Now the countdown to Rio 2016 is underway, check out some of our favourite Olympic facts!

1. Since 1992, Olympic organisers have provided free condoms to athletes in the Olympic Village. 150,000 were handed out at London 2012! There are no medals for this event, so we still don’t know who came first!



2. In 1948, comedian, Bobby Davro’s dad, Bill Nankeville didn’t make much of an impression on the medals table, managing 6th for GB in the 1500m.


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3. In 1952, Josy Barthel of Luxembourg’s victory in the 1500m was so unexpected, officials had failed to provide sheet music for the tiny state’s national anthem. The band were forced to improvise and poor Barthel was reduced to tears on the podium.  Nil points!

A musical triangle being played by hands isolated against a red background in the square format with copy space.


4. In 1936, US segregation laws meant black athlete Jesse Owens was forced to use a goods lift in the Waldorf Astoria to attend the official reception. Out of order.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Glasshouse Images/REX/Shutterstock (4596114a) Jesse Owens, Track Star, 1936 Olympic Summer Games, Berlin, Germany VARIOUS

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5. Contestants at the Ancient Games in Olympia competed in the nude. Let’s hope they hit a winning streak!



6. Strewth! He must be quackers! In 1928, Henry Pearce of Australia stopped rowing in his quarter final to allow a family of ducks to pass safely in front of his boat. He went on to win Gold.



7. You had one job! In 1932, Steeplechasers were forced to run an extra lap when an official lost count.



8. In 1900, American Margaret Abbott won Gold in the women’s golf…and didn’t even know it! Holidaying in Paris with her mother to visit the World’s Fair, she took part in what she thought was a golf tournament to celebrate the Fair. Well, she certainly wasn’t playing around because she took the top prize, but returned to the States not knowing she’d won!



9. In 1976, every female competitor had to undergo a sex test. The only exception was Team GB’s Princess Anne. There’s a lot to be said for a Royal Pardon.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Colorsport/REX/Shutterstock (3156144a) Equestrianism - 1976 Montreal Olympics - Mixed Three-Day Event Individual Jumping HRH Princess Anne of Great Britain on Goodwill in the show jumping section She finished 13th in the jumping section and 24th overall 1976 Montreal Olympics Sport

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10. Muhammad Ali was so nervous about flying to the 1960 Games in Rome he bought a parachute and wore it throughout the flight. Less float like a butterfly and more sink like a bee!

FILE - In this Sept. 3, 1960, file photo, Cassius Clay, right, 18-year-old from Louisville, Ky., throws a right at Tony Madigan of Australia, during the light heavyweight boxing semifinals at the Summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. Cassius Clay later changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Ali turns 70 on Jan. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/File)

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11. Athlete turned actor, Johnny Weismuller won five swimming Golds and never lost a race. He went on to find fame as Tarzan in a series of films and once used his famous jungle cry to win over some Cuban rebels who attempted to kidnap him during a round of golf in 1958. Should have known better than to interrupt Tarzan when he’s practising his swing!

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Sipa Press/REX/Shutterstock (106058d) JOHNNY WEISMULLER AS 'TARZAN' JOHNNY WEISSMULLER RETROSPECTIVE

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12. Drugs cheat Ben Johnson was hired by Colonel Gadaffi as a fitness coach for his son Al-Saadi who wanted to be a footballer. Stone me!

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Nick Cornish/REX/Shutterstock (422976m) AL SAADI GADHAFI AL SAADI QADHAFI AT PERUGIA FOOTBALL CLUB, TORRE ALFINA, ITALY - 2003

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13. In 1912, exhausted Japanese Marathon runner, Shiso Kanakuri, was so disorientated he stumbled off the official course into a garden, where a family was having a picnic. They fed and watered him and put him to bed. He was so ashamed when he woke up, he decided to Nippon back to Japan without telling anyone.


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14. After Seoul 1988, the Olympic tradition of releasing live doves was abandoned.  Sadly, the birds landed on the edge of the Olympic cauldron just as it was lit and burned to death. Flaming peck!

Green Grass and Blue Sky