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facts & figures

  1. Motto - "Citius, Altius, Fortius" - Swifter, Higher, Stronger.
  2. Symbol and Flag - Five interlaced rings (blue, yellow, black, green, red) symbolize the five continents (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania). It is said that at least one of the five colors appear in the flag of every nation of the world. The Olympic flag appeared for the first time in Antwerp 1920.
  3. Creed - "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." - Baron Pierre de Coubertin
  4. Hymn - The Olympic hymn was first performed at the 1896 Olympics in Athens. The score was composed by Spyros Samaras and written by Constantine Palamas. It was officially adopted as the hymn in 1958.
  5. The first final to be held in the 1896 Games was the triple jump (hop, step and jump).
  6. James Connolly, was the first modern Olympian. Connolly was a college freshman who had been refused a leave of absence from Harvard to compete in the Athens Games, quit school. He traveled to Athens at his own expenses.
  7. Connolly's victory was saluted by the playing of the "Star Spangled Banner" and the raising of the American flag. Those practices have been part of all Olympic ceremonies ever since.
  8. The Olympic Motto Citius, Fortius, Altius, which stands for Faster, Stronger, Higher was inspired by Michel Breal and introduced in the Games of 1896.
  9. 13 countries participated in the First Olympic Games. They were: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States. Out of those thirteen, only Australia, France, Great Britain and Greece have participated in every single Olympic Games since 1896 and only France and Great Britain have also participated in every single Winter Olympic Games.
  10. About 245 athletes (all men) participated in the First Modern Olympiad in Athens.
  11. Canada is the only host country not to win a gold medal (Montreal 1976).
  12. 3 sports have appeared in every single Olympic Games - Track and Field, Fencing and Swimming.
  13. 3 athletes have won four gold medals in the same individual event - Al Oerter (USA), Carl Lewis (USA), Paul Elvstrom (DEN).
  14. Most golds won in a single Games - 7 by swimmer Mark Spitz (USA) in 1972.
  15. Most golds won by a female in a single Games - 6 by swimmer Kristin Otto (GDR)
  16. Most medals won in a single Games - 8 (3-4-1) by gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin (URS) in 1980 and swimmer (6-0-2) Michael Phelps (USA) in 2004
  17. Most all-time gold medals won - 9 by Paavo Nurmi (FIN), Larisa Latynina (URS), Mark Spitz (USA), Carl Lewis (USA).
  18. Most all-time medals won - 18 (9-5-4) by gymnast Larisa Latynina (URS) over a span of three Olympics (1956-1964)
  19. Most all-time medals won by a male - 15 by gymnast Nikolai Andrianov (URS) (1972-1980)
  20. Most all-time medals won by a female - 18 by Latynina, 12 by Jenny Thompson
  21. Most medals won in a single Games by a female American - 5 by swimmers Natalie Coughlin (2004), Shirley Babashoff, and Dara Torres; gymnasts Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Shannon Miller (1992); and track star Marion Jones (2000).
  22. Most all-time medals won by an American - 12 by Jenny Thompson, 11 by Mark Spitz/Matt Biondi/Carl Osburn, 10 by Gary Hall (5-3-2)
  23. Number of nations that have never won a medal - 86.

Only four athletes have won medals in both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games:

  • Eddie Eagan, United States - Light Heavyweight Boxing Gold (1920) and Four-man Bobsleigh Gold (1932). Eagan is the only athlete to win GOLD medals in both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games.
  • Jacob Tullin Thams, Norway - Ski Jumping Gold (1924) and 8-meter Yachting Silver (1936)
  • Christa Luding-Rothenburger, East Germany - Speed Skating Gold at 500m (1984) and 1000m (1988), silver at 500m (1988) and bronze at 500m (1992), plus Match Sprint Cycling Silver (1988). Luding-Rothenburger is also the only athlete ever to win medals in both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games in the same year.
  • Clara Hughes, Canada - Cycling Bronze in Individual Road Race and Individual Time Trial (1996), plus 5000m Speed Skating Bronze (2002)

