Tokyo 2020 has begun and what a brilliant start Team GB are having!
From July 23rd until 8th August and from 24th August until 5th September for the Paralympics, we’ll be glued to the most prestigious international sporting events for athletes around the world.
Even those who aren’t particularly sporty enjoy watching this magical display of sporting prowess and just knowing that the whole world watches together is so thrilling. Adding to the excitement, we can enjoy five new sports this year!
Of course, things are different this year as there are no international fans watching but both athletes and fans are united in their excitement after having the Games postponed for a year…. mixed with, perhaps, a little poignancy?
Let’s start with a bit of history
· Legend has it that The Roman Hercules started the Games in Olympia, Greece, in 776 BC and named them Olympic Games.
· The Games were held every four years in honour of Heracles’ father, Zeus.
· They were held in Greece for Greeks only.
· The events consisted of mainly athletics but also wrestling, horse and chariot events and something called ‘pankration’ which was an often-violent mix of boxing and wrestling (sometimes resulted in death!).
· The Games came to an end in 393 BC as they were accused of being pagan and banned.
When did the Games restart?
· In Athens in 1896.
· These first modern Olympic Games were started by a French aristocrat called Pierre de Courbetin, who apparently had been inspired by a visit to the ancient Olympic site. He founded the IOC (International Olympic Committee) which is still the governing body. The IPC organizes the Paralympic Games.
· The Games were held every four years.
Anything interesting about the first Games?
· There were 280 athletes, all male, from 12 countries.
· There were 43 events and it’s opening ceremony attracted a crowd of more than 60,000 people
· The first Olympic marathon took place.
And the first Paralympic Games?
· These took place in Rome in 1960.
· Before these there had been some physically disabled athletes taking part. George Eyser won 6 medals with a wooden leg in the 1904 Games.
How to get involved this year? Celebrate at home!
· The TV’s on, tension is rising, and emotions are charged (…and you’re not the one competing!).
· Why not make it memorable by enjoying some delicious snacks and maybe a glass of something whilst watching the world’s best athletes perform?
· Watching over the weekend with the family? Check out our family hampers!
· Hosting an Olympics garden party? Check out our picnic hampers!
· Feeling patriotic? Enjoy a quintessentially British afternoon tea hamper whilst cheering on Team GB!
Fun Facts about the Olympics
· Olympians’ times can be measured at one millionth of a second.
· Omega is the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games and has been since 1932.
· The oldest ever Olympian was a Swede called Oscar Swahn. He was almost 73 when he competed in shooting at the 1920 Olympics.
· The youngest confirmed Olympian was a Greek gymnast, Dimitrios Loundras, who 10 years old in Athens in 1896.
· Currently the youngest GB athlete taking part in this year’s Games is Sky Brown, a skateboarder, who has just turned 13!
· The US has bagged the most medals.
· Muhammed Ali feared flying so he wore a parachute during his flight to the 1960 games in Rome!
· 3 continents have never hosted an Olympics – Africa, South America and Antartica.
· 19 countries have hosted the Olympics since 1896.
· London is the only city that has hosted 3 Summer Olympics.
· The motto of the Olympics is Latin ‘Citius- Altius- Fortius’. Adopted in 1924 it means faster, higher, stronger.
· The opening ceremony procession is led by Greeks with the host country at the end.
· London 2012 was known as the Women’s Games as for the first time women weren’t barred from a single sport AND for the first time each nation sent a female competitor.
· There have been 2 boycotts of the Games:
1980 Moscow, 66 countries boycotted due to the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in 1979.
1984 LA was boycotted by the Soviet Union & it’s allies in Europe’s Eastern Block countries.
Have the Games run every four years since 1896?
There have been three cancellations – 1916, 1940 and 1944 for the World Wars.
Then, of course, 2020 postponed due to the pandemic.
Strange past Olympic Events!
· Motor boating 1908.
· Horse Long Jump 1900.
· Horse High Jump 1900.
· Poodle clipping 1900.
Turns out 1900 was an odd year!
Top 3 most watched Olympic sports
3. Track & Field.
And those sports making their Olympic debut this year?
· Speed climbing.
And one sport making a comeback after being absent since the 2008 Games…