Here are some interesting facts on the Olympic games, did you know them?
- The first Olympic champion recorded was Coroebus of Elis, he won the sprint race in 776 BC.
- Ancient games included a sport called pancratium, which is very similar to today's mixed martial arts or extreme fighting.
- It was often the case to compete in the nude in the ancient games.
- The ancient Olympic games were abolished around AD 400 by Theodosius I (or his son), the Roman emperor, because of the festival's pagan associations.
- The Parisian, Coubertin, fought hard to reinstate the Olympic games, now referred to as the modern Olympics, with the first games staged in 1896 in Greece.
- The United States has hosted the Winter Olympics more than any other country (four times).
- The summer and winter games use to be held the same year every four years, in 1994 that tradition changed. The games alternate every two years. The next Olympics will be the summer games in 2012 in London, England.
Some authoritative websites and online information:
The official Olympic website
The International Olympic Committee, the governing body of the Olympic games
NYTimes medals maps, an interesting look at who and how many
Learn more about the Olympics at the Encyclopedia Britannica database.
Check out some books on the topic:
Beijing's Games: what the Olympics mean to China by Susan Brownell
The Olympics for Beginners by Brandon Toropov
Rome 1960: the Olympics that Changed the World by David Maraniss