With the 2008 Beijing Olympics
1) When the Olympic Games were re-established in Athens in 1896, due to lack of international advertising, many of the contestants were simply tourists who found themselves in the Athens area.
2) Women first participated as contestants during the 1900 Olympic Games held in Paris.
3) Following on from World War I, which saw the cancelling of the Berlin Olympics, the aggressors of the war (Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey and Hungary) were not sent official invitations by the Organizing Committee for both the 1920 and 1924 Olympics.
4) Another result of World War I was that most people could not afford tickets to go to the Olympics held in Ambers in 1920, leading Belgium to lose over 600 million francs from hosting the games.
5) Charlie Chaplin and Marlene Dietrich were amongst some of the stars who attended the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Attendance otherwise was poor as a result of the Great Depression.
6) Italian Luigi Beccali, winner of the gold medal in the 1,500-metre race, made Olympic history during 1932 by giving the Fascist salute while mounted on the victory platform.
7) The Berlin 1936 Olympics are infamous as a result of their Nazi backdrop. Hitler used the games as a platform to broadcast Nazi ideology, with Leni Riefenstahl filming the Games and turning them into the propaganda movie Olympia.
8) Jesse Owens, a black athlete from the United States, was the star of 1936, winning four gold medals. Hitler did not shake his hand.
9) Japan pulled out of hosting the Olympics in 1940 due to Allied countries planning a boycott and Japan itself deciding the games were a distraction from their wartime goals. The 1944 Helsinki Olympics were cancelled as well.
10) A war-torn Britain was not wealthy enough to foot the entire bill for the London 1948 Olympics and so requested that all participants bring their own food.
11) London was the first Olympics to have a political defection – Marie Provaznikova won a gold medal for the Czechoslovakian gymnastics team and then refused to return home, citing “lack of freedom” due to the country’s recent inclusion in the Soviet bloc.
12) During the 1952 Olympic Games held in Helsinki, the Soviet Union set up their own separate Olympic Village for Eastern bloc countries.
13) Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon boycotted the 1956 Melbourne Games after Israel invaded Egypt in a coordinated attack orchestrated by Britain and France’s dispute over the Suez Canal.
14) Ten days before the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, the Mexican army surrounded a group of students who were protesting against the government and opened fire. An estimated 267 people were killed and over 1,000 were wounded.
15) When African-Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos won the gold and bronze medals for the 200-metre race in 1968, they both stood on the victory platform and raised a black-gloved hand to salute as a sign of black power.
16) Drug testing was introduced during the 1968 games.
17) One day before the 1972 Munich Olympics, eight Palestinian terrorists entered the Olympic Village and murdered nine Israeli participants.
18) Mark Spitz from the United States was the champion of 1972, winning seven gold medals for swimming.
19) In 1976, 26 African countries boycotted the Montreal Games as a result of New Zealand being granted attendance despite their rugby team playing in Apartheid South Africa.
20) The United States and 61 other countries boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics as a result of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. This makes it the largest boycott in Olympic history.
21) China participated in the 1984 Olympics for the first time since 1932.
22) As a result of Canada ending up massively in debt after hosting the Olympics in 1976, corporate sponsorship was introduced in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
23) In 1988 the rule that participants had to be amateur was overturned, with it now being up to individual sports groups to decide if professionals could partake.
24) Barcelona 1992 represented the first Olympic Games in three decades that was boycott free.
25) The centennial Olympic Games were held in Atlanta in 1996. As a result of no government support, this year marked the commercialization of the event.
26) Boxing champion Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic torch during the 1996 games, which included a tribute to civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
27) Afghanistan was unable to attend the 2000 Sydney Olympics due to the Taliban’s ban on sport.
28) Athens 2004 marked the first time that major broadcasters were allowed to show video footage of the event online.