There are a load of countries that don't have any representatives at the Olympics this year, which is pretty interesting. I found a few interesting things I didn't know.
Countries not represented that you've heard of include: Antarctica, Burma, Christmas Island, Estonia (only famous person from Estonia was Brendan Fraser in Encino Man, remember?), French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Greenland, Guadeloupe, The Vatican City, Macau, Martinique, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan (really? 20 years ago everything in the Olympics would have been Made in Taiwan)
|Most famous Estonian?: Character from Encino Man or Ants Antson, |
Olympic skater? Or perhaps, a ballerina named Tiit?
Can you remember WHO hosted the last few Olympics?
Other interesting tid-bits for guys like me who are in their 30s and haven't really cared about the Olympics - the current standings where the winter and summer events are held on separate years is a relatively new shift from only about 1994, before which, the summer and winter games were held in the same year.
(I tried to remember the latest games, and realized I couldn't remember anything before Lillehammer and Atlanta - and for good reason, I was hardly old enough to ride a bike! I was surprised to find the format was basically new by the early 90s.)
Cancelled Olympics and Nazis
Also, there's a well-circulated, though still surprising story of the Nazi origins of the Olympic relay. You can read a lot more about it here if you'd like,as I don't really want to elaborate on it too much, but it's still interesting.
The Nazi's use of propaganda and hyper-nationalism is widely documented, so this isn't a surprising origin. In fact, if you look at how major sporting events carefully and traditionally incorporate national elements like singing anthems, rising flags and having a military presence (like flyovers or honouring veterans during the games, etc), it's kind of creepy to think that they were originally adopted with Nazi purposes.
Berlin was set to host the 1916 Olympics before they were cancelled due to World War I, then, the Nazis used the games to promote their agenda, hosting the summer games in '36 in Berlin, and the winter games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Four years later, the winter games were to be held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen again, but they were also cancelled due to World War II. Before the Olympics could return in 1948, Germany was to host the winter games again, and their Axis allies Italy and Japan were to host them three times.
Cool book on the origins of the Olympics (fiction)
I read this book back in like 2003? I'm not sure. Maybe 2004? I lent to a buddy and never saw it again, but recall it being a great, fun read. Check it out if you're into the possible, fictionalized origins of the first ever Olympic games in The Olympiad by Thomas Holt.
Olympians as a unit of measureAnd there was an article published that's trying to make a point of some kind, when they report: 69 Nations Have More U.S. Troops Than Olympic Athletes This headline is somewhat unclear, but what the author is saying is that the U.S. has sent more soldiers to these nations than the U.S. has sent to London to be in the Olympics.
There are the types of Nations you'd expect to see, like Kuwait, Iraq and Iran, but there are others that you you might be surprised to hear, like: The Bahamas, Belgium, Cuba, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.