Unless you’re currently living in a cave, or you’re really really thick, it’s impossible to not have noticed that the Olympics are looming. With less than a week to go, London 2012 is bound to be at the very least interesting. With this in mind, we at The Guestlist Network have taken a look at some weird and wonderful Olympic facts. Here are our favourites.
1) Marathons originate from one Greek soldier running from a town called Marathon (clever eh?) to Athens, in order to inform the Athenians of the result of a battle with the Persians. Pheidippides (the Greek soldier) had a tough journey, which was mostly mountain ground and filled with obstacles. He arrived in Athens bleeding and exhausted, but managed to inform the Greeks that they had surprisingly managed to win the battle. Hooray! He then collapsed, dead from exhaustion. In 1896, with the first modern Olympic Games, a race of the same length was held, in commemoration of Pheidippides. Unlike Pheidippides however, the athletes of 1896 survived their run.
2) The current Olympic gold medals aren’t really made out of gold. They used to be, but the last true gold medals (ones made completely out of gold) were given away in 1912, in the 4th modern Olympics, 100 years ago. Now they’re made of silver and are painted gold. Cheapskates.
3) That’s luxury compared to the 1900 Olympics though. Held in France, the winners were given paintings instead of medals, as the French believed paintings to be more valuable than gold, silver and bronze medals. Trust the French to try and be different. Honestly.
4) The longest Olympic Games happened to last for up to six months, in the 1908 London Olympic Games. The Games, originally meant to be held in Rome, were moved to London for a summer long season (starting in April) following Mount Vesuvius playing up again and causing major damage to Naples. The Italian government cancelled their Olympic plans and London took graciously hosted instead. Hopefully London 2012 won’t be quite as long…
5) And finally, ever since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Olympic athletes have been provided with free condoms. Having used all 70,000 provided back in the early 90s, the number of condoms (with the exception of the 2008 Beijing Olympics) handed out has grown every year since. This year, 150000 will be handed out to the competitors. Cheeky.
So there you have it, some weird and wonderful facts about Olympics past. Let’s hope that 2012 provides us with more interesting and wonderfully weird happenings!