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the early Olympic champions
Some Olympic Trivia Q&A
Full Peking medal results
302 events at Peking, up 1 from Athens' total.
1877 competitors won medals at Peking (1035 male and 842 female), 73 more than in
A total of 122 athletes won more than one medal at Peking.
Most, oldest, youngest medal winners at Peking
The most medals (8) were won by US swimmer Michael Phelps -
all Gold, bringing his total medal haul to 15, all but two of them Gold.
Natalie Coughlin (Swimming, USA) was second with 6 medals (1 Gold, 2 Silver and
3 Bronze), who now has 11 medals to her name.
The oldest medal winner was Canadian rider Ian Millar, who
won Silver in the Jumping Team event at age 61. The youngest was Chinese diver Chen Ruolin,
she was aged just 15 and won two Gold medals (individual and synchronised
What changes at London?
There will be 302 medal events at London, same as in Peking. 224 of these will
be individual events, the other 78 are team events (2 or more per team).
Cycling: big changes on the track. The men's individual pursuit (held since
1964), points race (since 1984) and Madison (contested just three times since
2000) are dropped, and the women no longer contest the individual pursuit (held
since 1992) and points race (since 1996). Replacing these are the men's and
women's Omnium, consisting of
six events over two days. To be successful, a competitor must complete each
event or they will be scratched.
Also new are the women's Keirin and Team Sprint, which the men have already
contested since Sydney 2000.
Canoeing: the Men's 500m sprint events for both Kayak
and Canoe have been dropped and replaced by even shorter, 200m races. Sprint
events have been contested since Montreal 1976.
For the women, all 500m races are retained and one 200m Kayak sprint added.
Sailing: Tornado class has been dropped (held since Montreal 1976, and
last won by Spain). The Women's keelboat Yngling class has also been
discontinued. It was contested just two times, both won by Great Britain (Sarah
Ayton in both boats). It is replaced by the Elliott 6m class (match racing).
Tennis: after an absence of 88 years, the Mixed
Doubles event returns. It was last won by Richard Williams and Hazel
Wightman (USA) in 1924 (Paris).
Boxing: oh dear, women's boxing is introduced in three
weight classes. In the men's division, Featherweight has been dropped, with
weight limits adjusted for Fly and Bantam.
Fencing: more fiddling here, the Women's Sabre Team event was dropped
after only one outing (won by the Ukraine in 2008) and replaced with
Women’s Épée team event.
Team Sports: Baseball and Softball have been dropped.
Baseball had been an official sport since Barcelona 1992 and contested five
times. Cuba won three of the five events, coming second in the other two.
Softball had been contested four times (since Atlanta 1996, with the USA team
winning the first three and coming second (to Japan) in the last one at Peking.
Who enjoyed their Olympic medal the longest?
The record must go to US track athlete Abel Kiviat, who, as a 20-year old, won a Silver medal at Stockholm on 10 July 1912 coming second in the 1500m race, his only Olympic medal.
Kiviat died on 24 August 1991, aged 99 and had enjoyed his Silver medal for an astounding 79 years and 45 days.
However, if Bronze medals had been handed out at St. Louis in 1904, this record would go to US swimmer Henry Handy. On 7 July 1904, when he was 18 years old, Handy came third in the 440 yds. Breaststroke.
He died on 13 November 1983, aged 97 and would have enjoyed his Bronze medal for 79 years and 67 days, 22 days longer than
Update: at the start of
the Sydney Games (15 Sep 2000), US diver Hal Haig "Harry" Prieste, aged 103, emerged
as the oldest living Olympic medallist. Born on 23 Nov 1896, he had won the
Bronze medal in the platform diving on 29 Aug 1920 at Antwerp, when he was 23
years of age. He continued enjoyment of his medal until his death on 20 April
2001, aged 104.
And who had the least enjoyment of their Olympic medal?
The sad record goes to Swiss rower Gottfried Kottmann. On 15 Oct 1964 at Tokyo he celebrated his 32nd birthday and also won the Bronze medal in the Single Sculls rowing event. Just 22 days later, on 6
Nov 1964, Kottmann was killed in an automobile accident.
It could be argued that one man enjoyed his medal even less. At the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932, as part of the Art Contests, German climber Toni Schmid received a Merit for Mountaineering (Gold Medal) for the first ascension of the Matterhorn North Side (with brother Franz). Toni Schmid was killed on 16 May 1932 at age 22 in a climbing accident, 75 days BEFORE the Los Angeles Olympic Games got underway. This is the only recorded incident in which an Olympic medal was awarded posthumously. His older brother Franz Schmid died on 17
Sep 1992, aged 87.
It is generally believed to be Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn, who won the last of his 6 Olympic medal (a Silver in the Running Deer, Double Shot Team event) on 26 July 1920 at Antwerp. He was 72 years and 280 days old. Swahn died seven years later.
However, there is one "competitor" who was even older than Swahn. In 1948 the Olympic Arts Contests were held for the last time. British graphic artist John Copley was awarded the Silver medal for his design "Polo Player" just about a month before his 74th birthday. He died two years later.
And the youngest?
Probably Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras, a member of the Panhellenios Gymnastics Club. On the fourth day of competition (9 April 1896) at the Athens Olympics his team placed second in the Parallel Bars team event. He was 10 years 218 days old. He died on 15 February 1970, aged 84.
There is speculation that a young boy from Paris took part in
the 1900 rowing as a coxswain in the Dutch pair oars boat. Before the Final, it
was considered that regular coxswain Hermanus Brockmann was, at 60kg, too heavy
and was replaced by this boy, whose name or age has never been determined
despite considerable efforts. He may have been as young as seven. Only a
photograph exists, showing him with his two oarsmen Françoise Brandt and Roelof Klein.
This decision evidently paid off, since the Dutch won the Gold medal. The
question of which coxswain was handed the Gold medal has not been answered.
US shooter James Howard Snook, winner of two Gold medals at
Antwerp in 1920 may well be in front here. Eight years after winning his Gold
medals, by then a professor of veterinary medicine at Ohio State University and
aged 48, Snook was convicted for killing his mistress with a hammer and was executed by electric chair in Ohio eight months after
committing his crime.
Most world records set on a single day
on July 25, 1976 seven world records were set - three in
Athletics (Men's 800m, 400m hurdles and Javelin) and four in Swimming (Men's
100m freestyle, 400m individual medley and women's 800m and 4x100m relay
freestyle). No other day in Olympic history can match that.