What Are Some Lesser-Known Facts About The Olympics?

Explore the top seven undiscovered and sizzling lesser-known facts about the Olympic Games that you might not know about in this article.

Often referred to as the symbol of athletics and global unity, the Olympic Games are considered to be the most prestigious and revered sporting event in the history of sports that spans over decades. Thousands of athletes from all over the world actively participate and represent their respective countries in each edition of the Olympic Games. The Athens 1896 Olympic Games marked the advent of a rich legacy and since then, a total of twenty-nine summer Olympic Games and twenty-four Winter Olympic Games have been successfully hosted in a total of twenty-one cities. The Olympic Games feature a wide range of sports, including hockey, archery, basketball, boxing, cricket, gymnastics, Judo, Karate, badminton, baseball, football, golf, handball, lacrosse, cycling, and many more. Ahead of the Olympic Games 2024 hosted by Paris, scheduled to commence from Friday 26 July 2024, and conclude on Sunday 11 August 2024, a total of 206 countries are geared up to participate and clinch medals in a wide array of highly competitive sports. 

In this article, we will take a look at the top seven lesser-known facts about the most prestigious sporting event in the world, the Olympic Games. 

  • The Ban on the Olympic Games 

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The Olympic Games were banned for as long as a thousand years in 396 AD by the Romans as the format of the Olympic Games was considered to be conflicting with Christianity. Moreover, the Olympic Games were deemed a pagan tradition by the Romans. After a long wait of 1,500 years, the Olympic Games made a roaring comeback at the 1896 Athens Olympics. The International Olympic Committee in 1894, led by Pierre de Coubertin, played a pivotal role in retaining the integrity and credibility of the Olympic Games that it had lost to a great extent after being on hault for centuries.

  • The ‘Actual’ Gold Medal is a Myth 

Contrary to the belief of millions of viewers around the world, the gold medals given to the athletes in the Olympic Games are not made of actual gold. The 1912 Summer Olympics was the last edition of the format that offered actual gold medals to athletes. After 1912, the committee replaced the solid gold medals with the gold-plated ones. 

Also Read: Non-Olympic Sports That Should Be in the Olympic Games

  • The Rings on the Olympic Games Flag 

The five interlocking rings on the flag of the Olympic Games represent and symbolize the unwavering unity of the world’s nations through sports. Each ring on the Olympic flag represents one of the five inhabited continents, with North and South America counted as one. Additionally, the colors of the rings are in accordance with the hue of colors found in the flag of each nation competing in the Olympic Games. These Olympic rings serve as a symbol of unity, solidarity and shared sportsmanship spirit among the competing nations. 

  • The Tradition of Biting Olympic Medals 

The age-old tradition of biting medals at the Olympic Games is actually a practice of merchants that dates back to ancient times. The merchants in ancient times used to bite gold in order to differentiate between actual gold and lead. Although the Olympic Games have stopped offering solid gold medals, the tradition of biting medals continues till date, contributing to the rich legacy of the format. 

  • The Olympic Games didn’t Include Women 

The initial seasons of the Olympic Games hindered gender equality and didn’t include women until the 1900 Olympics when women athletes made their debut at the Olympic Games. Ever since the 1900 Olympic Games, prominent women athletes including PV Sindhu, Mary Kom, Karnam Malleswari, Sania Nehwal and many others have clinched medals for their countries and dominated the format with their appearance. The 1900 Olympics is considered to be a revolutionary edition in the history of the Olympic Games, that took a step forward to make gender equality prevail at the world’s biggest sporting event.

  • The Olympic Games Promoted Animal Cruelty 

Although the Olympic Games are revered as the most prestigious sporting event in the world, history reveals a dark side to the format. The 1900 Olympic Games featured “live pigeon shooting” as a competitive sport and led to the merciless killing of over 300 pigeons.

Also Read: Olympic Traditions: Symbols, Ceremonies, and Rituals

  • The Olympic Games Featured Artists 

The format of the Olympic Games wasn’t always about athletes and included artists as well. For a long period of 27 years between 1921 and 1948, the Olympic Games featured a wide array of artists, including musicians and architects, competing in various art-oriented competitions to clinch the most coveted Olympic medals.  

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