How appropriate then that in the run-up to last weekend’s Test they should offload the same real estate for €27m. In truth, we had forgotten all about it. It would
What are some little-known facts about the Olympics?
One hundred and eleven lesser known facts about the Olympics:
1) When Canadian Tom Longboat collapsed in the heat after 20 miles of the 1908 London Games marathon, South African prison officer Charles Hefferon took the lead and was coasting to victory until, with one-and-a-half miles remaining, he accepted a victory glass of champagne and a pat on the back from a well-wisher. The bubbly caused him to vomit, and Hefferon was overtaken by Italian baker Dorando Pietri, who entered White City Stadium in such a state of disorientation he began running the wrong way and had to be turned around by officials. Needing to run 385 yards for triumph, he collapsed five times in the last 200 yards and was carried over the line on a stretcher. Pietri was disqualified.
Marathon men: Alfred Shrubb of Great Britain, Tom Longboat of Canada, John Hayes of the USA, winner of the 1908 London Olympic Marathon, and Dorando Pietri
2) The 1500m victory of Luxembourg’s Josy Barthel at the 1952 Games was so unexpected officials had not brought along the score to the tiny state’s national anthem. With Barthel waiting on the podium, the band were forced to improvise and did well enough – or, indeed, badly enough – for the runner to bury his head in his hands and begin to weep.
3) The 400m final at the 1908 London games was ordered to be re-run because American John Carpenter blocked Wyndham Halswelle – a move legal in the States but outlawed in Britain. Carpenter was disqualified and the other two finalists, both Americans, refused to re-race, so Halswelle jogged alone round the track and took gold.
4) Australia’s Henry Pearce stopped rowing in his 1928 Amsterdam games quarter-final to allow a family of ducks to pass safely in front of his boat. He still won the heat and took gold in the final.
5) American Fred Lorz’s marathon victory in the 1904 St Louis games was overturned when it was revealed he had hitched a lift in a car for most of the distance before racing to the finish from four miles out.
6) Modern games founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin introduced an arts competition at the 1912 Stockholm Games. The gold meal winner for literature was… Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
Founder: Pierre de Coubertin won a gold medal for literature
7) Hungarian pistol shooter Karoly Takacs was denied a place at the 1936 Olympics because he was only an Army sergeant and not an officer. The ban was lifted but Takacs then had his shooting hand – his right – badly maimed when a grenade exploded in it during military training. Undaunted, he learned to shoot left-handed and won Olympic golds in 1948 and 1952.
8) The 2012 Aquatic Centre, built for £269m, has been designed in the shape of a stingray – the fish branded “rank and disagreeable” in Francis Day’s 1884 opus The Fishes of Great Britain and Ireland.
Stingray: The fish’s body and wings inspired the Aquatics Centre architects
9) Contrary to the version of events portrayed in the film Chariots Of Fire, devout British sprinter Eric Liddell did not arrive at the 1924 Paris games to find out he would be asked to run on a Sunday. Liddell already knew and had withdrawn from the tournament before he travelled. He also did not take the place of a friend in the 400m, which he won with an Olympic record time.
10) Johnny Weismuller, who won a combined five swimming golds at the 1924 and 1928 games, never lost a race. He later starred in 12 movies as Tarzan and used his famous ululating cry to win over Cuban rebels who attempted to kidnap him during a round of golf on the island in 1958.
Swim king: USA’s Johnny Weissmuller
11) Hawaiian swimmer Duke Paoa Kahanamoku – nicknamed The Human Fish – went on to appear in 28 Hollywood movies, including the 1955 Henry Ford classic Mister Roberts.
12) Though modern Olympians shoot at clay pigeons, contestants in the 1900 Games took aim at real birds. More than 300 were killed, 21 of them by winner Leon de Lunden of Belgium.
13) Steeplechasers at the 1932 Games had to run an extra lap on top of their normal 7.5 when an official lost count.
