Summer Olympics Trivia
- London is the only city to host the summer Games three times: 1908, 1948 and 2012. The Games have been held in the USA four times (1904, 1932, 1984, 1996) - but in three different cities.
- Did you know that all athletes competed in the nude at the ancient Olympics?
- In the ancient Olympics, the philosopher Plato (427-347 BC) was a double winner of the Pankration. (see more about the Ancient Olympics).
- Five countries have been represented at all Summer Olympic Games – Greece, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, and Australia, though not always as part of official teams. Switzerland is on this list even though they boycotted the 1956 Olympics - however they had competed in the equestrian events several months earlier in Stockholm. France did not send a team to the 1904 Games but a lone Frenchman did compete for the US and a mixed team. Also in 1896 Great Britain competed as part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, while Australia participated in 1908 and 1912 as part of a combined Australasia team with New Zealand. Therefore, Greece is the only nation to have participated under its own flag in all modern summer Olympic Games.
- The only Olympic event in which mother and daughter competed together was the golf tournament of 1900. The event was won by US golfer Margaret Abbott. Her mother Mary, a novelist, also competed in the event, finishing joint seventh.
- The only Olympian ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize was Philip Noel-Baker of Great Britain. He won the silver in the 1500-meter run in 1920, and was awarded the Nobel prize for Peace in 1959 for his support of multilateral nuclear disarmament.
- The 1900 Olympic Games included many now discontinued events, including the equestrian long jump. The horse long jump was won by a Belgian rider named Constant van Langhendonck with a leap of approximately 6.10 metres - 1.08m shorter than America's Alvin Kraenzlein managed to win the human version at the same Games.
- The first black athlete to compete at the Olympics was Constantin Henriquez de Zubiera, competing for France in 1900. (more Olympic Firsts)
- At the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, silver medals were awarded to the winners and bronze to the second place getters. (see more about Olympic Medals)
- No women competed in 1896, as de Coubertin felt that their inclusion would be "impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic, and incorrect." (see more about Women at the Olympics)
- More athletes than spectators attended the 1900 Paris Olympic Games.
- The oldest man to compete in the Summer Olympic Games was Oscar Swahn of Sweden in shooting (1908, 1912, and 1920). Oscar Swahn became the oldest gold medalist when he won gold at 64 years and 280 days old in 1912, and the oldest medalist when he won silver in 1920 aged 72 years, 281 days old. The oldest woman to compete in the Olympics was British rider Lorna Johnstone, who participated in Equestrian at the 1972 Olympic Games at 70 years old and 5 days. (see more on the oldest and youngest)
- German Frank Kugler (competing for the US) the only competitor to win a medal in three different sports at the same Games, a feat he achieved at St Louis in 1904. He won four Olympics medals - in freestyle wrestling (silver), weightlifting (2 x bronze) and tug of war (bronze).
- The country of India has the lowest number of total Olympic medals per capita.
- 12-year-old Inge Sorensen from Denmark won a bronze medal in the 200-meter breaststroke in 1936, making her the youngest medalist ever in an individual event.
- Pigeon shooting was one of the sports on the program in Paris in 1900. Fortunately this shooting event was short lived. It was the only time animals were killed on purpose during an Olympic event. (see more about Discontinued Olympic Events).
- East German Christa Luding-Rothenburger is the only person to win medals at the Winter and Summer Games in the same year (1988), winning gold in speed skating at Calgary and a silver in track cycling in Seoul. (This feat is no longer possible due to the staggering of the Winter and Summer Olympic years)
- American Eddie Eagan is the only person to have won gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Games. He was a boxing champion in the 1920 Antwerp Games, and also won gold at the 1932 Lake Placid Games in the team bobsled event.
- At Moscow 1980 both the gold and silver medal-winning rowing teams in the coxless pairs event were identical twins - Gold went to Bernd and Jorg Landvoigt (East Germany), silver to Nikolai and Yuri Pimenov (Soviet Union). (more on Olympic Families)
- Great Britain is the only nation to have won at least one gold medal at every Summer Games.
- Three athletes have won gold medals competing for two different nations:
- Australian Rugby player Daniel Carroll won gold representing Australia in 1908, then repeated this feat competing for USA in 1920.
- Gymnast Svetlana Boginskaya won two gold medals for the Soviet Union and one for the Unified Team. She actually competed at the Olympic Games for three different countries, Soviet Union (1988), Unified Team (1992) and Belarus (1996).
- Georgian weight lifter Akakide Kakhiashvili who won his first gold medal at Barcelona 1992 competing with the Unified Team, and later as a citizen of Greece at Atlanta 1996 and in Sydney 2000.
- Shooter Jasna Šekarić is the only athlete to compete under four different flags at the Olympics. First she competed for Yugoslavia at Seoul in 1988 (gold medal in the 10 metre air rifle). She competed under the Olympic flag at Barcelona 1992, winning silver. At Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 she represented Serbia and Montenegro, then in 2008 and 2012 she competed for Serbia following Montenegro's independence.
- The only female competitor not to have to submit to a sex test at the 1976 Summer Olympics was Princess Anne of the UK, who was competing as a member of the UK equestrian team. As the daughter Queen Elizabeth II, such a test was seen as inappropriate. (see more about Olympic Royalty)
- US athlete Sheila Taormina competed in the Modern Pentathlon in 2008, making her the first woman to qualify for the Olympics in three different sports (swimming, triathlon and modern pentathlon).
- The record for the longest name for an Olympic champion is by female Thai weightlifter Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon, with a name comprising 31 letters. She won the gold medal in the 53 kilograms category at Beijing 2008. Her name was so long that it did not fit onto the scoreboard, which listed her as "J".
Much Much More Trivia
The above selection of trivia is just a sample of what you can find on this site. All of the Olympic Trivia has been sorted into the categories below. Visit these links to discover all you need to know about the facts and figures of the Olympic Games.
- Year / Host City
- Women's participation
- Modern history
- Ancient history
- Olympic Firsts
- Olympic Records
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- Olympic Games Quiz Night questions
- Olympic Firsts
- Olympic Quotes
- Books about the History of the Olympic Games
- more sports trivia
- Winter Olympics Trivia
- Athlete Deaths at the Olympics