Friday, July 27, 2012

Citius, Altius, Fortius

Tower Bridge and Thames river with the Olympics Logo
This is the motto of the Olympics, meaning “Faster, Higher and Stronger.” As the London Olympic Games start today, we remember also the spirit of the Olympics, crystallized in the words of Pierre Rene de Coubertin, the father of modern Olympics, who said “The most important thing for the athletes is to participate, and not to win." The first modern Olympics were held in Greece in 1896, and they’ve been held ever since, with the exception of the 1916, 1940, and 1944 Games, because of World Wars. The 1980 Olympics held in Moscow were also boycotted by 65 nations because of the Cold War, while the Soviets boycotted the 1984 Games held in Los Angeles, USA.

Original soda can boxes display at local Albertson's Store

Here are some interesting trivia about the Olympics
- In the ancient Olympic Games, a flame would be ignited by the sun and then kept burning until the closing of the games. The flame first appeared in modern Olympics at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam and nowadays is still lit using a curved mirror and the sun.
- The last Olympic Games medals that were made entirely of gold were awarded in 1912.
- Women were first allowed to participate in the Olympic Games in 1900.
- During the opening ceremony, the procession of athletes is always led by the Greek team, followed by all the other teams in alphabetical order, with the last team being that of the hosting country.
- The five rings on the Olympic flag symbolize the five continents. However, three continents, Africa, South America and Antarctica – have never hosted the Olympic Games.
- The first Olympic Games to be televised were the Berlin games in 1936.
- At the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens, the winners received a silver medal and an olive branch, and second placed athletes got a bronze medal. Third placed athletes received nothing.
- Although China frequently tops the medal winning charts, it only won its first medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, when Xu Haifeng won gold in the 50-metre pistol event.
- The youngest Olympian ever was Dimitrios Loundras, a 10-year-old Greek gymnast at the 1996 Athens Olympics. The oldest Olympian ever was 72-year-old Oscar Swahn, a Swedish shooter at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games.
- The London 2012 Olympic Village will be home to 10,500 athletes.
- At the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, the skeet shooting targets were real pigeons. Belgian sharpshooter Leon de Lunden won the gold medal with a perfect score of 300 birds.
- Until 1992, the Winter and Summer Olympics were held in the same year, but since then they alternate every two years. So the next Winter Games will be held in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, while the next Summer Games will be in Brazil in 2016.
- Malta has never won a medal, but they are hoping this year they will win the first ever medal, even if it is bronze. The athlete whom they are hoping to bring glory is William Chetcuti, a trap shooter, who is rated Number 5 in the world, and recently won the World Championship.   

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