14) Russian Martin Klein was too exhausted to compete in the 1912 Greco-Roman wrestling final after his semi-final with Finland’s Alfred Asikainen took 11 hours.
15) American Robert LeGendre smashed the world long jump record at the 1924 Games, but his 25ft6ins leap was only part of a pentathlon competition in which he finished third. The long jump gold was won by someone else with a leap of 24ft5ins.
Multi-talented: Robert Legendre’s giant leap
16) Bad weather meant the final two events in the London 1948 London Olympics were held at dusk, with athletes illuminated by car headlights.
17) Olympic organisers have provided free condoms to athletes in the Olympic Village ever since the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Randy athletes used all 70,000 at the 2000 Games, leading to organisers supplying nearly twice that amount four years later. After a drop-off to just 100,000 free condoms at Beijing 2008, 150,000 will be handed out at London 2012.
18) At the request of the Soviets, there were three different Olympic Villages at Helsinki 1952 – one for men, one for women and one for athletes for Iron Curtain countries.
19) Understandably eschewing the lap of honour, London 1908 Marathon winner JJ Hayes was carried around White City stadium on a table.
20) James Connolly, triple jump winner at Athens 1896, was refused leave from his studies at American university Harvard to take part. He had to drop out of his course and also had his wallet stolen in Naples less than 24 hours before the event. He later refused an honorary degree from his alma mater.
Drop-out: James Brendan Connolly was America’s first gold medalist
21) The USA won basketball gold at Berlin in 1936, beating Canada by the unusually low score of 19-8. The game was played outside on a sand court in driving rain, making dribbling impossible. By contrast, the USA v Mexico semi-final in the next Olympic basketball tournament, held in London 1948, produced 111 points.
22) Thirteen American students completed a three-week journey to take part in the 1896 Games. However they had not taken into account the difference between the Greek and Julian calendars and instead of having 12 days to prepare they arrived the day before the Games began.
23) American Margaret Abbott won women’s golf gold at the Paris 1900 games in bizarre circumstances. On holiday in the French capital with her mother to visit the World’s Fair which was running concurrently, she took part in what she thought was merely a golf tournament to celebrate the Fair and left for the USA not knowing she had become the first-ever American gold medallist.
24) Bill Nankeville, father of the comedian Bobby Davro, finished sixth for Great Britain in the 1500m at the 1948 London games.
25) American long jumper Meyer Prinstein was prevented from taking part in the final round of the 1904 St Louis Olympics because his college objected to one of their students competing on the Sabbath – even though Prinstein was Jewish.
26) Because of segregation in the USA, returning 1936 Olympic hero Jesse Owens had to travel in a Waldorf-Astoria goods lift to reach the official reception before a ticker-tape parade in his honour.
Fastest: Jesse Owens crosses the line to break the 100m world record
27) Each country’s national anthem will last a maximum of a minute if played during a medal ceremony. Bad news for Uruguay, whose anthem is six-and-a-half minutes long.
28) But not for Uganda, whose anthem lasts only nine bars.
29) Swimming at Athens 1896 involved the competitors being taken out in boats and then asked to paddle the required distance back to shore
30) The London Olympic site will feature more than 500 bird boxes and 150 bat boxes to help maintain the local wildlife. But they will not be opened until after the Games, lest the winged beasts disrupt athletes’ preparations.
31) Aussie swimmer Dawn Fraser, who won freestyle golds at three consecutive games, was given a 10-year ban in 1964 after drunkenly swimming a moat to steal an Olympic flag from outside Emperor Hirohito’s palace. She was named Australian of the year.
Banned: Dawn Fraser wins the 1964 100m freestyle final in 59.5 seconds
32) The 1900 Paris Games included a long jump for horses and a high jump for horses. Extra Dry won the former with a leap of 6.10m, beating Oreste, who finished joint-first in the latter.
33) Contestants at the Ancient Games at Olympia competed in the nude.
