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The Olympics Factfile From Ancient Greece To 2024 And Beyond!

A few years ago, we brought you a detailed preview of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Now with the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris on the horizon, plus forthcoming games set to take place in Los Angeles in 2028 and Brisbane in 2032, we are going to bring you a special Olympics factfile.

Our Olympics factfile will contain everything you need to know about the history of this incredible tournament.

That starts thousands of years ago and goes right through to the modern day, and even into the future at these forthcoming events in France, the United States and Australia.

Of course, we’ll aim for our Olympic factfile to sit nicely alongside any betting on the Olympics that you would like to make, with sites such as bet365 Sport.

Not a member of bet365 yet? Then take advantage of their generous welcome bonus, which offers you the chance of some bet365 credits when you sign up, deposit and start wagering on the site.

Let’s begin our Olympics Factfile by going back to the very beginning of the games.

Olympics Factfile – The Origins of the Games

Olympic Factfile
Ancient Greece

The origins of the Olympic Games can be traced back to the 8th century BC, when the ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia in Greece.

Those early games saw male-only competitors born to Greek parents compete in a single footrace called the “Stadion”. The winner of the race would have the honour of the next Olympic Games being named after them.

However, soon the games expanded to include other sporting events including boxing, wrestling, equestrian events, a pentathlon, running events, discus, Javelin and Pankration, an unarmed combat sport that used boxing and wrestling techniques to subdue an opponent – similar in many ways to modern MMA.

While hugely popular in ancient Greece, they reached their pinnacle in the 5th and 6th centuries BC, but after the Romans gained power in Greece, their popularity waned.

There is no official date for the final Olympic Games of the ancient era. Scholars hold that it is either 393AD or 426AD.

Olympics Factfile – The Modern Olympic Games – 1896 & Onwards

Prior to the first Olympics of the modern era in 1896, there were a number of events that claimed to be ‘Olympic” events of sorts.

They include the Cotswold Games, held annually near Chipping Campden in England since the 17th Century, the Olympiade de la Republique, an event hend in France during the revolution which. Mimicked the ancient Olympic games.

There were also other Olympic inspired games held in Sweden in 1834, 1936 and 1843. Much Wenlock hosted the Wenlock Olympian Games in 1850, which runs to this day.

A Grand Olympic Festival was held annually in Liverpool between 1862 and 1867, and its outlook and set up was almost identical to the very first modern Olympic Games in Athens 30 years later.

However, it was only after Baron Pierre de Coubertin attended the Much Wenlock games in 1890, that he was inspired to found the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IOC Era

The IOC would be central to hosting the first games of the modern era in Athens in 1896. It featured 14 nations, 243 athletes competing in 43 events.

Despite the games’ initial success, the games of 1900 and 1904 were not as successful, and it took a number of years before the game became globally popular, increasing in popularity after the end of the Second World War in particular.

Politics saw a number of nations boycott the Moscow games of 1980, with many eastern bloc countries doing likewise for the 1984 games in Los Angeles.

Improvement in broadcast facilities and the proliferation on televisions globally has seen the Olympics grow exponentially since the 1980s into the global sporting movement that it is today, with billions of people tuning in to watch the events every four years.

Olympics Factfile – Past, Present & Future Host Cities and Nations

Two cities have hosted the summer Olympics on three occasions. They are: –

  • Paris – (1900, 1924 and 2024)
  • London – (1908, 1948 and 2012)

Los Angeles – (1932, 1984) will join that elite list when it hosts the 2028 Olympic Games.

Other cities to have hosted the summer Olympics twice are:

  • Athens (1896, 2004)
  • Tokyo (1964, 2020)

Beijing is the only city to have hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, hosting the Summer Games of 2008 and the Winter Games in 2022.

After Paris in 2024, Los Angeles in 2028 and Brisbane in 2032 will be the next hosts of the summer Olympic Games.

Olympics Factfile – The Most Successful Nations

In terms of medals won, the United States is the most successful nation in Olympic history. Ahead of the 2024 Paris Games, the United States have won 1,061 gold medals, 830 silvers and 738 bronzes from 28 out of the possible 29 Olympic Games of the modern era.

Their total of 2629 medals is more than double the next best country, the Soviet Union, which has 1,010 medals in total (of 1433 if you combine their total with Russia).

Great Britain has a comfortable lead in third position over the next best nations in terms of total medals having won 916 from the 29 games they have competed in.