WINTER OLYMPICS All-Time Medal Standings 1924-2002

All-Time Leading Medal Winners

All-Time Leading Gold Medal Winners

12

Bjorn Dählie, NOR

8

Bjorn Dählie, NOR

10

Raisa Smetanina, URS/EUN (W)

6

Lyubov Egorova, EUN/RUS (W)

9

Sixten Jernberg, SWE

6

Lydia Skoblikova, URS (W)

9

Lyubov Egorova, EUN/RUS (W)

5

Clas Thunberg, FIN

8

Galina Kulakova, URS (W)

5

Eric Heiden, USA

8

Karin (Enke) Kania, GDR (W)

5

Larissa Lazutina, EUN/RUS (W)

8

Gunda Neimann-Stirnemann, GER (W)

5

Bonnie Blair, USA (W)

7

Clas Thunberg, FIN

4

Sixten Jernberg, SWE

7

Ivar Ballangrud, NOR

4

Ivar Ballangrud, NOR

7

Veikko Hakulinen, FIN

4

Gunde Svan, SWE

7

Eero Mäntyranta, FIN

4

Yevgeny Grishin, URS

7

Bogdan Musiol, GDR/GER

4

Johann Olav Koss, NOR

7

Larissa Lazutina, EUN/RUS (W)

4

Matti Nykänen, FIN

7

Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen, FIN (W)

4

Aleksandr Tikhonov, URS

7

Elena Valbe, EUN/RUS (W)

4

Nikolai Zimyatov, URS

7

Andrea Ehrig, GDR (W)

4

Thomas Wassberg, SWE

7

Stefania Belmondo, ITA (W)

4

Raisa Smetanina, URS/EUN (W)

6

Gunde Svan, SWE

4

Galina Kulakova, URS (W)

6

Vegard Ulvang, NOR

4

Lee-Kyung Chun, KOR (W)

6

Johan Gröttumsbråten, NOR

 

 

6

Wolfgang Hoppe, GDR/GER

 

 

6

Eugenio Monti, ITA

 

 

6

Vladimir Smirnov, URS/EUN/KAZ

 

 

6

Mika Myllylae, FIN

 

 

6

Roald Larsen, NOR

 

 

6

Harri Kirvesniemi, FIN

 

 

6

Lydia Skoblikova, URS (W)

 

 

6

Bonnie Blair, USA (W)

 

 

6

Manuela Di Centa, ITA (W)

 

 

Olympic Flame and Cauldron Lighters

During the ancient Olympic Games in Greece, a sacred flame burned at the altar of Zeus, in whose honor the Games were held. Its lighting signaled the opening of the Games, and extinguishing signaled their end. The first Olympic flame of the modern era was lit in Amsterdam in 1928. Berlin's organizing committee arranged the first torch relay, which has been in place ever since.

Year

City

Cauldron Lighter

1936

Berlin

Fritz Schligen -- Track and Field

1948

London

John Mark -- Track and Field

1952

Helsinki

Hannes Kolehmainen -- Track and Field

1956

Melbourne

Ron Clarke -- Track and Field

1960

Rome

Giancarlo Peris -- Track and Field

1964

Toyko

Yoshinori Sakai -- Born in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945

1968

Mexico City

Enriqueta Basilio -- Track and Field (first woman)

1972

Munich

Guenter Zahn -- Track and Field

1976

Montreal

Sandra Henderson, Stephane Prefontaine -- Representing Canada's English and French heritages

1980

Moscow

Sergei Belov -- Basketball

1984

Los Angeles

Rafer Johnson -- Track and Field

1988

Seoul

Chong Son-Man, Kim Won-Tak, Son Mi-Jong -- Representing South Korea's commitment to education

1992

Barcelona

Antonio Rebollo -- Archery (Paralympics)

1996

Atlanta

Muhammad Ali -- Boxing

2000

Sydney

Cathy Freeman -- Track and Field

2004

Athens

Nikolaos Kaklamanakis -- Sailing


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