If you’re a sports fan, it’s pretty hard not to love the Olympics. This is an arena of some of the most impressive people in the world showcasing some truly awesome sporting prowess. What’s not to love? And because of its long history and incredible feats, Olympics facts are truly fascinating. So equip yourself with some of the most interesting ones to impress your friends.
When were the first Olympics held?
This is a pretty tricky question to answer because it could mean a variety of different things. The Olympic Games were originally held in Ancient Greece. The first recorded games occurred in 776 B.C., but that’s not the end of the story. In fact, it’s estimated that the Games were at least 500 years old even then, so it’s history stretches back a really long time. Now if that’s not an interesting Olympics fact, we don’t know what is.
But if you’re talking about the Olympic Games as we know it, the first games of the modern era occurred in Athens in 1896. By today’s standards, the games were fairly modest, attracting 14 competing nations and 100,000 spectators.
What were the Ancient Greek Olympic Games like?
The Olympic games of antiquity were held during a religious festival that honoured Zeus, the Greek god of the sky and father of the gods. A few of the events were themselves inspired by mythology. One example of this is a type of martial art called Pankration. The legends go that this art was created by the mythical king and founder of Athens when he was fighting a Minotaur in a labyrinth.
Although there are also a few similarities to the modern games. For example, the games were held every four years and had some familiar events too. Spectators both in Ancient Greece and now can expect to see running, equestrian events, shot put, javelin throwing, boxing and the long jump.
Female representation in the Olympics
It should come as very little surprise to readers that women barely got a look in during the early years. Females are still disproportionately excluded from sports coverage in general. In the first Olympics, no women took part. Things improved a little by the second games in 1900, which saw 22 women compete. Still just 2.2% of the total athletes, but at least it’s a start.
Even though there are now many women who compete in the Olympic games, the fact is that there are dozens of events that women are excluded from. On an institutional level, there are efforts to boost representation on the International Olympic Committee. The IOC set a target that by 2005, at least 20% of its members would be female. It failed to meet that goal, but it’s now surpassing it.
And for the first time ever, the games held in Tokyo 2021 see one male and one female flag bearer from each country in the opening ceremony. A small, but meaningful difference.
Who’s won the most Olympic medals?
Michael Phelps. Flying Fish, Baltimore Bullet or whatever you want to call him, Phelps is by far and away the most decorated Olympian. Starting in 2004, the United States swimmer has scooped an impressive 28 medals, including 23 gold. An astounding achievement and one of our favourite Olympics facts.
What’s the best online sportsbook for Olympics wagers?
A lot of online sportsbooks offer Olympics bets, but how do you know which is the best? Choose one that’s reliable, easy to use and trustworthy. For us, that’s got to be bet365. Plus, if you haven’t signed up yet, here’s a fantastic bet365 bonus code. And don’t worry, they’ve got a superb online poker room too.