From Ancient Greece to Modern Times: 40 Surprising Facts About the Olympics

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26Kip Kieno

Kip Kieno

In 1968 Olympics, Kip "Kieno" was late for the 1500m final, because he was stuck in traffic. He ran 2 miles to make it to the event on time, and still won the gold. He was also suffering from gallstones.


27. Wladimir Klitschko auctioned off his 1996 Olympic gold medal in March 2012 for charity. The buyer paid $1 million but immediately returned it because he wanted it to stay in the family.


28. The host nation in the Olympics automatically qualifies for all events.


29. Dave Wottle is an American runner who won gold in the 800m race of the 1972 Olympics. He went from dead last to first in the final 200 meters, wearing a golf cap.


30. 28 countries boycotted the 1976 Olympic Games because New Zealand was allowed to compete.


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311976 Olympics

1976 Olympics

The 1976 Olympics were a financial disaster for Montreal, as the city faced debts for 30 years after the Games had finished. It was only in December 2006 that the olympic stadium's costs were finally paid in full.


32. The first Olympic flag went missing for 77 years after the 1920 games until a 1920 Olympian named Hal Haig Prieste revealed he’d had it in his suitcase the whole time.


33. The 1908 Olympics was hosted in London after being relocated from Rome after Mount Vesuvius erupted. It was also the longest Olympics lasting for 6 months and 4 days.


34. The "para" in "Paralympics" officially means "parallel to" or alongside the Olympics.


35. At the Sydney Olympics in 2000, North Korean and South Korean athletes came together to march as one under the unified banner of 'Korea' during the opening ceremony.


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36Larry Lemieux

Larry Lemieux

Larry Lemieux, a Canadian sailor at the 1988 Olympics, was about to win a silver medal when he abandoned the race to save two other competitors who had capsized. He was given the Pierre de Coubertin Medal for sportsmanship.


37. Kim Gwang Suk is a North Korean gymnast who competed at the Barcelona Olympics. Her age was given as 17, but she was missing her front teeth and may have been as young as 10. Aside from an Olympic torch relay, her subsequent life and whereabouts are unknown.


38. The Olympic games used to include gold medals in categories such as architecture, city planning, sculpturing, and statistics. The founder of modern Olympics himself, Pierre de Coubertin, won the gold medal in literature at the 1912 summer Olympics.


39. Dick Fosbury won the gold medal at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, setting a new record, and reinventing high-jumping overnight.


40. The last Olympic gold medals entirely made out of gold were awarded in 1912.

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