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20 Rare Historical Facts about Olympic Games That You Never Knew

11. In the 1972 Olympics, Mark Spitz, a nine-time Olympic swimming champion, jokingly told a Russian coach that his moustache helped him swim faster and deflects water from his mouth. The Russian translated it to other coaches and the next year every swimmer had a moustache. 

Mark Spitz
Image Source: history

Mark Spitz’s moustache became very famous when he participated in the Olympics. At a time when all the swimmers shaved off their body hair, Spitz grew a moustache. Though he intended to shave it off before the games, he kept it on because he got many compliments for it. He shaved off it a year later.(source)


12. During the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, 70, 000 condoms were not enough for the athletes, and a second order of 20,000 had to be made. Since then, a standing order of 100,000 condoms were made for every Olympics. 

Olympic Village
Image Source: lobalnews

The Olympic Villages are known to house around 10,000 athletes for the Summer Games and around 2,700 for the Winter Games. There is a huge assortment of people from all over the world, forming new acquaintances and friendships. According to many previous participants, the village is a melting pot with athletes looking to relax by engaging in silly or sexual activities after a hard day’s work.(source)


13. In the 1908 Olympics, pistol dueling was featured as an associate event. The contestants used wax bullets and wore metal helmets for protection. 

Wax Bullet Dueling
Image Source: gizmodo

Wax bullets were used for many purposes, especially by illusionists. When the bullets were fired from the firearm, they would melt away because of the heat and the illusionist would trick the audience that he had caught the bullet. In the early 20th century, people began showing interest in using them for mock duels, which also became part of the 1908 Olympics. The sport soon lost popularity and was discontinued.(source)


14. For the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, because of the Great Depression, the Brazilian athletes had to sell coffee while travelling to fund their trip to the venue.

Brazil in 1932 Olympics
Image Source: tripod, knowyourgrinder

At that time, San Pedro authorities charged a dollar per person to disembark at the Port of Los Angeles. Because of that, the organizers only used athletes who had a better chance of winning to sell coffee there. A few other athletes got financed after selling coffee again at San Francisco. The rest of 15 athletes who couldn’t get financed and authorized, had to stay behind in the ship and didn’t compete.(source)

15. There is a strict rule that the Flame of Olympic torch must be the same flame lit at the start of the relay in Greece. Multiple copies of the original flame are transported in case the relay torch goes out for any reason. 

Olyping Flame in Greece
Image Source: greece-is

In ancient Greece, the Olympic flame was lit using the sun rays concentrated by a parabolic mirror at the Temple of Hera. The flame stays ablaze throughout the event. As the modern Olympics are conducted at different venues far away from Greece, the flame is lit months in advance at the Olympia lighting ceremony and carried using torches to the venue’s cauldron. There have been many incidents in which the torches, and once even the cauldron, had gone out. To prevent this, more than one torch is used.(source)


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