34) Two real-life duels were fought as as result of disputes over scoring during the fencing competition at the 1924 Games.
35) Docked two points for headbutting his opponent during a bantamweight bout during Seoul 1988, hometown boy Byun Jung-Il lost a 4-1 decision by the judges. He protested by sitting down in the ring and refusing to leave, eventually getting up 67 minutes later after match officials turned out the lights and left him in darkness.
Sit in: Byun Jung-Il of South Korea stages a silent sit down protest at the 1988 Seoul Olympics
36) Spain’s left-wing government intended to hold a rival Olympics in 1936, in protest at the Games being held in Nazi Germany, and recruited 6,000 athletes to take part. However the Spanish Civil War broke out the day before they were due to begin in Barcelona.
37) The London Olympic Park spans 500 acres – the same size as the Alton Towers theme park.
38) More than 100 toads and 2,000 newts were saved from the Olympic Park site during construction.
39) Takeichi Nishi, a Japanese show jumping gold medallist at the 1932 Los Angeles Games, died in 1945 at the battle of Iwo Jima, where he commanded the 26th Tank Regiment while wearing riding boots and jodphurs and carrying a whip.
40) Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands asked for the 1928 Games to be rescheduled to fit in with her holiday in Norway. She failed.
Demanding: Queen Wilhelmina wanted the Games rescheduled
41) A total of 34 runners failed to complete the 1912 marathon in Stockholm. One, Francisco Lazaro, died during the race but a day later it emerged another runner was still unaccounted for. It emerged that Japan’s Shizo Kanaguri, in a state of exhaustion, had stumbled off the course and into the garden of a family who were holding a picnic. They gave him raspberry juice and then put him to bed. When he awoke several hours later, shamed at his performance, he caught a train back to Stockholm and then a boat to Japan without telling anyone.
42) Hitler only attended one football match at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and would have been unimpressed to see Germany lose 2-0 to Norway. However he did call for a quarter-final rematch after Peruvian fans allegedly invaded the pitch following their victory against Austria. The Peruvians went home in protest and Austria won silver.
43) Great American Olympian Carl Lewis was booed before a 1993 NBA game between the Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets for an off-key rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. Having broken off halfway through to promise the crowd he would “make it up to you”, he butchered the rest of the anthem and exited to catcalls.
44) London’s commitments as 2012 hosts include building a dance café and a flower shop in the Olympic Village.
45) Italian marathon runner Carlo Airoldi walked to the 1896 games, covering 70km per day from Milan, passing through Austria and Turkey to reach Athens. At the end of his 28-day journey, has was informed that having accepted a prize for winning a Milan-to-Barcelona race, he was no longer an amateur and could not compete.
46) Tough Australian quarantine rules meant that all the equestrian events at the 1956 Melbourne Games were held 9,700 miles away in Stockholm.
47) Spectators were unable to watch the conclusion of the 1956 water polo match between Hungary and the USSR. Played out as Soviet tanks entered Budapest to put down an attempted revolution, police were forced to clear the arena when the Soviets’ Valentin Prokopov punched Ervin Zador, causing blood to pour from his eye, and fans responded by jumping from the stands to the edge of the pool to spit at Prokopov and his team-mates. Hungary won 4-0.
48) Streaking will be an expensive business at London 2012. Anyone caught will be fined up to £20,000.
49) Cassius Clay – later Muhammad Ali – was so nervous about flying to Rome for the 1960 games that he bought a parachute from an army surplus store and wore it throughout the flight, often getting up to pray in the aisle.
50) Ethiopia’s Abebe Biikila won the 1960 Rome marathon barefoot because no pair of running shoes from official manufacturers adidas could be found which would comfortably fit his feet.
