Random Trivia

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Since I began my quest to complete all of the Olympic events, I have become an unashamed collector of any and all Olympic knowledge I stumble across. My most recent discovery (courtesy of www.sportsfilter.com) was this site, which has details of a new exhibition from the Smithsonian.

The Olympic sections make interesting reading, and so does the rest of the site if you’re a sports fan. The medal pictured above is a participation medal from the Games of 1896.

From the website:

All participants in the first modern Olympics received a bronze medal designed by Belgian sculptor Godefroid Devreese (1861–1940). First-place winners were awarded silver medals and olive wreaths, while the second-place finishers received copper medals and laurel crowns. At the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded for the first time.

The first modern Olympics attracted 250 male athletes from 14 nations who competed in 43 events. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, more than 10,500 men and women from 202 nations participated in 300 different events. While the original Games offered just nine sports, the 2004 Games featured more than 37 different competitive fields. Now staged every two years, alternating between Winter and Summer Games, the Olympics are the most anticipated international sporting event, viewed in person and on television by more than two billion spectators.

Stephen Martin had a few gems in his talk too:

There have been 25 Olympics in the modern era. In those games, Great Britain has fielded a total of 6247 athletes.

The smallest British team consisted of just two men in St Louis in 1904. Both of them came home with medals.

The largest British team consisted of 676 athletes (642 men and 34 women) in London in 1908. That team managed to win 141 medals between them.

Of the 6247 athletes to represent Great Britain at the Olympic games since 1896, just 19 came from Northern Ireland.