10 facts about the Olympics!
Learn all about this extraordinary international sporting event!
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are finally happening in Japan, a whole year after they were meant to take place! Are you excited, gang?! Let’s celebrate this astonishing event, by taking a look at ten top facts about the Olympics…
Don’t miss the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games on your screens from Friday 23rd July to Sunday 8th August.
Facts about the Olympics…
1. The first Olympic Games took place in 776BC
The original Olympics began as part of an Ancient Greek festival, which celebrated Zeus, the Greek God of sky and weather. The whole competition lasted for up to six months, and included games like wrestling, boxing, long jump, javelin, discus and chariot racing.
2. In 393 AD, the Olympic Games were cancelled and didn’t start up again for over 1,500 years!
Emperor Theodosius I, a Roman ruler, banned the Greek Olympics due to the religious element of the celebration. He considered the Olympics to be a pagan festival, which had no place in his Christian country.
So, that was the end of the Olympics until 1896, when a man named Baron Pierre de Coubertin started a revival of the Games. He called this new event the ‘modern Olympics’ – and it’s still going today!
3. The Olympic torch is a reminder of the Games’ Greek origins
In ancient times, a flame burned throughout the Games as a tribute to the goddess, Hestia. Since 1928, this tradition has continued in the modern Games, but instead of an altar, the flame burns in a special torch.
The torch flame is always lit by the sun in Olympia, Greece, as this is where the first Greek Games was held. Then, it’s passed from torch to torch in a massive international relay that ends in the host city – wow! New torches are designed for each Olympics, and several thousand copies are made. It’s a great honour to become a torchbearer, and lots of inspiring people get a turn each time.
DID YOU KNOW?
Lit Olympic torches have flown on planes, stayed alight underwater, and scaled Everest! Some unlit torches have even gone into space, too. Amazing!
4. The first Summer Olympic Games had just 14 participating countries
Teams from 11 European countries originally joined those of Australia, Chile, and the USA at the first host city, Athens. Now, more than 200 countries compete in the Olympics each year!
5. The Olympic symbol was designed to include everyone!
The Olympic rings were first produced in 1913, from a design created by the Games’ modern founder – Baron Pierre de Coubertin! Their five colours (along with the white backdrop) reflect colours found on the flags of all participating nations, so everyone is represented. The overlaps also represent international cooperation, and the coming together of athletes from all over the world – cute!
6. Motor boat sailing, hot air ballooning, and tug of war all used to be Olympic sports!
Over time, different sports and events are voted into (or out of) the Olympic Games. Some disappear, then return (like golf, or rugby), while others (like running deer shooting, or duelling pistols) go out of fashion forever – thankfully!
DID YOU KNOW?
Four new sports are making their debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Look out for skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing, and karate!
7. The first Winter Olympic Games were held in 1924, in a different city to the Summer Olympics.
At first, the Winter Olympics took place in the same year as the Summer ones, but organisers soon realised that it made more sense to hold them in different years! As a result, the Winter Olympics now occur two years after the Summer Olympics. Nice!
8. From 1921-1948, artists participated in the Olympics too
In these games, painters, sculptors, architects, writers, and musicians all took part! They competed for medals by creating works of art, that often celebrated the sporting successes going on at the same time. While artists stopped officially competing in 1948, many still design posters and other merchandise for the Games today!
9. Until 1912, first-place Olympic medals were made of solid gold!
Possibly one of our favourite facts about the Olympics! Sadly though, it’s no longer the case. Recent Games have given out around 5,000 bronze, silver, and gold medals in total – that’s a lot of metal! So instead of being created from solid gold, the heavy first-place medals are now covered in 6 grams of it.
DID YOU KNOW?
At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, medals will contain parts of old electronics, in an effort to make the Games more sustainable. Japanese citizens are donating these materials by recycling their old devices – cool!
10. The modern Olympic Games aren’t just about sporting glory – they’re about making friends, too!
While competitive spirit is important, the Games are also about international cooperation. They’re a great chance for people from countries around the world to meet up and get to know each other! For the 16 days of competition, athletes from all sports, religions, nationalities and cultures live and work together – and they often leave as good friends. Aww!
i finally got a good grade in school because of this thank you :D
I am very pleased with each and every one of these interesting facts! Thank you for the information!
cool i want to be a gymnast
Wow really nice and interesting facts!
I used this for a paragraph on the olympics and it was interesting.
I have learned so much from National Geographic!
Olympics are cool.
I loved all these interesting facts!
I love all the information in it.
I love learning and doing research on so many things, I manly use National Geographic. I made one on this for my teacher.
this is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is so cool and fun thank you
WOW! That's cool.
this is cool
I learned so much about the Olympics
This is nice
I love the Olympics so I learned a lot.
wow so cool
i learned a little bit cause i knew a lot already :l
I really wanted to learn about the olympics and this taught me so much.
I love to read about the Winter olympics.
Nice I learned alot
Cool!! I love learning about the Olympics!!!
aww it's so cute that they can become friends.
AMAZING!! Keep up the good work!
This is so cool I’m learning so much about the Olympics
That was cool!
This is really helpful!
this is really intresting!
Nice!! I love the Olymics!
thx for teaching me!)
Thank you so much! This helps me with a lot of my school work!!!!
this is rlly intresting tbh (this is really intresting to be honest)
I liked the first fact
This is so cool!
COOL awesome help with research home work!!!
