Here we will share interesting and fun facts about the Olympics.
The Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing will be held from 4 February to 20 February 2022. For info about the Olympics 2022, please see our special page.
The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in the summer of 1896. In 1894 Pierre de Coubertin had presented his ideas for an international sports competition to promote international understanding. He founded the International Olympic Committee in 1894. The first multi-sports event was then called Games of the Olympiade and was the biggest international event at that time!
Olympic Games first were only held in summer and since 1924 Olympic Games are also held in winter. Summer and Winter Olympic Games are held every four years. The Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics alternate every two years which means the Summer Olympic Games are spaced four years apart and always come in between the Winter Olympic Games. In 2020 the Summer Olympics were held, while in 2022 the Winter Olympics take place in Beijing. And in 2024 the Summer Olympics will be held again, this time in Paris/ France.
The Olympics are held in different cities every time. 19 Countries have hosted the Olympics since 1896. Some cities or countries have hosted the Olympics multiple times. However, Beijing is the first city to host a Summer Olympics as well as Winter Olympics in the same city!
The most Summer and Winter Olympics were hosted in the USA while London/UK is the only city that hosted three Summer Olympics.
The first Summer Olympic Games in 1896 were held with fourteen participating countries. Then 200 of the 241 sportsmen were from Greece and there were 43 sports events held in 9 sports.
The first countries to take part in these games were Greece, the USA, Germany, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Austria, Australia, Denmark and Switzerland.
Competitions in 1896 were held in sports disciplines: athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting and wrestling.
No women were allowed to compete at the first Olympic Games, although one woman from Greece, 30-year-old Stamata Revithi, joined in the marathon event on her own.
The first and so-called ancient Olympic Games were held in Greece more than 2,800 years ago.
The games, originally named 'Olympiad', take their name from the region of Olympia in Greece. The Olympiads then included athletic events as well as an arts festival and were meant to be celebrations to worship the Greek gods. The Greek goddess which is depicted on the Olympic medals is thus Nike, the goddess of victory. There were regular intervals between the events and the ancient games were all held in Greece.
The ancient Olympic Games, the 'Olympiads' were last held in 393 AD.
Read more about Olympic Games Firsts on our special page here.
There are various Olympic symbols, some of these are permanent such as the Olympic flag or the Olympic flame.
The Motto is Citius - Altius - Fortius (in Latin) which means 'Faster - Higher - Stronger'. The motto was officially adopted in 1924 as the Motto of the Olympics.
The Olympic guiding principle is to take part in the Games but it is not only to win. "The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
The ultimate goals are the creation of friendships and "solidarity through fair play as well as the wish for a better world and peaceful harmony between the countries."
Each Olympic games have a specific motto too. The unique motto of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in China is 'Together for a Shared Future'.
Here are 10 fascinating Olympic Medal Facts for you:
The 2022 Olympics are overshadowed by diplomatic boycotts for political reasons and human rights issues. Some countries, among them the USA, Australia and Canada only sent athletes but refrained from sending officials and ministers.
Boycotts by different countries happened throughout history.
There were three cancellations of the Summer Olympic Games due to the world wars.
For our page Facts about the Olympics, the following resources were used.
Images on the Facts about the Olympics page: Tokyo Olympics Header Image: Chaay_Tee/ shutterstock.com; torch: KirillS/ shutterstock.com; Mascots: Octavio Acosta Carlock/ shutterstock.com; Logo: Krovop58/ shutterstock.com; Medal: olympic.org