Sole victor: Ethiopian athlete Abebe Bikila runs barefoot for victory in the Rome 1960 Olympic Games marathon
51) American Billy Mills was so unfancied to win the 10,000m at Tokyo 1964 the US team’s manufacturers denied him a pair of official running shoes, saying they were only to be used for potential winners. Having shattered his personal best by 46 seconds to claim gold, he was approached at the finish line by a Japanese race official who simply asked, “Who are you?” Mills was then denied a lap of honour because 37 others had yet to finish the distance.
52) The infamous London 2012 logo, designed by Wolff Olins for a very reasonable £400,000, has been likened to “Lisa Simpson giving London a blow job”.
53) Britain’s Ann Packer had planned to go shopping on the day of the 800m final at Tokyo 1964 but changed her mind after fiance Robbie Brightwell finished out of the medals in his 400m final. She won gold.
54) Disqualified for interfering with an opponent in his 1956 steeplechase win, Chris Brasher appealed and a three-hour inquiry meant the medal ceremony was postponed until the next day. His appeal successful, Brasher went on a celebratory bender with the British press and later admitted he had received gold “blind drunk, totally blotto, with an asinine grin on my face, breathing gin fumes over the French member of the International Olympic Committee”.
55) Bob Beamon prepared for his 1968 world record long jump of 8.90metres – which stood for 23 years – by having a few shots of tequila the night before the event, followed by sex with his girlfriend Gloria.
56) Mark Spitz had planned to shave off his famous moustache the night before his first swim at the 1972 Games in which he won seven golds. But he changed his mind after kidding Russian competitors that it made him swim faster because it kept water away from his mouth. “Next time, all the Russian swimmers had moustaches,” he said.
Signature: US swimmer Mark Spitz and his distinctive moustache at the 1972 Olympics
57) Waldi The Dachshund, created for the 1972 Munich Games, was the first Olympic mascot. He appeared in a variety of colour schemes, but none included red or black because those were the colours of Hitler’s Nazis.
58) Waldi proved so popular the 1972 Marathon route was arranged in the shape of his body.
59) The most famous of all Colemanballs – “and there goes Juantorena down the back straight, opening his legs and showing his class” – wasn’t said by David Coleman. Fellow BBC commentator Ron Pickering was responsible as the Cuban won 800m gold in the 1976 Montreal Games.
60) Thirteen high-tech filters have been installed at the London 2012 Aquatic Centre to ensure the pools do not smell of chlorine.
61) Every female competitor bar one at the 1976 Olympics had to undergo a sex test. The exception was Britain’s Princess Anne.
62) Today’s athletes follow a strict nutritional plan and watch what they eat, but before the Olympics in ancient Greece athletes mostly ate cheese.
63) When a rainstorm put out the Olympic flame during the 1976 Gam
es in Montreal, organisers watched horrified as a helpful official quickly re-lit it with his cigarette lighter. They then snuffed it out again and re-lit it with a backup torch lit from the original flame.
64) For the first time in Olympic history, Romania’s Nadia Comaneci scored a maximum 10.0 in the uneven bars at Montreal 1976. Scoreboards were unable to cope and so displayed the score as 1.0.
65) Heathrow Airport has built a special Games terminal for athletes departing from the London 2012 Games. It has 31 check-in desks and seven security lanes
66) Ladbrokes are offering competitive odds of 2012-1 for the Loch Ness Monster to be spotted in the Thames during the London Olympics. Anyone seeking a dafter bet can take Paddy Power’s 100-1 on Liverpool’s Andy Carroll to score the winner in the Men’s Olympic Football final.
67) Having won decathlon gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, Daley Thompson was asked by a US television crew to describe how he felt. Thompson went on to explain his euphoria to US viewers, saying: “I haven’t been this happy since my granny caught her tit in a mangle.”
68) Thompson, wearing a T-shirt reading ‘Is The World’s Second-Greatest Athlete Gay?’ – a presumed reference to the sexuality of American Carl Lewis – then told the British press that he would like to father a baby with Princess Anne.
