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Olympic Games Facts

Major international event featuring summer and winter sports

  • Early Olympic Games were celebrated as a religious festival from 776 B.C. until 393 A.D., when the games were banned for being a pagan festival.
  • The 2012 Summer Olympics will be held in London while the 2014 Winter Olympics will held at Sochi, Russia.
  • Host Greece won the most medals (47) at the first Summer Olympic Games in 1896.
  • Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius ("Swifter, Higher, Stronger").
  • First Winter Olympic Games were held in Chamonix, France in 1924.
  • The last Olympic gold medals that were made entirely out of gold were awarded in 1912.
  • The first opening ceremonies were held during the 1908 Olympic Games in London.
  • When choosing locations for the Olympic Games, the IOC specifically gives the honor of holding the Games to a city rather than a country.
  • The five Olympic rings represent the five major regions of the world – Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceana.
  • Up until 1994 the Olympics were held every four years. Since then, the Winter and Summer games have alternated every two years.
  • The flag was adopted in 1914 but flown for the first time only at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.
  • The first Olympics covered by U.S. television was the 1960 Summer Games in Rome by CBS.
  • No country in the Southern Hemisphere has ever hosted a Winter Games.
  • Three continents – Africa, South America, and Antarctica – have never hosted an Olympics.
  • It wasn't until 1900 that women were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games.
  • Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894.
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