There is so much history behind the glorious modern Olympics that we get to witness now. Let’s delve into seven of them:
1) Early Origins:
Olympic games saw its birth eons before the first modern olympics were held in 1896, in Greece. The games originated in B.C. 800 in Olympia, Greece, and would be held once in every four years for twelve years, until Emperor Theodosius decided to ban all pagan festivals, wiping out the tradition of Olympics, in the process.
2) A Funny Suspension Story:
The first athlete to ever have been suspended, Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, was done so for alcohol use. The pentathlete’s drug usage led to the disqualification of the entire Swedish team at the Summer Olympics in 1968.
3) A Flag For All:
We’ve all seen the five rings of the Olympic symbol. But did you now that these rings stand for every country in the world? Since every country’s flag involves atleast one of the colours of the rings, they proudly stand for Asia, Europe, America, Africa and Oceania.
4) Gold or Not Gold:
We’ve seen the winners biting their gold medals, gleaming with joy. But are these medals really gold? Not really, since 1912. The “gold” medals we see are made entirely of silver and are later plated with 6 grams of gold to give it the look. Smart, eh?
5) The Olympic Torch:
The Olympic torch relay is not an ancient tradition as it is often deemed. It was begun in 1936 as the Greeks attributed fire to certain sacred rituals. Using a mirror, the sun’s rays would be focused to burn the torch, which is performed before the ruins of the temple of Hera in Greece.
6) Not A Great Beginning:
From 1896 to 1904, the Olympic games were not really given much attention by the public. But by 1906, with the interim Olympics, where extra glitz and glam and theatrical gimmicks were introduced, the world were all eyes on the game.
7) The Case for Nudity:
If we have colourful jerseys and national flags adorning our athletes now, Olympians in ancient Greece began with nothing but loincloths protecting their bodies. Later, somewhere around 720 BCE, a runner from the city of Megara decided to run bare naked, affronting the draconian social mores of their Persian enemies.