Fact of the Day
London 1948 saw the first ever "photo-finish" when, in the 100 metres, two Americans Harrison Dillard and Barney Ewell fought out an exciting finish. Both men clocked the same time of 10.3sec. After the photo it was Dillard who was deemed to have won, and he collected the Olympic gold medal.
Dutchman Jeroen Straathof is the only athlete to compete at Summer and Winter Olympics and the Paralympics. As a speedskater he competed in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer before switching to cycling where, as pilot in the tandem, he paired with visually impaired Jan Mulder to win gold at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics. He then competed for the Dutch pursuit team at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
American Bruce Jenner, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion, became a successful actor afterwards and appeared in the top rated TV series CHiPs, which followed the lives of motorcycle police officers of the California Highway Patrol. Since the 2007 debut of the cult show Keeping Up with the Kardashians he has appeared as the step-father to the Kardashian siblings: Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob.
Hungarian fencer Pál Szekereswon won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, then was disabled in a bus accident, and went on to win three gold medals and three bronze in wheelchair fencing at five consecutive Paralympics between 1992 and 2008. He has the distinction of being the only person ever to have won medals at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
German Führer Adolf Hitler banned alcohol from the Olympic Village at Berlin in 1936 but permission was given for the French and Italian athletes to be served wine with their meals and for the Dutch and Belgian squads to be allowed to have beer after they all protested.
Sweden's William Petersson won the long jump at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, an achievement he credits with noticing a silver coin lying on the runway before his first jump. He picked it up an disocvered that it was an American quarter. He put it in his left shoe for good luck and went on to win the gold medal.
The first person to light the Olympic Flame was German middle-distance runner Fritz Schligen at Berlin in 1936. He was chosen as he was considered a "symbol of German sporting youth". He later helped plan the 1972 Olympics in Munich and had the honour of lighting the cauldron in Berlin's Olympic Stadium again in 1996 as part of celebrations for the centenary of the Olympics. He died aged 99 in 2005.
Herbert Hoover did not attend the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, becoming the second American President not to appear at a Games hosted in that country. He had also missed the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid earlier the same year. The first US President who did not attend a Games was Theodore Roosevelt, at St Louis in 1904. His absence was due to the fact the Mayor refused any help officiating.
Britain's Johnny Douglas won the Olympic middleweight boxing gold medal at London in 1908. All his three bouts were on the same day. Australian supporters of silver medallist, Snowy Baker, claimed Douglas' father was the referee and sole judge, but Douglas Sr was there merely to present medals, and had no part in the judging. Douglas later went on to captain England's cricket team 18 times.
Lacrosse has been held at two Olympics, St Louis 1904 and London 1908. Both times it was open only to men; both times a Canadian team won the gold medal. In its first year, three teams from two nations competed, Canada and the United States. The second appearance saw only two teams, again from two nations, compete, Britain and Canada.
Ivan Sharpe, a member of the British football team that won the Olympic gold medal at Stockholm in 1912, was selected by the BBC to be one of two journalists who for the first time provided live commentary on the FA Cup Final at Wembley in 1936 between Arsenal and Sheffield United. Along with Norman Creek, he broadcast from 2.30 pm onwards before the game to take in the pre–match entertainment.
American shooter James Howard Snook, who won two Olympic gold medals at Antwerp 1920 in the team 30m and 50m military pistol events, was executed in an electric chair in 1930 after being convicted of killing his mistress with a hammer. The trial was considered shocking at the time for the sexual activities discussed, including fellatio.
Swiss rower Gottfried Kottmann won an Olympic bronze medal in the single sculls event at Tokyo on October 15, 1964, but died only 22 days later when he drowned in the River Rhine while taking part in a military exercise as a frogman.
During the early days of the Olympic Movement, Australia and New Zealand were represented jointly by one International Olympic Committee member for "Australasia". They even competed as a joint Australasian team, during the Olympics at London 1908 and Stockholm 1912, using a special flag. When the Games resumed at Antwerp in 1920 after World War One, the two nations sent separate teams.
Tokyo 1964 were the first Games be televised internationally without the need for tapes to be flown overseas. The Games were telecast to the United States using Syncom 3, the first geostationary communication satellite, and from there to Europe using Relay 1.