The 32nd Olympic Games in Tokyo has started and Olympic week is upon us. Once every four years, we get the chance to watch the best athletes from all over the world compete. The Olympic Games of the past are full of breathtaking and unforgettable moments. This week we put your knowledge to the test. From famous athletes to host cities and stadiums. Can you guess which Olympic Games we are talking about?
Olympic fact ice-breaker:
Tokyo has been awarded the Summer Olympics three times: 1940, 1964 and 2020. Only 1964 went ahead as planned. The other two weren't. 1940 was cancelled due to WW2 and 2020, well, you know the story, it was postponed due to the pandemic.
This will be the 32nd Olympics Games. Many spectacular, inspiring and life changing moments have taken place throughout the years. Can you guess which Olympic Games these clues are from? No cheating on Google. Answers will be at the end of the Blog.
The Cube hosted the swimmers in this ancient city of the east, known under various names over the centuries. “One World, One Dream” is the motto that will be forever associated with these Games. Dreams were certainly brought to bear as the men’s and women’s 10k Open water Swimming race was held for the first time and a tall Dutchman won the men’s and an eager Russian the women’s event.
Inside The Cube, the hosts were given a fascinating piece of history as Michael Phelps went on to win 8 gold medals, breaking Mark Spitz’s record of 7 gold medals in one Olympics. This might not have happened at all if the USA had not won an electrifying 4 x 100m relay race on the opening day. The USA was way behind France at the 300m mark and yet they pulled out the victory and started re-writing the history books of swimming.
The “Games of the New Millennium,” it was called. With the Opera House looking out over the harbour and the games, the home favourite was in the best form of his life. Thorpedo would claim three gold medals here and satisfy the home crowd’s desire for success.
In the heat of this Southern Hemisphere city, Triathlon was contested for the first time. This would launch the sport into the new millennium with a vigour that is still growing today.
The talk of the town was the slowest 100m of 1:52.35 ever swum at the Olympics. It was swum by Eric Moussambani from Equatorial Guinea who the media named Eric the Eel. The name stuck and he remained in the hearts and minds of the public at these Olympics. Another talk of the town was the Dutch team. Inge de Bruin and Peter van den Hoogenband claimed 5 gold medals and 5 World records. What a week it was for them at these games.
The controversy of these Olympic Games started way before the games with a budget overrun and Boycott. Twenty-Two African countries boycotted these games.
The first perfect ten would be given in Gymnastics to put a little girl from Romania firmly on the map. Having fun was what these Olympics were meant to be all about. However, the doping scandals of the East German athletes looked to overshadow the swimming until John Naber and the American Swim team made good on the promise of having fun. Naber would be the first man to swim under 56 seconds in the 100m backstroke and also the first person to win two individual medals on the same day.
The host city of these Olympic games wasn’t only the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games, it was the birthplace of the best Swimmer in Olympic History. Phelps won his first gold medals here. Four of them, mind you, and none of them were in the freestyle. Can you guess in which disciplines they were?
Never before had all the Aquatic disciplines been hosted at a single venue. These Olympic games rectified that. The swimming took place in an outdoor pool that would be shaded by the roof. That was the plan, but the roof never materialised due to budget constraints. That is no big deal when you have permanent sunshine in this host city.
These games saw the dominance of American Katie Ledecky. She became the second woman in history, after Debbie Meyer, to win the 200m,400m and 800m. Unlike Ledecky’s swimming and achievements, the swimming arena was a temporary structure of nomadic architecture that was torn down after the games.
Michael Phelps would retire after these games and leave room for the next generation. A couple of American swimmers got caught up in a scandal after a night out that brought an unwelcome distraction to the proceedings. But being in carnival mood with the Olympics, the games continued and were a success.
We hope that we have jogged your memories and delighted you with facts and insights into the Olympic Games. Don't forget to enjoy swimming at this Olympics, hopefully it's as exciting as in the past!
#1) Beijing 2008, Stadium was called The Cube
#2) Sydney 2000, Sydney Olympic Park Aquatics Centre
#3) Montreal 1976, Olympic Park Swimming Pool
#4) Athens 2004, Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre
#5) Rio 2016, Olympic Aquatic Stadium