Provocative: Daley Thompson celebrates after his gold medal success
69) Organisers of the 2004 Athens Games were sued by a heritage society over mascots Athena and Phevos. Claiming they “savagely insulted” Ancient Greek culture, Dr Pan Marinis said the mascots “mock the spiritual values of the Hellenic Civilization by degrading these same holy personalities that were revered during the ancient Olympic Games”.
Insult: A heritage group sued over the 2004 mascots
70) Despite winning bronze in the 10,000m at Munich 1972, Miruts Yifter was jailed for three months on his return to Ethiopia for failing to turn up for the 10,000m final. He blamed his coaches for delivering him late to the start line. Ethopia boycotted the 1976 Games but he won 5,000m and 10,000m gold at Moscow 1980.
Jailed: But Miruts Yifter won in Moscow
71) Before the 1984 Los Angeles Games, McDonald’s ran a scratchcard promotion called ‘When the US Wins, You Win‘. Customers were given a card with the name of an event hidden underneath foil and told they would receive a free Coke if it matched an event in which the USA won bronze, free fries if they won silver and a free Big Mac if they won gold. Unfortunately, McDonald’s bosses had based their expectations on the 1976 games, in which America won 94 medals, 34 of them gold. The Communist Bloc’s boycott of the 1980 games ensured the USA won 174 medals, 83 of them gold, and McDonald’s lost millions.
72) A City of London police team beat the Liverpool Police to win the tug of war competition at the 1908 Olympics. The USA had pulled out at the quarter-final stage, protesting that the Liverpudlians had spikes on their service boots.
73) Mala Sakonninhom of Laos recorded the staggering time of 15.12 seconds in the women’s 100m at Seoul 1988 – roughly the same, according to experts, as an averagely talented high schooler would have managed. Florence Griffith Joyner somehow shaved over four and a half seconds off that time to win the final.
74) Eleven years after his drugs shame at the 1988 Olympics, disqualified 100m gold medallist Ben Johnson was hired by Colonel Gadaffi as a fitness coach for his son Al-Saadi, who was attempting to build a career as a Serie A footballer with Perugia. Gadaffi Jnr managed one substitute appearance before failing a drug test.
75) The traditional release of live doves at the Olympic opening ceremony was abandoned after Seoul 1988, when around 10 chose not to swoop majestically across the skies but instead to settle on the rim of the Olympic cauldron just as it was being lit and were instantly burned to death.
76) Though cricket was included in the 1900 Paris Games, only two teams entered: Great Britain and a French team entirely comprised of British Embassy staff. Britain won.
77) Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium was built in 1927 as part of the bidding process for the 1936 Games, which were awarded to Munich, and had to wait 65 years before it eventually hosted the Games.
78) Six of the eight contestants in the women’s 800m in Amsterdam 1928 collapsed of heat exhaustion at the finish line and the event was not run again until 1960.
79) During the test basketball event in London this year the Chilean national anthem was played for the Chinese team.
80) Australia’s Fred Lane is the only winner of an Olympic 200m obstacle race. In Paris 1900 he successfully negotiated a course which asked competitors to climb over a pole and clamber across a row of boats before swimming under another row of boats to reach the finish.
81) Derided by Simpsons creator Matt Groening as “a bad marriage of the Pillsbury doughboy and the ugliest California Raisin”, Atlanta 1996 mascot Whatizit, later renamed Izzy, remains unloved even by its creator John Ryan. Of the amorphous blue character sometimes called ‘The Sperm in Sneakers’, he said: “As a professional I wish it was something I had on the top of my CV… but it’s the red-headed stepchild. I hope I have something else that I will be known for before I die.”
82) The 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games mascot, “Whatizit?”
83) The 1996 opening ceremony which featured a moving appearance by Muhammad Ali also featured 500 cheerleaders and 30 pick-up trucks, leading to Atlanta being dubbed The Bubba Games.
84) Among lost property left behind at the Barcelona 1992 Games was a cheque for $40,000 and eight certificates guaranteeing that the bearer was female.
