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Interesting facts

india Updated: Aug 07, 2008 20:00 IST
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* The Panathenean Stadium in Athens, the venue for the first Games in 1896, was built in 330 BC by orator Luycurgus,
a disciple of Plato.

* In 1904, the problems of distance and travel meant few overseas entrants. So 85 per cent of the competitors were from the host country and they won 84 per cent of the medals.

* The 1908 the Games were awarded to Rome, but were shifted to London. Also for the first time, the competitors paraded behind their country’s flag in sportswear.

* The 1916 Olympics was to be held in Berlin, but was cancelled because of WW-I. The 1920 Games were awarded to Antwerp to honour the suffering that had been inflicted on the Belgians in the war.

* Central European countries and Russia were not invited to the Antwerp Games despite objections from IOC president Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

* The Olympic Flame for the Tokyo edition in 1964 was brought into the stadium by Yoshinori Sakai, a young runner who was born near Hiroshima on the day the atom bomb was dropped there in 1945.

* The Olympic Oath was introduced at Antwerp in 1920. Victor Boin, who won the waterpolo medal in the previous
edition, took the first oath.

* The Olympic Flame was lit for the first time on the top of a tower inside the stadium for the 1928 Games. It remained lit throughout the Games. At that time there used to be no torch relay.

* Around 100,000 people witnessed the opening ceremony of the 1932 Games at Los Angeles, the first edition to last 16 days. The duration of the Olympics has remained between 15 to 18 days since.

* Americans Matt Biondi and Mark Spitz are the only swimmers who have won seven medals in one Olympics.

* In the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, Spitz lined up for seven events and created history: he won seven Olympic titles with seven world records.

* With 12 medals with eight gold, American Jenny Thompson has won more swimming medals and gold than any woman in Olympic history. But all eight of her gold medals came in relays.