All-Time Medal Table

  1. United States – 2,629
  2. Soviet Union – 1,010 (or 1,433 if combined with Russia)
  3. Great Britain – 916
  4. France – 751
  5. Germany – 655
  6. China – 636
  7. Italy – 618
  8. Australia – 547
  9. Hungary – 511
  10. Sweden – 503

Olympics Factfile – The Greatest Olympians Ever

Who would be in your Hall of Fame for the Olympic Games? Outlined below is a list of the greatest Olympians of all time.

  • Michael Phelps – United States (Swimming)
  • Usain Bolt – Jamaica (Athletics)
  • Sir Chris Hoy – Great Britain (Cycling)
  • Jason Kenny – Great Britain (Cycling)
  • Carl Lewis – United States (Athletics)
  • Elaine Thompson-Herah – Jamaica (Athletics)
  • Ed Moses – United States (Athletics)
  • Michael Johnson – United States (Athletics)
  • Sergei Bubka – Ukraine (Pole Vault)
  • Mark Spitz – United States (Swimming)
  • Laura Kenny – Great Britain (Cycling)
  • Sebastien Coe – Great Britain (Athletics)
  • Mo Farah – Great Britain (Athletics)
  • Daley Thompson – Great Britain (Athletics)
  • Wade Van Niekerk – South Africa (Athletics)
  • Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price – Jamaica (Athletics)
  • Paarvu Neemi – Finland (Athletics)
  • Javier Sotomayor – Cuba – (Athletics)
  • Jonathan Edwards – Great Britain (Athletics)
  • Fanny Blankers-Koen – Netherlands (Athletics)
  • David Rudisha – Kenya (Athletics)

Olympics Ethos – The Embodiment of the Olympic Spirit

Alongside the greatest Olympians of all time, there are some competitors who showed true Olympic spirit, either by their actions, or simply competing. Here’s their roll of honour.

  • Eric ‘the Eel’ Moussambani – Equatorial Guinea (Swimming)

Having learned to swim just 8 months prior, and after only having a 12-meter pool to train in for 1-hour a day, one day per week, Eric Moussambani entered the 100m freestyle at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Racing alone in his heat after being given a Wild Card entry into the 100m freestyle, he finished in a time of 1.52.72. A shade outside the World Record time of 48.18 seconds.

Hailed as showing the spirit of the Olympics, Moussambani worked hard and four years later, in a non-Olympic race, shaved 52 seconds off his time set in Sydney.

  • Derek Redmond – Great Britain (Athletics)

Heading into the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Derek Redmond was one of the top 400m runners in the world and a potential medal prospect. That after years of injury setbacks at major events.

After running the first 150m comfortably, Redmond suddenly felt his hamstring give way in the cruellest way possible.

Redmond stopped, but then carried on determined to at least finish the race. A short time later, his dad came down from the crowd and joined him on the track to support him and help him over the line.

  • Mathias Steiner – Germany (Weightlifting)

In 2007, Steiner was training for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, his wife was studying. In one day his life changed forever. His wife was killed in a tragic car accident.

Steiner’s grief consumed him and he had to decide whether he wanted to carry on. After taking time to grieve, he carried on and earned a spot at the 2008 Beijing Olympics although he was not expected to feature in the medals.

Having tried to lift 235kg in practice and failing, his coach came into the practice room and said that he needed to lift 246kg. His first attempt was close but failed, so he increased the weight to 248kg and managed to lift it to ensure he landed a bronze medal.

He was 9kg behind the current leader, who had failed at his last weight. Steiner needed to lift 258kg to win.

Incredibly he achieved the feat and on receiving his medal, he posed for pictures, with a picture of his wife held over his shoulder.

Olympics Records, Statistics and Data

Olympics Factfile
  • A total of 241 athletes competed at the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896. All of whom were male.
  • The largest number of athletes to compete in an Olympic Games was 11,238 who competed in Rio 2016. 5059 of whom were female athletes.
  • The Olympic Games with the greatest number of countries competing was the 2016 Olympics in Rio which had 207 countries competing.
  • The Tokyo Olympics of 2020 was the first to have more women’s and mixed sex events than men’s events. 174 womens and mixed sex events, compared to 165 mens events.
  • Michael Phelps is the most decorated gold medalist in Olympic history winning 23 golds in his career as a swimmer. However, five athletes have won nine gold medals. They are Carl Lewis, Mark Spitz, Paavo Nurmi, Larissa Latynina and Usain Bolt.
  • The slowest time to win the men’s 100m gold was 12 seconds in Athens 1896. The entry standard for the same event at Paris 2024 is 10.00 seconds. The current world record is almost 2.5 seconds faster than that time – equating to a distance of around 25 metres.
  • The 2020 Tokyo Games was the most expensive games to host on record, costing the Japanese Government a reported $15.4 billion, with total spending around $28 billion.

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