85) During the gruelling men’s individual cross country race at Paris 1924, held in 40C heat on a course which went past a factory billowing out smoke, British contestant Arthur Sewell became so disoriented he started running in the wrong direction. Pointed the right way by a helpful official, he promptly collided with another runner and had to retire. Sergio Aguillar of Spain did not finish after falling and hitting his head on a distance marker, while Finland’s Heikki Liimatainen got within 30m of the finish line before turning off the course unexpectedly, convinced he had completed the race.
86) The 2,818 apartments in the Olympic Village come complete with 5,000 toilet brushes.
87) Equatorial Guinea swimmer Eric Moussambani Malonga – nicknamed Eric The Eel after swimming his 100m heat at the Sydney 2000 Games in 1:52:72 – was determined he would not again be an object of national ridicule in 2004. Having trimmed his personal best to 57 seconds, only nine seconds behind the world record time, he was not allowed to compete in Athens because officials mislaid his passport photograph.
88) The Olympic Velodrome was the first Olympic Park venue to be completed, as far back as February 2011, and for around £93million, slightly under budget. After the Games, the 6,000-seat venue will be run under a joint agreement by British Cycling, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, the National Cycling Centre in Manchester and the Glasgow-based Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
89) The London Philharmonic Orchestra took 50 hours of studio time to record the national anthems of all 205 competing nations at the 2012 Games.
90) Boris Onischenko was kicked out of the 1976 Montreal Games’ modern pentathlon after it was discovered his fencing epee had been modified so he could close a circuit within it, and thus score a point, without actually hitting his opponent. The former KGB half-colonel might have got away with it had suspicious Jim Fox not leaned back during one of his charges and seen Boris’s tally increase by one despite not coming within six inches of the British captain. Boris was later dubbed ‘Disonischenko’.
Disonischenko: Soviet athlete Boris Onischenko cheated
91) Having been disqualified from his taekwondo men’s +80-kg bronze medal bout for taking too long to be treated for a foot injury, Cuban Angel Valodia Matos shoved the match referee out of the way in order to kick Swedish judge Chakir Chelbat in the head. Reflected Cuban coach Leudis Gonzalez: “The judge was too strict.”
He had to forego his bronze medal for the act.
92) George Eyser won six medals, three golds, two silvers and a bronze, during a single day of the 1904 Olympics, despite having a wooden left leg. He lost his real one when it was run over by a train.
93) Mongolia’s only female marathon runner, Luvsanlkhundeg Otgonbayar, triumphed in the race for the wooden spoon at Athens 2004, finishing over an hour behind Japanese winner Mizuki Noguchi and half an hour behind the second-slowest competitor. “I felt like I was running very fast,” she explained.
94) In the 2001 BrassEye ‘Nonce Sense’ episode, future London 2012 committee chairman Lord Sebastian Coe was fooled into holding up ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of a paedophile which actually showed two different people – the members of 1980s hitmakers Hall & Oates. He also advised viewers to listen to the anti-paedophile message contained within a song he billed as “Keep Away From The Funny-Eyed Guy, by DJ Bob Hoskins Going Mental In A Dustbin”.
95) Four-time gold medallist Greg Louganis stunned many when he came out as gay in 1995, though possibly not those who had been party to his pre-dive ritual of singing Diana Ross’ Believe In Yourself, taken from The Wiz – a musical film version of The Wizard of Oz in which Miz Ross played Dorothy.
96) London 2012 mascots Wenlock and Mandeville have been hailed as “patronising, cretinous infantilism” and “appalling computerised Smurfs for the iPhone generation” by the influential design critic Stephen Bayley.
97) Betty Robinson, 100m winner at the 1928 Amsterdam games, was in her cousin’s biplane three years later when it crashed in Chicago. She was pulled from the wreckage with no pulse by a bystander who, believing her dead, put her in the boot of his car and drove her to a local mortician. In fact, Robinson was alive and after waking from a seven-month coma, recovered sufficiently to compete at the 1936 Berlin Games.