Very interesting and nice to know about the history
amazing very interesting
this website is very entertaining
This website is awesome it shows u cool and fun facts
i've Never Though Torches Can go to many places like Space! Mind Blowing! :o
its all so cool
i never thought the torches could go up into space! :)
love this website
helped me for my report
i never thought the torches could go in space!
Thank you for this information about the Olympics. I really needed some facts for my school projiect. I also love your Nat Geo magazines and I learn alot from them! Thank you again for the information!
I just loved every part of it, especially the BMX bike tricks!
the olympics are cool, the winner of BMX freestyle (bike tricks) did such an EPIC trick! he literally made his bike do a flip while he was just in the air! and then he caught the handlebars and landed back on the bike seat!
I knew some about the Olympics but not torchbearing, it's really cool! It's too bad that art isn't in the Olympics anymore. Is there a kids' Olympics? Does anybody know?
This really helps, thank you National Geographic Kids!
Thanks it helped a lot
The Olympics is my dream! Going for the Paris Olympics 2024!!!
This will definitely help with my project ☻
SO AMAZING FACTS
Really helpful for my 11 year old students
Bow wow great stuff over there.
Love the website
those are cool facts
Cool! Make facts about rainbows!!
I already saw it... and it was AMAZING go AU
These fact are so cool!
there was some cool facts
I can't wait
This is Interesting to read! I definitely enjoyed that!! :):):) :):):):):):):):):):)!!!!
Amazing facts and SUPER COOL
the olimpics are so awesome!
Cute facts.. Loafs i dint know.... Its perfect for kids
wow so cool amazing
Wish the medals were still made of solid gold! But now its just 6 grams of gold :(.
so cool wish i was in the Olympics nice
thanks for this i needed it for public speaking! totally usisng the gold medal fact to start it off!
i love the olimpics i watch them every night when there on
omg l didnt see!
Yea its cool! I wonder why they stopped making medals out of gold tho :/
Awesome Thanks National Geographic kids for this really helped my work and the fact are amazing so again thank you for this post.
:/ artists stopped competing Cool!
these are realy amazing facts
it is soo cool
I love the Olympics
This Was an amazing website 10/10
Cool! what interesting facts !
Love the info!
I didn't know that!
I love the olympics
Love It Amazing!!!!!
I thought the first Olympics was 1896?
I found it very interesting to read
I really liked your facts! I will recommend them to my friends!
I absolutely LOVE the Olympics! What interesting facts! My favourite sport is the high jump and my favourite athlete is Tatjana Schoenmaker.
They were all very interesting!
I Loved the Olympics
I love the Olympic Games
Really interesting and good! Highly reccomended.
go Australia I watched every second of the Tokyo Olympics
Woah go NZ
it was very intresting and informative
That was great.
Hello everyone, I love Olympics alot !!!I am in The sport shooting...I always practice and have a dream about participating in Olympics...Now I have passed my state matches..!..
These Were Some Amazing Facts!! Never new that the olympics torch had even been is Space!
The Olympics is Bomb and I support my nationalities!!!
Great facts thanks
Go AUSSIES!! and thanks for the informal texts about the Olympics. I love the Olympics, Question which team does everyone go for me AUSSIE!!
i love the olympics i love watching people running th4x100 metre race its so exciting
I really liked reading the info about the olympics and I really enjoyed it! Great Job.
I loved this
great i was gonna do a quiz about olympics so i read this
I love the olympics
I love watching the olympics, it is so awesome!!!
cool facts! it' sad though that hot air ballon isn't an Olympic sport anymore. that was sounds awesome
It was very fun learning about the Olympics! Thank you!!!
It was very informal with lots of detailed facts
I love the olympics
so cool! cant wait for your next one
I did not know there were Winter Olympics
I loved it so much and i a'm interest ed
Very helpful information
Wow so cool
Very cool! I love national geographic, its my fav!
These were all interesting facts. Thanks!
wow wow wow wow so interesting
Why can't I be in the Olympics doesn't anyone agree like cricket should be in the Olympics
wow wow wow
This was very helpful for me thank you
I can't wait to watch sky brown competing for team GB in skateboarding.
we will and we can
I LOVED THE FACTS THEY WERE AWESOME!
I'll check it out!!
I like basketball Hahahhahahahahhahahahahahah
I’m so good at kakaing
The facts were great
I love the nat geo magazines!
Great Effort Guys!
I did not know most of those facts
I didn't know that in 1912 in the first-place olympic medals were made out of solid gold! BY BIG BOB
Cool but could have more facts
I like the story of the Olympics because it’s really interacting.
I really like all the information that you put in for the Olympics I know no that the Olympic were banned in 1835
Hope Philippines can host Olympic Games soon.
Cool they were some amazing facts
its so cool to now know this stuff because I didn't know it.
cool can not wait
Oh wow such cool facts OMG love them I’m a shark :D
Wow i can belive the medals are made out of electronics
Nice! Can't wait for the OLYMPICS!
Thats so cool!I didn't know most if these facts.
I it was instring to me
these fact where good for my report
wow great facts
I so am entering the Olympic Games
It says at the end that it's all about the athletes making friends, but with COVID, I wonder if that is possible or whether they will have to isolate.
these were cool!!!
These facts are so cool
I am really exited for skateboarding because sky brown is on the GB team at only 13 years old she is so amazing at skateboarding and inspired me to have a go at it to
These were really cool facts.