When London hosts the Olympic Games in 2012, they will become the
first city to be officially listed as hosting the Games three times: 1908, 1948 and 2012.
(Athens was host in 1896, 1906 and 2004, but the Intercalated games
of 1906 were de-listed as being 'Olympic Games'.)
There are four special Olympic flags that differ
from all others in that they have a 6-coloured fringe. Such a
flags will be displayed in the City of London. The flag was
presented to Boris Johnson the mayor during the Beijing closing
Olympic cities (not countries) are chosen by secret
ballot, so we're not sure how London beat Paris for the 2012 Summer
Olympics. Some blame French President Jacques Chirac, who insulted
Britain before the vote by saying, "After Finland, it's the country with
the worst food." France's bid wasn't getting British support anyway, but
Finland had two IOC members, and some speculate that they were swing
votes in the 54-50 outcome. Who really knows comment Will and Guy?
At the 1948 games in London, the English national anthem,
(God save the King) was
played only three times: at the opening and closing ceremonies and when
Princess Elizabeth arrived at the stadium for the first time. This was
477 times fewer than the German anthem had been played in the 1936 games
held in Berlin.
The first Paralympic Games was held at London in 1948. The name
"Paralympics" comes from the words "Parallel" and "Olympics".
The reason the extra yards
were added to the running distance of the marathon to make the total
length a rather strange figure of 26 miles and 385 yards was because
of the rather whimsical demand of Queen Alexandra of Great Britain,
who demanded, in 1908, that the marathon should end below the royal
box at London's White City Stadium, which added the extra 385 yards.
The only Olympian ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was Philip
Noel-Baker of Great Britain, who won the silver in the 1500 metres in
I watched the Princess Royal present the silver
medal to her daughter, Zara Phillips, for the Great Britain eventing
team finishing second in the London 2012 Olympics it reminded me of
another occasion. Princess Anne won a gold medal at the European
Eventing Championships in 1971. She won silver in both individual
eventing and team eventing at the European Championships in 1975.
When Princess Anne won her European gold medal she remarked that it
was the only time in history that the Queen had bred both the horse
and the rider.
The Olympics of 1904 were appointed to Chicago.
However, St. Louis blackmailed the IOC with the threat to organise a
competing series of sport events if the Games would not instead be
held in St. Louis together with their World's Fair. The IOC gave in,
and Chicago still wait for their chance to host the Olympics.
The gold medals won by British runners Harold Abrahams in the
100 meters and Eric Liddell in the 400 in the
Paris 1924 Olympics were
chronicled in the 1981 Academy Award-winning film 'Chariots of
Footnote: Thanks to Peter Hans van den
Muijzenberg for corrections and additional material.
Olympic Games Myths
Pelops, a prince from Lydia sought the hand of the daughter of King
Oinomaos of Pisa, namely Hippodamia. Oinomaos had declared that his
daughter's suitors should compete with him in a chariot race; winning it
he gets Hippodamia as his wife; but on losing it, he would be beheaded.
Pelops with his charioteer Myrtilos secretly replaced the bronze
linchpins of the King's chariot with wax linchpins. During the race, the
wax melted and Oinomaos was thrown from his chariot and died. Pelops and
Hippodamia got married and Pelops celebrated his victory with the
According to another myth, poet Pindar, in his Olympian Ode, tells
the tale of how King Augeas of Elis reneged on his promise to reward
Herakles for cleaning his stables. Herakles attacked and sacked Elis and
started the Olympic Games in honour of his father Zeus.
At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Dora Ratjen competed in
the women's high jump.
In 1957 Ratjen came forward with an
incredible account: he was in fact a man [named Hermann] who had
been forced by the Nazi Youth Movement to masquerade as a woman in
an attempt to steal a medal in the games.
Alas, the ploy
failed - when Ratjen was placed fourth.
During the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, although China
fielded a magnificent team of gymnasts, one of their greatest hopes,
Yun Leu, scored a low 9.20 on the pommel horse exercise. 'Suit
too big,' Yun later explained. 'Grabbed pants instead of pommel.'
At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Olmeus Charles from Haiti was
last by the largest margin ever recorded. He set an all-time record
for the 10,000 metres race. Giving the crowd tremendous value for
money, he completed the course in 42 minutes 00.11 seconds.
Everyone lapped him at least three times and the winner finished so
far ahead he would have had time to complete another 5,000 metres.
An argument broke out among the track officials as to whether he
should be allowed to finish the course.
Happily, the crowd
were not denied this fine sight and the entire Olympic timetable was
held up by fourteen minutes. What Olympian spirit we say!
David Cameron is scheduled to speak at the opening ceremony of
the London Olympics.
Nervous, he asks for a teleprompter.
On the day of the speech, he takes to the podium and starts,
'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh.'
An aide quickly rushes to his side and
whispers, 'Prime Minister, those are the Olympic rings. Your speech
is below that.'
Olympics - London 2012 with the Prime Minister of UK
Trivia from Other Olympiads
Australian rower, Henry Pearce, stopped halfway through his
quarter-final race to let a family of ducks pass in front of his boat. The French competition overtook him, but Pearce managed to get back in
front and win the gold.
Stella Walsh, [Stanislawa Walasiewicz] won the women's 100m race at the
1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, becoming the first woman to break the
12 second barrier. When she was killed in 1980, as an innocent victim in
a robbery attempt, an autopsy declared her to be a male.
Rope Climbing took place in the following years: 1896, 1904,
1906, 1924, 1932. Rudimentary gym skills were all it took to win
Olympic gold in the early 20th century it appears, as this event
basically consisted of shimmying up a rope.
Milo of Kroton, one of the greatest Ancient Olympic champions.
He won the wrestling event 6 times, over a span of 34 years. [The
famous wrestler Milo was said to train by carrying a calf every day.
As the calf grew heavier, his muscles got stronger.]
A man has spent 300 painstaking hours building a replica of the
London 2012 Olympic Park out of Lego. Warren Elsmore used about 250,000
bricks to create the venues and structures including Anish Kapoor's
Orbit, the Aquatics Centre and the Olympic Stadium.
The model can be viewed at the Danish Village in St Katherine
Docks until 12th August.
New 50 pence coins commemorating the London 2012 Olympic and
Paralympic Games have been launched. The coins each feature one of 29
sports on the reverse and have been designed by people from England and
The designers range from a Manchester policeman and a delivery driver
from Reading to a bank clerk from Preston and a Bristol schoolgirl.
They share the honour of seeing their designs come into circulation and
also knowing that, like every UK coin in general use, it has been
approved by the Queen and the Treasury.
The 50 pence pieces feature well-known sports such as sailing,
swimming and basketball, but also lesser-known disciplines including
handball and the Paralympic sport boccia.