Fact of the Day
During the first several modern Olympics, the marathon was always an approximate distance. In 1908, the British Royal Family requested that the marathon start at the Windsor Castle so that the Royal children could witness its start. The distance from the Windsor Castle to the Olympic Stadium in White City was 42,195 meters (or 26 miles and 385 yards). In 1924, this distance became the standardised length of a marathon.
In May 1925, the Dutch Olympic Committee published an appeal in which they asked the general public for help with raising funds to host the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. Within two weeks the Dutch public had donated more than 1.5 million guilders.
Olivier Halassy, a member of Hungary's water polo team, won three Olympic medals, including two gold, between 1928 and 1936. What makes his achievement even more remarkable is that he had only one leg, the other having been amputated below the knee following a childhood traffic accident. He was killed in 1946 by a Soviet soldier after a robbery near his home in Budapest.
When Paris was bidding to host the 1992 Olympics, their bid committee published a poster depicting Asterix holding a torch over the Eiffel Tower, while a brief Asterix at the Olympics story was also written to promote the campaign. It made little difference, though as the Games were awarded to Barcelona.
Held at the port of Kiel, water skiing was one of the demonstration sports at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. A total of 35 competitors representing 20 countries took part, with the unofficial gold medals awarded across three disciplines - slalom, figure skating and jumping - for both men and women.
London 1908 were the first Olympics to include winter events. Four figure skating events were contested, but they were held months apart from most of the other events.
Helsinki's Olympic Stadium was built to host the 1940 Summer Games, which were cancelled because of World War Two. It finally played host to the 1952 Olympics.
In 490 BC, Pheidippides, a Greek soldier, ran from Marathon to Athens - about 25 miles - to inform the Athenians the outcome of the battle with invading Persians. The distance was filled with hills and other obstacles; thus Pheidippides arrived in Athens exhausted and with bleeding feet. After telling the townspeople of the Greeks' success in the battle, Pheidippides fell to the ground dead. In 1896, at the first modern Olympic Games, held a race of approximately the same length in commemoration of Pheidippides.
The first Olympic mascot made a discreet appearance at the 1968 Olympic Winter Games in Grenoble. Its name was Schuss. The first mascot for the summer Games was Waldi, the dachshund of the 1972 Munich Games.
Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation, once covered the Olympics as a newspaper reporter. The 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.
The only female competitor not to have to submit to a sex test at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal was Princess Anne, who was competing as a member of Britain's equestrian team. As the daughter Queen Elizabeth II, such a test was seen as inappropriate.
The first athlete to be disqualified from the Olympics for using a banned substance was Swedish pentathlete Hans-Grunner Liljenwall, who tested positive for excessive alcohol at the 1968 Games in Mexico City after drinking several beers before the competition.
The first black athlete to compete at the Olympics was Constantin Henriquez de Zubiera, a Haitian-born French rugby union footballer, who was a member of the France squad that won the Olympic title at the first Olympic rugby tournament at Paris in 1900. He also won the silver in the tug of war at the same Games.
The only Olympian ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was Philip Noel-Baker of Great Britain, who won the silver in the 1500 metres at Antwerp in 1920
In 1960, the Winter Olympic Games, held in Squaw Valley, had Walt Disney as head of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Among the highlights was a stadium filled with high school choirs and bands, releasing of thousands of balloons, fireworks, ice statues, releasing of 2,000 white doves, and national flags dropped by parachute.