50 Interesting Facts about Olympics

1Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall

The first athlete to be disqualified at the Olympics for drug use was a Swedish pentathlete named Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall who drank two beers before his shooting event to calm his nerves.

2. Margaret Abbott was a woman who competed in and won a golf tournament in Paris. After her death, it was discovered that this tournament was part of the poorly-organized 1900 Olympics. She never knew she was an Olympian.

3. Ross Rebagliati, the first man to win Gold in Snowboarding in the Olympics only to be DQ'd for marijuana, now owns a medical marijuana business called Ross' Gold.

4. The USA won the last ever Olympic gold medal for rugby in 1924 and are therefore technically still reigning champions.

5. A Japanese gymnast, Shun Fujimoto, once broke his knee at the Olympics in 1976 but didn't tell anyone and performed miraculously despite his injury, winning his team the gold medal.

6Black power salute

The white Australian silver-medalist, who stood with the two African-American sprinters giving the "black power" salute in the 1968 Olympics, was wearing a Civil Rights button to stand in solidarity with them and did so for the rest of his life despite being ostracized in his own country.

7. Because Brazil couldn't afford to send its athletes to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. They loaded their ship with coffee and sold it along the way.

8. In 1968, Olympic long jumper Bob Beamon's first attempt exceeded the limit of the official measuring equipment. It took over 15 minutes before a distance was posted, and only then did he realize he had broken the world record by nearly 2 feet (0.6m).

9. Luxembourg's gold medal at the 1952 Olympics was so unexpected that the organizers had neglected to give the band a score for their national anthem. The musicians "hurriedly improvised a tune which bore little resemblance to the Luxembourg anthem".

10. Young Greek hoplites (citizen soldiers) had to dress in heavy armor and run a foot race of 1,300 ft in the Olympics. This was done to develop the battlefield tactic of rushing to the Persian lines in rapid pace so as to counter their archers.

11MMA

MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) was included in the ancient Olympics. It is called Pankration and is the only event that wasn't reinstated with the creation of the modern Olympics.

12. Czechoslovak runner Emil Zátopek decided to compete in the marathon in the 1952 Olympics, despite never having run that distance in his life. Zátopek asked fellow runner Jim Peters, who he was racing alongside if the pace was fast enough. When Peters said "no", Zátopek sped up and won the race

13. During 1936 Berlin Olympic games, the Nazis ridiculed the US for relying on "non-human black auxiliaries." American black athlete Jesse Owens went on to win 4 gold medals and beat a German at Long Jump in front of Hitler. Four years after Owens' death, a street in Berlin was renamed after him.

14. The night before the Olympic final, Michael Jordan apparently spent the night drinking and gambling all night, then he went on a long day of press appearances, plus 18 holes of golf in Barcelona, before he went on to lead Team USA in a gold-medal winning victory over Croatia.

15. Betty Robinson, an Olympic runner, was involved in a plane crash in 1931 and was wrongly pronounced dead upon first being discovered. She spent 7 months in a coma and it took her 2 years to learn to walk normally again. In 1936, she returned to the US Olympic team and won gold in the relay.

16Olympics

The state of Kuwait is banned from the Olympics due to government legislation that permits the state to interfere in elections of sporting organizations. As a result, Kuwaiti athletes compete as independent athletes under the Olympic Flag instead of their own flag.

17. Jesse Owens, winner of four golds in the '36 Olympics said, "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram."

18. After a ticker-tape parade to celebrate his Olympic medals, Jesse Owens was not permitted to enter through the main doors of the Waldorf Astoria and instead was forced to travel up to the event in a freight elevator to reach the reception honoring him.

19. A gymnast at the Rio Olympics named Marisa Dick created a new move for the balance beam and was the first to use it in competition. A “change-leg leap to free-cross split sit” is now known as The Dick Move.

20. An Olympian named Laura Trott was born with a collapsed lung, diagnosed with asthma, stands little over 5ft, weights 115lbs and is now a double Olympic gold medalist in track cycling.

21Mack Robinson

Mack Robinson, brother of Jackie Robinson, medaled in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Upon returning home to California, the only work he could find as an African-American was sweeping streets, which he did while wearing his Olympic 'USA' sweatshirt.

22. The winner of the marathon at the first modern Olympics (1896), Spyridon Louis, stopped for a glass of wine at a local inn along the route.

23. The 2020 Olympics will take place in Tokyo, as predicted in the manga Akira in 1982.

24. The USA has never won Olympic medals in just 3 sports: handball, badminton, and table tennis.

25. After Kirani James won Grenada's first-ever Olympic gold medal in 2012, the country was so proud that the government held a giant 3-hour celebratory rally attended by thousands, gave him US$186,000, printed new stamps, named a new stadium after him, and built a museum/gym in his hometown.

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