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The first recorded Olympic Games – 776BCE

Women allowed to compete for the first time – 1900 (Paris)


First use of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals – 1904 (St Louis)

First games held outside Europe – 1904 (St Louis)

Figure skating first became an Olympic sport  – 1908 (London)

First time that athletes from all 5 continents take part – 1912 (Stockholm)

The Pentathlon and Decathlon were introduced for the first time – 1912 (Stockholm)

Portuguese athlete Francisco Lázaro was the first athlete to die during an event – 1912 (Stockholm)

Olympic rings symbol first used – 1920 (Antwerp)

Athletes’ Olympic Oath first taken – 1920 (Antwerp)

First time the Olympic flame was lit for the duration of the games – 1928 (Amsterdam)

First stadium with a 400 metre track – 1928 (Amsterdam)

Greece led the athletes procession with the host nation at the end for the first time – 1928 (Amsterdam)

First use of a photo-finish camera – 1932 (Los Angeles)

First time winners stood on a tiered stand with national flags raised above them – 1932 (Los Angeles)

First games held south of the Equator – 1956 (Melbourne)

Judges’ Olympic Oath first taken – 1972 (Munich)

First televised Olympics (local) – 1936 (Berlin)

First Olympic Torch Relay – 1936 (Berlin)

First games in Asia – 1964 (Tokyo)

First games held in Central America – 1968 (Mexico City)

The ‘Fosbury Flop’ was first used in the high jump – 1968 (Mexico City)

The first Olympic mascot – Waldi the dachshund – 1972 (Munich)

Russian gymnast Olga Korbut was the first to do a backwards somersault on the beam – 1972 (Munich)

Professionals were officially allowed to compete for the first time – 1984 (Los Angeles)

Steve Redgrave became the first athlete to win gold medals in five consecutive Olympics – 2000 (Sydney)

First games held in South America – 2016 (Rio de Janeiro)


The last and only time cricket featured in the Olympics was 1900

The Last Olympic Tug-of-War was in 1920

The last time the Winter and Summer Olympics were held in the same country was Germany 1936

Celebrity Olympians

Johnny Weissmuller later star of the Tarzan films won 3 swimming gold medals in Paris 1924

Benjamin Spock, better known for his writings on childcare, won a gold medal for rowing in Paris 1924

Olav V, King of Norway, won a gold medal for sailing in Amsterdam 1928

King Constantine of Greece won a gold medal for sailing in Rome 1960


Films featuring the Olympics

‘Chariots of Fire’ tells the story of Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell who competed in the 1924 Paris Summer Olympics

‘Berlin 36’ tells the story of Jewish athlete Gretel Bergmann

‘Cool Runnings’ tells the story of the Jamaican bob sleigh team and their participation in the 1988 Winter Olympics

Record Numbers

The Oldest competitor to win a gold medal was Oscar Swahn aged 64 – Stockholm 1912

Smallest city to host the Summer Olympics – Helsinki 1952

Smallest place to host the Winter Olympics – Albertville, France 1992

Most Olympic medals won by single competitor in the Summer Olympics – 18 won by gymnast Larissa Latynina (between 1956 and 1964)

Most Olympic medals won by a single competitor in the Winter Olympics – 12 won by Bjorn Daehlie (between 1992 and 1998)

A record number of records were broken – 43 world records and 132 Olympic records – 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing

Boycotts, Bans and Protests

1920 – Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary and Turkey – defeated World War One nations – banned

1928 – On seeing the distressed condition of female race finishers, IOC President Baillet-Latour had the 800m race banned for women until 1960

1968 Mexico City – 10 days before the games began students took to the streets in protest against the government. The demonstration turned violent and 200 people were shot many fatally.

1968 Mexico City – Black athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith gave the black power salute while their national anthem was being played to protest against racial discrimination

1956 Melbourne – Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt boycotted the games in protest at the British, French and Israeli invasion of Egypt (Suez Crisis)
Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland boycotted the games in protest at the Soviet invasion of Hungary
The People’s Republic of China boycotted the games in protest at the games’ recognition of Formosa (now Taiwan)

1972 – Munich Massacre – Palestinian terrorists protesting against the imprisonment of Palestinians by Israel entered the Olympic village killed 2 Israeli athletes who resisted and took 9 others hostage. All 9 athletes were killed as the terrorists tried to escape.

1976 – 31 nations boycotted the games because of Apartheid. They were protesting against the New Zealand rugby team’s recent game with South Africa

1980 – 50 western nations protest against Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan by boycotting the Moscow games

1984 – Soviet block nations seek retaliation for the boycott of the Moscow games by boycotting the Los Angeles games

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