With the 2012 Summer Olympics in full swing the whole world is watching as new records are broken and new champions are made. Before you tune into the London Games, however, take a moment to reflect on the long history of Olympic competition. From its brutal beginnings all the way to its modern day fanfare, these are 25 things you didn’t know about the Olympics.
The Ancient Olympics were much bloodier and deadlier than today with some boxers even wearing gloves spiked with sharp nails.
The first modern Olympics was held in 1896 in Athens, Greece and cost roughly $448,000.
The 2012 olympic stadium cost £537 million or $832 million…enough to send one person to the moon 11 times.
It takes 16 goose feathers to make each badminton shuttlecock, with the best feathers apparently coming from the goose’s left wing.
Since the birth of modern olympics roughly 100 years ago Americans have won over half the total amount of olympic diving medals.
Although an Olympic gold medal seems valuable its really only worth about 450 English pounds (700 dollars), which is supposedly only half the price of the most expensive pie ever made. In case you’re wondering you can find this record breaking pie at Fence Gate Inn in Lancashire, England.
Although it comes with its share of sprained ankles and broken shins, for every Olympic football match there are an average of 11 fake injuries.
London is the first city ever chosen to host the modern Olympics three times.
The 2012 Olympics will include females fighters in the boxing ring for the first time ever
Africa, South America, and Antarctica are the only continents where the Olympics have never been held although that will change in 2016 when Rio de Janeiro hosts the summer Olympics
At the first Olympics in 1896 the winners were crowned with silver. It was only later that the gold medals was introduced.
Originally 25.85 miles long, the marathon was extended to 26 miles and 385 yards at the 1908 Olympics in London where the race began at Windsor Catle and ended in front of the Royal Box in the stadium. Legend has it that the race was extended so that the Royal Family could watch both the start and the finish.
Olympic sprinters can reach speeds of up to 30 mph…that’s breaking the speed limit in some neighborhoods!
The oldest Olympian ever was Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn who won gold when he was 60 years old in the 1908 olympics. In the 1920 olympic games in Antwerp he participated again and was crowned oldest Olympian at age 72.
The logo for the 2012 London Olympics cost 400,000 english pounds, which is apparently the same price it would cost to adopt a panda in China for 365 years.