Every four years we gather to witness the incredible athletic prowess of the best of the best of the world’s athletes. For many of them, this is the culmination of four years of intense training and preparation to compete in events that last for a matter of minutes. During the event, many world records are set and just as many or more are broken, and there are many “firsts.” For example, this year marks the first time that the Olympic Games have been held in a South American country: Brazil. Following are a few other interesting Olympic facts:
62 years: The difference in age between the oldest and youngest Olympic competitors to date: 72-year-old Swedish shooting expert, Oscar Swahn, won silver in the Antwerp Games; and 10-year-old Dimitrios Loundras, a Greek gymnast, won bronze in the 1896 Athens Olympics. (Loundras still holds the record for the youngest Olympic competitor.)
22: The number of medals won by U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps, making him officially the greatest Olympian of all time (18 of those medals are gold and he has set 39 world records).
0: The amount of clothing worn by competitors in the first Olympics in ancient Greece. Only men were allowed to compete during these early years.
3: The number of times the city of London has hosted the Olympics. It also holds the distinction of being the first city to host the Paralympics, which took place in 1948 for wounded war veterans. It’s also the number of times the games have been canceled (In 1961, the Summer Olympics in Berlin were canceled because of WWI, in 1940 the Summer Olympics in Helsinki, as well as the Summer Olympics in 1944 in London, were canceled because of WWII).
1: Only one athlete holds the distinction of winning medals in both summer and winter games in the same year: Christa Luding-Rothenburger of Germany medaled in both seasons in 1988 in speed skating and sprint cycling. (1992 was the last time the summer and winter games were held in the same year.)
187 days: The length of the 1908 London Olympics. (They started in April and did not end until October that year.)
92.5 percent: The amount of silver in Olympic gold. The 1912 Stockholm Games was the last time the medals were solid gold.
1936: The first time the Olympic Games, held in Berlin (and also known as the “Nazi” Olympics), were televised.
60,000: The number of meals organizers said they would have to prepare per day to feed the athletes in Rio.
2,786: The total number of Olympic medals the United States is believed to have won to date.
Sources: 10 Amazing Olympic Facts You Might Not Know; Athletes with Winter and Summer Medals; 11 Really Strange Olympics Facts; How Much Is an Olympic Gold Medal Worth?; Fifty Fascinating Facts about the Olympics – Pt. 1; Compare Olympic Medal Counts