With the 2012 Summer Olympics winding down, the whole world watched as new records were broken and new champions were made. 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.
25 A bloody past
The Ancient Olympics were much bloodier and deadlier than today with some boxers even wearing gloves spiked with sharp nails.
24 The first modern Olympics
The first modern Olympics was held in 1896 in Athens, Greece and cost roughly $448,000.
23 The price tag today
The 2012 Olympic stadium cost £537 million or $832 million…enough to send one person to the moon 11 times.
22 Goose feathers galore
It takes 16 goose feathers to make each badminton shuttlecock, with the best feathers apparently coming from the goose’s left wing.
21 Diving domination
Since the birth of modern Olympics roughly 100 years ago Americans have won over half the total amount of Olympic diving medals.
20 Gold medal vs pie
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.
19 Football flopping
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.
18 London breaks a record
London is the first city ever chosen to host the modern Olympics three times.
17 Girls in the ring
The 2012 Olympics will include females fighters in the boxing ring for the first time ever
16 Olympically deprived
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
15 Silver was number one
At the first Olympics in 1896 the winners were crowned with silver. It was only later that the gold medals was introduced.
14 Going the extra mile
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 Castle 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.
13 Sprinting past the speed limit
Olympic sprinters can reach speeds of up to 30 mph…that’s breaking the speed limit in some neighborhoods!
12 The oldest Olympian
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.
11 Logo madness
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.
10 Kicking things off with a bang
The 1896, 1900, and 1904 Olympic Games all failed to catch fire, but in 1906 when the interim games were held the world all of a sudden paid attention. This was the first modern Olympics to include all of the theatrical aspects.
9 Barriers to entry
In order for a sport to be included in the Olympics it must be practiced by men in 75 countries on at least 4 continents and by women in 40 countries on at least 3 continents.
8 Heavy medal
The gold medals in the 2012 Olympics will be the biggest and heaviest medals ever although they are mostly made of silver (only about 1.5% of gold)
7 Crackdown on streaking
Anyone caught streaking at the 2012 Olympics will be fined 20,000 pounds.
6 Lots of competition
The 2012 Olympics will have 10,500 athletes competing.
5 Hitler’s torch
The modern Olympic torch has its beginnings in the the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Hitler and his regime reintroduced the ancient concept supposedly for the publicity and propaganda.
4 Fire and water
The Olympic torch is designed for rugged terrain and was even taken underwater passed the Great Barrier Reef during the 2000 Olympics in Australia.
3 A long journey
The 2012 Olympic torch traveled 8000 miles around the UK which is more than twice the width of the United States.
2 Olympic lasers
The most extreme measures ever taken to transport the torch occurred during the 1976 Olympics. It was literally beamed across the ocean by radio signal from Athens after which the signal triggered a laser that lit the torch.
1 As the whole world watches
For the 2012 Olympics over 4 billion people watched the opening ceremony. That’s well over half of the world’s population.