Thursday, September 4, 2008



Before the next round of foreign athletes arrives in town let me give you some random Olympics facts:

  • The Olympic motto, in Latin: "Citius, Altius, Fortius"; which means, "Faster, Higher, Stronger".
  • The Olympic Creed: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
  • Ranking: The Olympic Charter, Chapter 1, section 6 states that: The Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries … Officially, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not recognize a ranking of participating countries at the Olympic Games. Nevertheless, the IOC does publish medal table, the table is sorted first by the number of gold medals the athletes from a country have earned. In the event of a tie in the number of gold medals, the number of silver medals is taken into consideration, and then the number of bronze medals. If two countries have an equal number of gold, silver, and bronze medals, they are ordered in the table alphabetically by their IOC country code. In recent Olympic history the country that led in total medals also led in the gold count. China and the US bucked this trend in 2008.
  • Medals: In the antique game, only the winner received a wreath of wild olive branches. There were no 2 or 3 places. From 1948 onward athletes placing fourth, fifth and sixth have received certificates, which became officially known as "victory diplomas". In 1984 victory diplomas for seventh- and eighth-place finishers were added.*
  • Participants: From the 241 participants representing 14 nations in 1896, the Games have grown to 10,500 competitors from 205 countries at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, competing in 302 events in 28 sports
  • Records: The Games saw 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records set. A record 87 countries won a medal during the Games.
  • Great Britain is the only team to have won at least one gold medal at every Summer Games. London (UK) is the only city to host the games three times (1908, 1948, 2012)
  • France has hosted the Games on five occasions: (1900 in Paris (summer), 1924 in Chamonix (winter) and in Paris (summer), 1968 Grenoble (winter) and 1992 Albertville (winter). France sent a team of 323 athletes to the 2008 Summer Olympics
  • The United States is the only country to have won at least one gold medal at every Winter Olympics. The U.S. has hosted the Games on eight occasions, (1904 St Louis, MO (summer) ; 1932 Lake Placid, NY (winter) ; 1932 Los Angeles, CA (summer) ; 1960 Squaw Valley, CA (winter) ; 1980. Lake Placid, NY (winter) ; 1984 Los Angeles, CA (summer) ; 1996, Atlanta, GA (summer) ; 2002, Salt Lake City, UT (winter). The USA has sent athletes to every celebration of the modern Olympic Games, except the 1980 Summer Olympics, which it boycotted. (Moscow).
  • Opening ceremony delegations entrance: Traditionally (starting at the 1928 Summer Olympics), Greece enters first, due to its historical status as the origin of the Olympics, while the host nation marches last. Between these two nations, all other participating nations march in alphabetical order of the dominant language of the host country, or in French or English alphabetical order if the host country does not write its dominant language in an alphabet which has a set order. For the 2008 Summer Olympics, instead of using either French or English, the countries were ordered by how many strokes it took to write the country's name in Simplified Chinese. As a result, Australia (normally one of the first teams to enter the stadium) became one of the final teams to arrive, as the first character of the Chinese name of Australia (澳大利亚) has 16 strokes, followed by Zambia stroke). Guinea and Japan will be the first countries to enter the Bird’s nest (behind Greece)
  • Numbers: According to Nielsen Media Research, 4.7 billion viewers worldwide tuned in to some of the television coverage, one-fifth larger than the 3.9 billion who watched the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The 2008 Olympics was the most-viewed event in American television history. A total of an estimated US$42 billion were spent on the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, making it the most expensive games ever.

* To put an end to the story “who is first” here are the result if European Union competed under one flag! European Union: 280 medals (87 gold, 101 silver, 92 bronze) ; China 100 medals (51 golds, 21 silver, 28 bronze) ; USA 110 medals (36 gold, 38 silver, 36 bronze)!!