Olympic Trivia (1896 - 2004)

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  • Fosbury Flop: Dick Fosbury just could not master the traditional 'straddle' style of high jumping. Fosbury persuaded the coach to let him use his own technique of jumping just for one high school athletics meet. He turned his back to the bar, flipped his head and shoulder over first and his feet last. In the process he cleared metres and thus was born 'Fosbury Flop'. Today, every high jumper is a Fosbury Flopper.

  • Perfect 10... Nadia Comaneci was known as 'Little Miss Perfect'. At the age of 14 she scored seven perfect 10s for the first time in Olympic history, at Montreal in 1976. Back in Romania, Nadia received the Hero of the socialist Party award, the youngest Romanian to be so honoured.
  • Citius Altius and Fortius...: The Oly motto Citius, Altius, Fortius" is a Latin phrase meaning "swifter, higher, stronger" which Baron de Coubertin borrowed from Father Henri Martin Dideon, who used the phrase to describe the athletic achievements of his students".

  • In the name of...: The Olympic oath reads, "In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams."

  • Mary Leela Rao was the first Indian woman to participate in the Olympics. Leela Rao, a long jumper, took part in the 1952 Olympic Games held at Helsinki in Finland.

  • French-born Indian Norman Pitchard, who travelled on his own, won two silver medals in 200m and 400m in 1900 Paris Games. Unfortunatly both the medals were not credited into India's account.
  • The Olympic flag was presented by Baron de Coubertin at the 1914 Olympic Congress to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Olympic Committee. The flag made its debut at the 1920 Antwerp Games.

  • The 1936 Games were also the first to be broadcast on television. Twenty-five big television screens were set up in theatres throughout the city, allowing the locals to follow the Games free of charge.
  • The Berlin Games saw the introduction of the torch relay based on an idea by Dr Carl Diem - lighted torch was carried from Olympia to the site of the Games through 7 countries- Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Germany.
  • James B Connolly a freshman at Harvard University was refused permission to join the 10-men contingent to Athens by the dean of the University. He, however, became the first medal-winner at the inaugural modern Olympics as Connolly withdrew from Harvard and sailed to Athens as a representative of Suffolk Athletic Club.
  • In 1984, Greg Louganis became the first male diver in 56 years to win both the springboard and platform events.
  • Johnny Weissmuller, the first to swim 100 metres in less than a minute, was a hero in real life too? He saved the lives of 11 people when an excursion boat capsized on lake Michigan. He also played the role of a hero in reel life - 'Tarzan the Apeman' in the movie series based on Edgar Rice-Burrough's novel. Johanny won three gold medals in 1928 Amsterdam Oly.
  • Dutchwoman Fanny flies and flies high...: Fanny Blankers-Koen, nicknamed 'Flying Dutchwoman,' bagged four gold medals at the 1948 London Games, emulating Jesse Owens' feat at Berlin in 1936. She was 30 years old, mother of two and in the early months of her third pregnancy. She had been advised not to take part in the jumps because of her condition or she might have pouched one more gold.

  • King Gustav salutes Thorpe: King Gustav of Sweden handed Jim Thorpe the gold medals at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics saying "Sir, you are the greatest athlete of them all." In one of the most brilliant all-round performances in the history of athletics Thorpe won both the pentathlon and the decathlon. He was however stripped of his gold for having received money for playing minor league baseball. The medal was restored to his children 30 years after his death.

  • Babe's Games out: Babe Didrikson declared to press reporters gathered at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932, "I came out here to beat everybody in sight, and that is exactly what I am going to do." She set new world records in javelin and 80 metres hurdles. In the high jump however, she was disqualified because officials ruled that her style of jumping was 'illegal', but strangely she was allowed to share the world record and even the silver medal!
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