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A Guide to the Past and Future Summer Games
A Guide to the Past and Future Summer Games

The 2016 Rio Summer Games are expected to be a huge event, with athletes from all over the world gather to compete for gold.  There has been plenty of drama and excitement leading up to the games, so in order to prepare for them, this guide will help you through who is competing and what events are to be taking place.  It should add up for enough emotion to make it one of the best Summer Games that has been held in recent memory.  You’ll be able to find who’s participating and have a look back at some of the most memorable events that have happened in previous Summer Games.  Enjoy the guide and get ready to cheer for your home country, as the athletes prepare for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio!

 

Events of the 2016 Rio Summer Games

There are plenty of events scheduled during the 2016 Summer Games.  You can find anything from rugby, to tennis, basketball, and rowing.  All of these events prove to be worthwhile, and you can bet some of the best athletes will be attending.  Whether you want to see Michael Phelps try and break more of the world swimming records, or the USA basketball team prove their dominance, there is something on display for everyone.  Simone Biles is looking to revamp American’s interest in gymnastics, trying to prove why she belongs among the world’s best champions.

 

Info on Rio

Rio is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with its picturesque scenery, and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue situated high in the mountains, on Mt. Corcovado.  Rio de Janeiro is mostly famous for its annual Carnival, easily one of the biggest and best parties on the planet.  Even though Carnival won’t be taking place during the Summer Games, you’ll be enticed to take the full tour to experience Rio.  It is a beautiful place full of history and culture that you can appreciate while you’re watching the Summer Games.rio-1208046_1280

The venues where the games are going to take place are spread out through four zones: Barra, Copacabana, Deodoro, and the Maracana districts.  The athletes won’t have to travel too far between their hotels and the venues, allowing them to perform at their peak performance.  There are 34 venues for athletes to compete in, with 18 already functional.  There are venues that are being upgraded, including venues that are in the process of being turned into permanent legacy venues.

The history of Brazil is rife with plenty of interesting facts, and they have provided numerous famous athletes throughout the years.  Pele is perhaps one of the most famous Brazilian athletes, considering how he was able to lead Brazil to glory and make Brazil a soccer powerhouse other countries have tried to emulate.  The rich history of Brazil, combined with it’s beautiful scenery makes it one of the most beautiful places to host the Summer Games.rio-1233361_1280

If you’re planning on taking a trip to Rio for the Summer Games, it may help you to know that Samba is the traditional dance.  Every Brazilian prides themselves on the Samba, so to keep from looking like a tourist, find a local place that offers Samba classes.  It’s a beautiful dance that you will enjoy learning, and the locals will be shocked to see a foreigner keeping up with the frantic pace.  If you’re unable to take Samba classes, you can try your hand at learning Portuguese, considering it’s the national language.  There’s nothing like ordering food in a different country’s language, and it will help you as you take in the sights around Rio.

 

Event Schedules

You can catch your favorite sports in person or on TV by following the schedule.  Most events don’t start until six in the morning, though you can catch some events early in the morning or late at night.  You can catch some football at three in the morning, or catch most of the medal rounds at nine at night.  Some of the best events are the medal events, which are guaranteed to feature all the drama one can hope for during the Summer Games.  The amount of events that are going on allows you to find your favorite event and follow your favorite athletes during the Summer Games.

 

Things to Watch for in the 2016 Summer Games

As with any World Games, this year’s Summer Games are rife with intriguing headlines that will grab your attention.  Michael Phelps has told numerous sources that this year will be his last competing in the Summer Games.  If you love gymnastics, you can follow the Chinese gymnast, Dong Dong, as he looks to repeat as a gold medalist in the trampoline event.  If you’re curious about the torch, you can find some background information and find out what the official song for this year’s Summer Games.  There’s no shortage of big time headlines, and prepping yourself with facts about these Summer Games will give you inside information to assist you with understanding the importance and increase the entertainment.blue-81847_1280

Facts of Previous Summer Games

If you’re looking for some interesting facts to share with your friends while you’re watching this year’s Summer Games, look no further than previous years.  The Summer Games have a lot of rich history that you can gain some knowledge about a particular event.  You can fully explain how the Games came about, who holds the most medals, and what the world record for running the marathon is, all while enjoying watching the Summer Games.  Your friends will be blown away with your knowledge, and you can have a deeper appreciation for what the Summer Games are and what they mean to each and every country.  Here are some of the most intriguing facts of the Summer Games you can spout off.  Enjoy!

 

  • First Summer Games

    • The Greeks create the Games as a religious festival, starting in 776 B.C.  The religious event was created to appease the Greek God, Zeus, and they featured wrestling, marathons, and other games to see who could win the most events.  It was cancelled in 393 A.D. due to the fact that it was considered a pagan festival, due to the idea that it celebrated Zeus.  It would take over 1500 years before anyone decided to start them up again.

