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Facts About the Olympic Games

For the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, the Roman Olympic Organisation Committee made a deal with the Association of Roman Thieves for the latter not to engage in street thefts during the Olympics. During the games, incidents of pickpocketing, purse snatching, and hold-ups were at a low. (source)

View more facts about: Crime | Sports and Games

The sole appearance of croquet at the Olympics was in the 1900 games, held at Paris. All of the competitors were French. (source)

At the 1988 Winter Olympics, Robert Alvarez finished so far behind in the 50-kilometre cross-country skiing event that a search party was sent out to look for him. (source)

At the 1936 Olympics, the heavy favourite to win the women's 100-metre dash was Poland's Stella Walsh. At the previous Olympics, in 1932, she had run the 100-metres in 11.9 seconds, beating the second-place Hilde Strike, a Canadian. However, this time, a young American named Helen Stephens ran Walsh into the dirt, finishing with a time of just 11.5 seconds. Walsh and Polish officials cried foul, claiming that Stephens was a male ringer disguised as a woman. Officials eventually decided that the only way to settle the controversy was for Stephens to disrobe in front of female attendants. She did, proving that she was a woman, and won the gold medal. Walsh later moved to the United States, where she was killed by a bank robber in 1980. After "her" death, it was discovered that Walsh was, in fact, a man. Following this discovery, Strike was declared the gold medal winner in the hundred-metres in the 1932 Olympics. (source)

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When Cuban postman Feliz Carvajal decided to compete in the marathon at the 1904 Olympics, he had to beg for money in Havana's public square to pay for his fare to the United States. When he reached New Orleans, he was fleeced by gamblers and ended up broke, still 700 miles away from St. Louis. So, he ran from New Orleans to St. Louis, begging for food along the way. He reached St. Louis just as the marathon was about to begin. At one point he was in the lead, but he stopped en route to speak with spectators and to eat unripe fruit. He got indigestion and fell to fourth place, out of the medals. (source)

During the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, the German national anthem was played 480 times. (source)

The only Olympians to win gold in the same event in four consecutive Olympic games are Al Oerter, who won gold in the discus in 1956 through 1968, and Carl Lewis, who won gold in the long jump between 1984 and 1996. (source)

The only event in the first Olympic Games in Olympia, held in 776 B.C., was a footrace, slightly over 200 yards in length, down the centre of the stadium. The winner, Coroebus of Elis, was awarded an olive branch. (source)

View more facts about: Firsts | Sports and Games

In the 1904 Olympic marathon, Fred Lorz of the United States took an early lead, but dropped out halfway through due to the heat. After recuperating, he took a ride in one of the many cars following the runners along the marathon route. The car broke down five miles from the finish line, so Lorz decided to run the rest of the course from there. He entered the stadium and crossed the finish line in first place, or at least it appeared that way to everyone in the stadium. He was about to be awarded the gold medal when the ruse was revealed. (source)

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