With the Rio Games just around the corner, we look back at some of the funniest, surprising and just plain interesting facts from 120 years of the Summer Olympics.
Every single flag in the world has at least one of the colours on the Olympic flag (black, blue, green, red, yellow), which is to say there’s not a country that has an all-white flag.
Because having highfalutin aspirations is the Olympic way, there was a four-decade stretch in which gold medals were given for artistic endeavours such as literature, painting, sculpture and music. These should in no way be construed as an Olympic event, however. It was more like an exhibition at the host city. Heck, even divers sniffed their noses at these so-called events. Oh, and the first literature medal went to Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics. That’s some Soviet figure-skating judge shenanigans.
When Nadia Comaneci scored the first perfect 10 in history, the scoreboard in Montreal was unable to display it, making it appear as if she had scored a 1.
It wouldn’t have mattered for winners of medals at the 1900 Olympics in Paris. (Although many medals were made of real gold back then.) They were awarded cups and trophies as rewards, which gives me real hope that people were walking around turn-of-the-century Paris wearing cups and trophies around their necks, like precursors to Flavor Flav.
Olympic gold medals aren’t made of real gold. They merely have a gold wrapper, like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. If they were pure gold, the 14-ounce medals would have a value close to $25,000.
The longest race in Olympic history was a 199-mile road cycling race that was won in 10 hours, 42 minutes, 39 seconds by South African Okey Lewis in Stockholm in 1912. That’s a little more than 4,000 times the time it took Usain Bolt (pictured) to win gold in the 100 metres at the 2012 Games.
Two horses have tested positive for PEDs at the Olympics, which is why you might be confused if you ever see Waterford Crystal on a list of Olympic drug cheats.
After Athens in 1896, and up until the 1932 Olympics, the shortest Summer Games lasted 79 days. There will be 16 days of competition in Rio.