Familiarize Yourself with These Olympics Facts
By Claire Miles - July 31, 2022

In 760 BC, the first ancient Olympic games took place, although only one event was competed in. The only competition in the first ancient Olympics was foot racing. Later Olympic competitions included equestrian and many track and field competitions, including the javelin and discus. The only two nations that have competed in every modern Olympic event are Greece and Australia. Michael Phelps, a swimmer for the United States, maintains the milestone for the most Olympic medals won with 22 across his many Olympic tournaments. Larissa Latynina, a Soviet gymnast who won 18 medals throughout her career at the Olympics, lost the record to him. Michael Phelps has won more gold medals individually than many nations have in their history. Phelps has won more gold medals individually than Portugal and Mexico combined.

Getty images/AFP/ ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/ Contributor

Three hundred eleven male competitors competed in the inaugural modern Olympic Games, held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. There were no female competitors in the inaugural Olympic games. Olympic competition for women did not begin until 1900 in Paris, France. When the Olympics began, an olive branch wreath served as the winning trophy. Occasionally painted gold, and other times they were unpainted. The gold medal we know today was not adopted by the Olympics until much later. Even though they are called gold medals, the current ones awarded for winning an Olympic competition aren’t constructed entirely of the priceless metal. The medals constitute primarily sterling silver.

Only 1% of the gold used to make the medals during the Rio Olympics was actual gold. The Olympics have been held only three times in London, the only city globally. The Olympic Games have been held twice in Paris, Los Angeles, and Athens. When Los Angeles hosts the Olympics for the third time in 2028, it will tie London for the most time. Despite participating in 16 previous Olympic competitions, Lichtenstein has never received a medal. The nation has participated in most games without winning a medal.