98) Upset when his mount Ranchero refused at three jumps in the 1968 Mexico Games’ modern pentathlon, knocking him out of medal contention, West Germany’s Hans-Jurgen Todt leapt out of the saddle and began slapping the fussy horse. Team-mates had to restrain him.
99) Southampton hosted motor boating events at the 1980 Games. Unfortunately, bad weather meant six of the nine events were cancelled, denying spectators the exciting prospect of watching craft whose average speed reached an astonishing 19mph.
100) Possibly the all-time greatest Olympic performance came from Tunisia’s modern penthatletes in Rome 1960, who failed to score a single point. All three contestants in the show jumping event fell off their horses before being removed from the shooting competition for firing dangerously close to the judges. One of them nearly drowned during the swimming. Finally, only one team member had experience of fencing, so the Tunisians sent him out again and again for the individual heats, cautioning him not to remove his mask. The ruse was discovered and they were disqualified.
- Gandhi once covered the Olympics as a newspaper reporter. The 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. It was right during his civil disobedient prime. But he did.
- The Olympic rings cover every flag in the world. They picked yellow, green, red, black and blue because at least one of those five colors appears in every flag in the world. (The five rings also allegedly represent the five continents of the world. But wait, you’re saying, aren’t there seven continents? Yes. But the Olympic committee has spun things to try to appease everyone. The way they’ve condensed the world into five continents: America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania. Sorry, Antarctica. And apparently, we’re now continent mates with Uruguay and Colombia. Cool.)
- Black athletes didn’t win the marathon until 1960. It’s impossible to picture now, but a black athlete didn’t win the marathon until Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia did it in 1960. And he did it barefoot.
Marian Woronin, the fastest white guy ever.No white person has ever run 100 meters in under 10 seconds. At this Olympics, Usain Bolt set a new world record, running the 100 meters in 9.69 seconds. And he kinda slowed down at the end.
No white person in history has ever run the 100 in under 10 seconds. The closest was Marian Woronin of Poland, who ran it in 10 flat… 40 years ago.
There’s no count on just how many black athletes have broken the 10 second mark, but it happened first in 1968, and seems to have happened (at least) several hundred times since.
- Gold medals haven’t been pure gold in 96 years. The 1912 Olympics was the last time that gold medals were solid gold. Ever since, they’ve been silver with gold plating.
The equivalent of a bronze medal.The top prize at the first modern Olympics was the silver medal. In 1896 in Athens, first place winners got a silver medal and an olive branch. Second place got a bronze. Third place got nothing.
- In 1900, in France, winners got paintings instead of gold medals. Gold, silver and bronze medals weren’t given out until the third modern Olympics, in 1904. The French gave the winners paintings because they believed they were more valuable.
- The first Olympic drug suspension wasn’t until 1968.At the 1968 Mexico City games, Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, a Swedish pentathlete, was suspended because he tested positive for a banned substance. That substance: Alcohol. He drank several beers before the pentathlon… which was against the rules… so he was suspended.
Frankly, he should’ve been applauded for attempting to do the pentathlon drunk. 99.999999999% of the world couldn’t even do it sober.
- China didn’t win its first medal until 1984. when Xu Haifeng won gold in the 50 meter pistol event. It’s hard to believe now, since China seems to be a medal-winning monolith.
- The Olympics once lasted 187 days. In 1908, the London Olympics went on for 187 days… they started in April and didn’t end until October.
- There’s a 62-year age difference between the oldest and youngest Olympians ever. The youngest Olympian ever was Dimitrios Loundras, a Greek gymnast in the 1896 Athens Olympics. He was 10. The oldest Olympian ever was Oscar Swahn, a Swedish shooter in the 1920 Antwerp, Belgium, Olympics. He was 72.