in 393 AD when the ancient Olympic Games were cancelled.

The next Olympics games did not start or operate in any capacity for over 1,500 years. The reason for the long break was that Emperor Theodosius I, a Roman ruler, completely stopped the Olympics in any form. This Roman emperor’s ban of the Greek Olympics was made for a variety of reasons.

The original Olympics were cancelled because of the religious and spiritual element of the Olympic celebration and tradition. The Roman emperor who banned the Olympics thought the games were “wild” and called it a “pagan festival.” The Romans, in present day Italy, who viewed themselves as Christians, did not appreciate the nature and spirit of the Olympic games.


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Winners of the Ancient Olympics did not get medals but other awards

Olympics olive wreath

In the ancient Olympics, winners were not given medals but were awarded with an olive wreath instead. The concept of medals was not part of the concept of the first Olympics.

The thing that Olympians received included olive wreaths, or what was known as Kotinos. These wreaths of olives symbolized and represented sacred prizes in ancient Greece. In Greek myth, the olive reward was started by Heracles to honor Zeus.

In fact, the olive wreath meant for many Olympians a great honor. The Olive Tree had a special significance that meant the following:  Peace, Wisdom, Fertility, Prosperity, Immortality, and Success. The pride and traditions were different for the Olympics until only the last 100 years.


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Gold medals are not what they seem because these medals are mostly silver

Olympic gold medals metal construction

Many may rightfully believe that gold medals are gold and silver medals are silver and so forth. However, this is not exactly the case with Olympic medals. In fact, the truth may be surprising.

Since the 1912 Olympics, gold medals have been composed almost entirely from silver. The exact amount of gold in a gold medal is 6 grams in order to meet and qualify as gold according to the Olympic charter.

So, a gold medal is not really a gold really at the Olympics. In fact, in terms of all the medals, most of the Olympic medals were constructed from around 80,000 tons of recycled electronics.

If the Olympic gold medals were truly gold then it would be worth $32,000 USD, but instead it is not really gold at all.


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Tokyo Olympic Games featured medals

Most of the time, the medals would have some part be of gold, silver or bronze. However, this year the Tokyo Olympics changed everything. The Tokyo games began to see medals that were made of recycled materials.

The 2021 Olympics will be known for medals not made from gold, silver, and bronze. The Tokyo Olympic medals are made from extracts of recycled electronics. The extracts would include parts like trashed smartphones, digital cameras, and various handheld game consoles and computer laptops.

The Tokyo medals were constructed from 78,985 tons of recycled electronics overall.


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The Olympic Ring has a special significance that relates to the whole world

Olympic Ring

The Olympic rings are a special part of the Olympics. If you look at the Olympic flag, it is designed with a white background. Moreover, there are five interlaced rings in the very center, which have the colors of blue, yellow, black, green and red. The significance means more than many realize, especially the colors and design.

The rings are meant to symbolize the world’s 5 major regions. So, the Olympic rings represent Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. All in all, the colors shown are blue, yellow, black, green and red, and are used in every flag across the world.

In general, the Olympic committee as early as 1949 set up some guidelines. Therefore, it was deemed the following with the colors of the Olympics. The color of “blue represents Europe, yellow for Asia, black for Africa, green for Australia, and red would symbolize the  Americas”.


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Women became a full part of the Olympics only until recently

Women in the olympics

Not many may realize that women have not always been a full and complete part of the Olympics. Historically, the Olympics showcased the men and their physical feats of strength and competition. However, it was not until 1900 that women were even allowed to compete at all.

Moreover, it was not until 2012 that even all countries sent women to the Olympics. The summer Olympics of 2012 in London were special because each country there sent a woman to compete.

Overall, the participation of women in the Olympic Games has been getting bigger since the beginning of the Olympics in 1900. 2021 was a big year for the Olympics because nearly half of all the athletes this year were women. This is more than any other Olympics. Moreover, in some Olympic events,  women and men will even compete together.


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Artists used to compete and be judged for the Olympics

artists at the Olympics

It was not always sportspeople or athletes that just competed at the Olympics. In fact, times have changed and thus the contestants and parameters of the Olympics have changed.

For example, it was artists  who had also competed in the Olympics. For the years from 1912-1948, artists were able to compete in the Olympics. The events that were Olympic worthy and featured artists included activities like writing, painting, music, and more.

Up until 1954, you could compete alongside gymnasts as an artist. Therefore, you could compete and get rewarded for painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, and even music.  The inspiration of the art or music needed to be of the concept of sport though.


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In the first Olympics, people participated in events without clothing

ancinet Olympics without clothing

Historically, it has been shown that the Olympics were held mostly without much clothing or completely nude. Basically, there were little if any uniforms during competitions

Historically, there is evidence that from the early part of the 8th century BC, Olympic athletes did compete naked. So, unlike in today’s modern Olympics, the athletes did not care about clothing sponsorships or even uniforms!

The origin of the story of an unclothed Olympic history or story starts about 50 years after the first Olympic Games. The first Olympic games were, of course, Olympia in Greece. The standard of the ancient games started with these events and initial competitors. For instance,  in 776 BC. a Spartan runner, named Acanthus, appeared  without the typical loincloth clothing of the time and competed naked. Everything changed thereafter and the original games were mostly in the nude.


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There have been four times that the Olympics were cancelled

Olympics were cancelled

 The Olympic Games are usually taking place every four years, changing between the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years in a four year cycle or period of time.

The modern Olympics have been cancelled during the following years and times. Historically, the modern Olympics had been postponed or cancelled altogether in 1916, 1940 and 1944, and most recently 2020. For example, the 1944 Summer Olympics were scheduled for London, however were cancelled because of World War 2. World War 2 did not officially finish until 1945.

The first three cancellation reasons were  due to the two World Wars. World war one and World War two respectively. Then, 2020 saw the onset of the worldwide panic and health scare surrounding Covid-19. The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo were rescheduled for 2021.

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