10 Fast Facts about the modern Olympics
Earlier this morning Mediacorp announced that it had secured an eleventh-hour deal with rights holder Dentsu to broadcast the highly-anticipated games live in our neck of the woods. Those interested in catching the various events will be able to do so via okto (StarHub TV Channel 108 & Singtel TV Channel 8) or Toggle from August 6 to 22. With the opening ceremony happening tomorrow morning, here are a few fast facts you need to know.
1) Pierre de Coubertin, who established the International Olympic Committee in 1894 (over 120 years ago), is widely regarded as the father of the modern Olympics. Two years later, the first Games organized by the IOC was held in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece.
2) The five rings on the Olympic flag are mean to represent the five continents: America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. Coubertin, who designed the flag, stated “the six colors [including the flag's white background] combined in this way reproduce the colors of every country without exception”.
3) The first black athlete to win the marathon event, Abebe Bikila, ran the entire race barefooted. In an even more dramatic twist, Bikila won the race by overtaking the race leader only 200 metres from the finish line.
4) The first Olympian to have his results disqualified from the games was Swedish modern penathlete Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall. His transgression? Failing a drug test because of “excessive alcohol”. The penathlete admitted to consuming two beers before showing up for the shooting competition.
5) Eddie Eagan is the only person to have ever won gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. In 1920, the American punched his way to a gold medal for boxing, and in 1932, he and his team took home the top prize in the bobsled event.
6) The Olympic gold medals handed out in the 2012 Summer Games in London, each weighing in at 412 grams, were mostly made of silver. The composition for those medals were: 1.34% gold, 92.5% silver, and 6.16% copper. BullionVault, an online investment gold service, estimates that the U.S.’ 2,403 Olympic medals (gold, silver, and bronze included) are currently worth US$620, 588.
7) The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will feature the first-ever refugee Olympic team, consisting of five middle-distance runners from South Sudan, two judokas from the Democratic Republic of Congo, two swimmers from Syria and a marathoner from Ethiopia.
8) Rio de Janeiro is the first city in South America to host the Olympics, which means the only two continents that have yet to hold the Games are Africa and Antarctica.
9) After a staggering 112 years, golf is finally a part of the Olympics again. Unfortunately, the top four male golfers (Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Speith, and Rory McIlroy) have all withdrawn from the competition citing reasons like the Zika Virus and scheduling conflicts.
10) This year, Singapore will be sending its largest contingent to the Olympics since independence. There will be 25 Singaporean athletes competing in a total of 7 sports including, athletics, badminton, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, and table tennis. We wish them the very best!