 

  • Bringing the Summer Games Back

    • In 1894, French educator, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, proposed the renewal of the Summer Games.  The revival of an ancient tradition was met with much support, and the early versions paved the way to the modern form of the Summer Games.  It would only take two years before the first Summer Games were featured.

 

  • The Second Coming of the Summer Games

    • Coming full-circle, Greece hosted the first Summer Games in 1896, after a 1500-year layoff.  Not only was Greece the first to hold the first modern Summer Games, they also walked away with the most medals out of any country, leading the way with 47 total medals.  They were on display in Athens, and only 14 countries participated in the event.  There were 245 athletes, all of them men, participating in the first Summer Games.  The United States was able to win nine out of 12 track and field events, but the Greeks were just too strong.  The biggest highlight was Spiridon Louis, a native Greek, who was able to win the first marathon run in the Summer Games.  The marathon was on the same course Pheidippides ran after the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C.

 

  • Most Summer Games Medals

As it stands as of now, ahead of the 2016 Summer Games, the United States leads all countries in medals.  They have collected 2189 medals during the Summer Games, outdoing every other nation.  The United States has over 1000 gold medals to its name, and Russia (or the USSR, up till 1989) has come in second place for the all-time medalist, winning over 1200 medals, with 473 gold medals.  Germany comes in at number three, with a total of 718 medals, and a modest 232 gold medals to add to their collection.  The standings run through 2012, so the total number of medals is sure to get padded during this year’s Summer Games.basketball-1326872_1280

  • First Televised Summer Games in the U.S.

    • The first televised Summer Games in the U.S. was held in Rome in 1960.  CBS provided the coverage to allow anyone to tune in to follow their favorite athlete during the Games.  Over 80 countries participated in the Summer Games, with over 5000 athletes competing in different events.  CBS bought the rights to showcase the Summer Games for $394,000, an expensive price to pay in 1960.  One of the headliners was Cassius Clay, who would later become the iconic Muhammad Ali, fought in the lightweight title against Polish boxer Zbigniew Pietryskowsky.  Clay won single handedly, and didn’t take off his gold medal for over two days after the fight.  It was certainly fitting for a man who would be later known as “The Greatest”.

 

  • Most Country Participants

    • The 2000 Summer Games experienced a world record of participants in the Summer Games.  There were 10651 athletes who attended the Summer Games held in Sydney Australia.  Over 4000 of the athletes that participated were women that were there to prove their dominance in their respective sports.  199 nations participated in the event, with Afghanistan not having anyone represent their country.  North and South Korea were able to put their differences aside, and entered the stadium as one country, participating under a single flag.  The cauldron lighting was made by Australian Aboriginal and Summer Game sprinter Cathy Freeman, who won the 400m race.  There were plenty of records broken and highlights during the 2000 Sydney Summer Games.  One of the blights of these Summer Games was that of Marion Jones, who had her medals stripped and records erased in 2008 by the International Olympic Committee, due to doping.  While it is a negative impact, there were plenty of bright spots, including Ian Thorpe, an Australian swimmer, winning three gold medals.

 

  • Record for Hosting the Summer Games

    • One would think that Greece would be the winner of hosting the most Summer Games, and they would be wrong.  That honor goes to London, who has held the Summer Games three different times.  They have lived in the limelight of hosting the Summer Games and the buildings they have made are still in working condition to this day.  2012 was the last time they held the Summer Games, so it is possible they will host it again in the coming years.  Not only is London a popular destination for hosting the Summer Games, they were the first city to host the first Paralympics.  That took in place 1948 as a way for wounded war veterans to compete in an event that didn’t include any war.

 

  • The Youngest Participant

    • During the Summer Games of 1896, 10-year-old Dimitrios Loundras participated in the gymnast event, becoming the youngest participant ever.  He won the bronze medal, and is still the youngest competitor and medalist in the record books.  Loundras would go on to become an admiral in the Greek Navy, proving he had the nerves of steel to handle such a job.

  • No Need for Shoes

In Rome 1960, along with being the first televised Summer Games, held another impressive feat: a barefoot marathon.  Abebe Bikila, an Ethiopian sprinter, won the gold medal that year, all while running barefoot.  It was the first time someone from Africa had won a gold medal during the Summer Games, which paved the way for many other Ethiopians to find glory in marathon running.walk-826580_1280

  • The Oldest Participant

    • Since you have someone who was the youngest participant in the Summer Games, the list wouldn’t be complete without the oldest participant.  That honor goes to Oscar Swahn, who hailed from Sweden and was an expert shooter.  In 1908, at 60 years old, Swahn won his first medal.  While succeeding at 60 years old, Swahn wasn’t even close to stopping.  He competed in two more Summer Games, his last coming twelve years after his first medal finish.  Swahn participated in the Antwerp Games in 1920, and walked away with a silver medal.  Pretty impressive for a guy who would be considered the oldest participant.

