The Olympics began in Greece in the 8th century BC and were based on combat and chariot racing. The ancient Greeks competed in the nude.
In the year 393, the Olympics were banned by a ruler named Theodosius because he thought they were encouraging paganism. (Paganism- PAY gun ism, worshiping false gods). In 1894, renewed interest brought the games back.
Since the Greeks were the originators of the Olympics, they are always the country leading all the rest when they enter the stadium for the opening ceremonies.
Boating was an Olympic sport in 1908.
Women were first allowed to compete in the Olympics in the year 1900.
The United States currently holds the most Summer Olympic medals (total) at 2400 medals.We have won 281 medals in the Winter Olympics.
The first International Olympics had 14 countries participating.
The Olympic flag has 5 circles, which represent the continents: Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe, and 'Oceania,' (the area in the Pacific Ocean including Australia and several islands).
The color of the rings were chosen because every nation has at least one of those colors in its flag.
Russia didn't participate in the Olympics from 1912 to 1952.
There were no Olympics in 1916, 1940, or 1944, due to World Wars I and II.
The last time gold medals given at the Olympics were solid gold was in 1912.
In 1960, the Olympics were held in Squaw Valley, California and Walt Disney was in charge of the opening ceremonies.
Ice Hockey and Figure Skating used to be part of the summer Olympics.
Up until 1994, both the Winter and Summer Olympics were held every four years. After 1994, they were 'staggered' so that one or the other is held every two years, but still in four year intervals. That means the Summer Olympics were held in 2008, and will be in 2012, 2016, 2020. The Winter Olympics have been/will be in 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018.
Professional athletes weren't allowed to compete in the Olympics until 1981.
The youngest person, or at least one of the youngest persons, to win a gold medal was Marjorie Gestring of the United States, who won for diving in 1936. She was 13 years old.
The Olympics had never taken place in South America until now, and have not taken place in Asia or Africa. The games are specifically held by a city and not a country.
What about the torch that will light the Olympic flame?
The torch was lit in Olympia, Greece, as the tradition dictates. For these summer games, it was lit on April 21. It arrived in Brasilia on May 3. Follow its journey here: https://www.olympic.org/rio-2016-torch-relay On August 5, it will be used to light the cauldron in Rio to signify the opening of the games.
The Paralympics are also held every four years (Summer and Winter), for people with disabilities. Learn more about it at: