1. The first Olympic games began in, you guessed it, Olympia way back in 776 BC. They were originally associated with a religious festival dedicated to Zeus. They occurred every 4 years and continued for about the next 12 centuries. However, they stopped in 393 AD and did not make a return until over 1500 in the summer of 1896 AD in Athens, Greece.
2. These first modern Olympic games were organized by the same organization that runs the Olympics today -the IOC (International Olympic Committee).
3. The original events included: cycling, fencing, gymnastics, sailing, shooting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting, wrestling – all summer events.
4. This is because the winter Olympic games were not introduced until 1924 in Chamonix, France.
5. Originally, the Olympics were only for men – as competitors and as fans. During the ancient games, men also competed nude.
6. It wasn’t until the 20th century, that women entered the Olympic scene. Margaret Abbott was one of the first female Olympians, having entered the 1900 Olympics. Not only did she compete, but she also was the first woman to win a gold medal.
7. 112 years later, the 2012 Olympic Games held in London, were the first in which all participating countries sent female athletes.
8. The Olympic Rings were introduced in 1913, but did not make their Olympic debut until 1920 in Antwerp. The rings represent the five inhabited continents of the world.
9. The Olympic Torch, another symbol of the games, is lit in Olympia, Greece and traverses sometimes thousands of miles, before it reaches the Olympic stadium and the opening ceremony.
10. Since their founding, the Olympic Games have been hosted by 23 different countries.