 

  • First Modern Medal

    • At the first modern Summer Games, the very first medal awarded went to American, James Connolly.  The Athens Games was a monument towards starting the Summer Games back up.  Connolly, who was attending Harvard at the time of the Summer Games, made his way to and through Europe to attend the event.  He participated in the triple jump, and won the event.  However, since it was before the gold medal become the highest honor, Connolly was awarded a silver medal and an olive leaf.  While it may not have felt the same as a gold medal, receiving the first medal in over 1500 years has to mean a lot more.

 

  • First Television Broadcast

    • While it took until 1960 for the U.S. to watch the Summer Games, the very first televised broadcast occurred during the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin.  Considering these particular games were held in Germany four years before the start of WWII, they hold a peculiar name, known as the “Nazi Games”.  Before the televised Summer Games came around, one had to listen to the radio or read about the results in the next day’s paper.  It must have been a relief when the television came along, and even though it was a grainy and fuzzy vision, you could at least enjoy what was in front of you.  The only problem was that you had to have lived in Germany during the time, which was starting to become a dangerous place.  Though Germany was starting to become unpopular around the world, the ability to showcase the Summer Games is a highlight.  It was especially so when Jesse Owens took home the gold medal, dissing the Aryan idea, and providing a preview of what the United States had to offer.

 

  • A Real Gold Medal?

    • It’s surprising to think that gold medals are not made of pure gold, but looks can be deceiving.  It’s been over 100 years since the last pure gold medals were produced, which is surprising in and of itself.  What a gold medal actually consists of is a silver medal, which is then coated with gold plating.  It’s a nice sight to see when a participant wins the gold medal, and then tries to take a chunk off with their teeth.  They probably aren’t too worried that it’s not pure gold, since all the hard work they’ve put in has paid off in the long run.

 

  • First Opening Ceremonies

Opening ceremonies are all the rage when it comes to the Summer Games.  It wasn’t always the case, with the first few Summer Games lacking any sort of opening ceremony.  Then in London, in 1908, something magical took hold and it has been part of the Summer Games ever since.  Cities that host the games pour a lot of time, money, and energy into the opening ceremony, with Beijing hosting an impressive ceremony for the 2008 Summer Games.  It draws the fans in, and builds up the excitement towards the games, and every four years, the new city puts on a display to outdo all the previous ones.  Hard to believe it wasn’t established from the get-go, but it has all the excitement of a well-done Super Bowl halftime show.carry-71257

  • The Summer Games Have Been Canceled

    • The Summer and Winter Games used to be held together in the same year, up until 1994.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) then decided to divvy them up every two years.  Since that time, the Summer Games have had to be canceled, and always for the same purpose: war.  The first Summer Games to get canceled was the 1916 in Berlin, because of WWI.  The Summer Games in Helsinki in 1940 and the 1944 Summer Games in London were both canceled due to WWII.  It is unfortunate that the Summer Games had to take a back seat to the wars that were going on, but when average people are fighting to stay alive, athletics are the last thing people are thinking about.  Hopefully, 1944 was the last time the Summer Games need to be canceled.

 

  • Naked Games

    • Anyone who knows anything about ancient Greece is probably aware that not everyone was clothed all the time.  That transpired into the ancient Summer Games, and only men were allowed to compete.  While it’s not surprising ancient Greeks competed nude, just imagine trying to wrestle another oiled-up naked athlete.  The oil on the boy was to look good and pay respects for the Gods, who the Games were created for to appease them.  Imagine going to see the Summer Games today, and everyone is naked?  It’s probably a thing that you’d have to pay extra money for, and most likely frowned upon.

 

Conclusion

While you’re watching the Summer Games in Rio this year, it’s the perfect time to brush up on your Summer Game facts.  Learning about Rio will help you know when and where the athletes are competing, and who you should be following this year.  There are stories everywhere you look while you’re watching the Summer Games.  Not only that, but you also have some facts to dish out while you’re viewing the best shooter.  You can spout off how old the oldest medalist is, or be happy you’re not watching the Summer Games on a fuzzy and grainy old television.  Astounding your friends with the Summer Game facts will make you look smart and cultured, as long as you don’t start proposing that all the athletes should compete naked the next time the Summer Games roll around.  Enjoy this year’s Games and good luck to your favorite country!

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