How It Works

Top 5 Facts: The Olympics

1 – Politics and sport
The unhappy involvement of politics is not only a modern phenomenon. The ancient organisers too sometimes tarnished the Olympic spirit by excluding rival city-states.

2 – The marathon
There was no marathon race in the ancient Olympic Games – and the story of Pheidippides’ run from the Battle of Marathon to Athens in 490 BCE is only a legend.

3 – Winning women?
Although women were not allowed to participate in the ancient games, they could be registered as Olympic victors – by putting up the money for a winning chariot team.
4 – War games
The Summer Olympics were cancelled due to war in 1916, 1940 and 1944, and the same happened in ancient times too. However these Olympiads still count for dating purposes.
5 – Pierre de Coubertin
The modern Olympics were the brainchild of educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who felt he was resurrecting the bygone ideal of ‘a sound mind in a sound body’.