Well, I’m going to keep today’s post short…. You want to know why? I will tell you… Today is the start of the 2012 Olympic Games! I know every writer, blogger, and sports editor will be talking all about the Olympics for the coming 17 days, and yours truly is joining them! For your reading pleasure, I have pulled together some interesting facts about the Olympics… I hope you enjoy!
1. Did you know that this is the 3rd time London has hosted the Olympics (1908, 1948 and 2012)? Also, did you know that they are the first city to host 3 times?
2. The 1948 Olympic Games were almost given to the US due to financial considerations in Great Britain. However, King George insisted that Britain still host as the Games would be a chance to help restore London. The 1948 Games became known as the Austerity Games because no new facilities were built, athletes either purchased their own food or were given war rations, the American athletes all came over on one boat and to stay in shape during the voyage they ran laps around the decks.
3. The 1908 Games were originally awarded to Rome. However, Mt. Vesuvius erupted and Italy had to pull out, thus leaving London with only 10 MONTHS to prepare for the Olympics.
4. Also, did you know that for the 1908 Olympics many Irish athletes boycotted because of Britain’s refusal to grant independence to Ireland. To this day, the US team does not dip their flag to the British monarchs as a sign of solidarity and friendship with the Irish.
5. In 1908 22 countries participated. In 1948 59 countries participated. It is estimated that 204 countries will participate in the 2012 Games.
6. In 1908 there were 37 female athletes and 2,008 male athletes (1:37). In 1948 there were 390 female athletes and 3,714 male athletes (1:10). In 2012 it is estimated that there will be 4,688 female athletes and 5,802 male athletes (almost 1:1).
7. In 1908 there were 110 events. In 1948, 136 events. And in 2012 there will be 302 events!
8. Some firsts for the 1908 Olympics – First Opening Ceremony and the first (and last) Tug of War (imagine explaining that to your kids, “well, honey your dad got an Olympic Medal” “In what sport Mom? swimming? track?” “Tug-of War”.)
9. Some firsts for the 1948 Olympics – First TV Broadcast and first Olympic use of Starting blocks for runners.
10. Some firsts for the 2012 Olympics – The Olympic Park is the largest new park built in Europe in over 150 years (wow), for the first time, every country participating has both male and female athletes competing. Also, this is the first FULLY integrated Olympics and Paralympics!
Ok, so now that I have officially bored you to tears, I’m off to go cheer for Team USA and Team World! I love the Olympics… the times when you can cheer for someone you have never heard of just because they have fought so incredibly hard to be there. The Olympics truly are a humbling reminder that there is more that unites our world than divides it.
Until We Meet Again,