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Highlights of Olympic Games















London 2012 Highlights
Summer 2012 Olympics are scheduled to begin in London from 27th July to 12th August for which the main venue is the London Olympics Park stadium where the opening ceremony and closing ceremony would take place. London is the first city to host the Summer Olympics thrice but it will be hosting the Paralympics for the first time as it was introduced in 1960 and the last time London hosted th e Summer Olympics was in 1948 -
It is the first time the logo Olympics and Paralympics are based on the same fundamental design with minor differences -
The Logo for Summer Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled on the same day 19th May 2010 -
The Olympic Torch arrived in UK on 16th May and Boris Johnson (Mayor of London), David Beckham Lord Coe with a group of other 80 guests represented London -
The Olympic Torch relay is going on for which the torch bearers were announced on 18th May 2011. It started on 19th May and would end at the opening ceremony on 27th July

Athens 1896 Olympic Highlights
The people of Athens greeted the Games with great enthusiasm. There is no event that the Greek hosts wanted to win more than the marathon race, because of its historical significance. Spiridon Louis, a Greek shepherd set off from the city of Marathon (marathon was run from Marathon to Athens over the course covered by Greek hero Pheidippides in 490 B.C. after the battle with the Persians) and took the lead four kilometres from the finish line and, to the great joy of the 100,000 spectators, won the race by more than seven minutes.

James Connolly (USA-athletics) won the triple jump on 6 April 1896, and thus became the first Olympic champion since the Ancient Games. He also finished second in the high jump and third in the long jump. He left Harvard University to travel to Athens on a cargo ship and then by train to compete.

Alfred Hajos (HUN-swimming) won the 100m and the 1,200m events. For the longer race, the swimmers were transported by boat and left to swim back to shore alone. According to Hajos, "I must say that I shivered at the thought of what would happen if I got a cramp from the cold water. My will to live completely overcame my desire to win".

Paris 1900 Olympics Highlights
The Games of 1900 were held in Paris as part of the Exposition Universelle Internationale - the Paris World's Fair. The exposition organizers spread the events over five months and de-emphasized their Olympic status to such an extent that many athletes died without ever knowing that they had participated in the Olympics.

Women made their first appearance in the modern Games. The first to compete were Mme. Brohy and Mlle. Ohnier of France in croquet. The first female champion was Charlotte Cooper of Great Britain who won the singles and mixed doubles tennis.

Tennis was one of five sports in which athletes from different nations competed on the same team. The others were football, polo, rowing and tug of war.

St. Louis 1904 Olympics Highlights
The 1904 St. Louis Olympics organizers repeated all of the mistakes of 1900. The Olympic competitions, spread out over four and a half months, were lost in the chaos of a World's Fair. Of the 94 events generally considered to have been part of the Olympic program, only 42 included athletes who were not from the United States.

The 1904 Olympics did have a few highlights. They were the first at which Gold, Silver and bronze medals were awarded for first, second and third place.

One of the most remarkable athletes was the American gymnast George Eyser, who won six medals even though his left leg was made of wood.

Archie Hahn (USA-athletics), the Milwaukee Meteor, was champion in the 60m, 100m and 200m. In this last race, he set a new Olympic record in 21.6 seconds, a record broken only 28 years later.

London 1908 Olympic Highlights
The 1908 Olympics were originally awarded to Rome, but were reassigned to London.

Archers William and Charlotte Dod became the first brother and sister medalists.

Oscar Swahn, aged 60, was the oldest ever competitor to earn an Olympic Gold medal, winning the running deer shooting, single shot. He took his second Gold the next day in the team event. Swahn also earned a bronze medal in the running deer double-shot contest.

In the spirit of sportsmanship, the final in middleweight Greco-Roman wrestling between Frithiof Martensson and Mauritz Andersson was postponed one day to allow Martensson to recover from a minor injury. Martensson won.

The most memorable event of the 1908 Games was the marathon. The Games Organising Committee fixed the distance of the marathon at 42km and 195m, the last 195 metres being added on to justify the route from Windsor Castle to the royal box in the London stadium. This distance became official from the 1924 Games onwards. The marathon had a dramatic ending. After 42 kilometres (26 miles) of running, the first man to enter the stadium was Dorando Pietri of Italy, but he collapsed on the track five times and was disqualified when officials carried him across the finish line.

Pierre de Coubertin took up the word of the Bishop of Pennsylvania "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part".

Stockholm 1912 Highlights
Held in Stockholm, the 1912 Olympics were a model of efficiency. The Swedish hosts introduced the use of unofficial electronic timing devices for the track events, as well as the first use of a public address system.

Sweden would not allow boxing contests to be held in their country. After the Games, the International Olympic Committee decided to limit the power of host nations in deciding the Olympic program.

In Greco-Roman wrestling, the middleweight semifinal match between Russian Martin Klein and Finland's Alfred Asikainen lasted eleven hours.

One member of the Austrian team that finished second in the team sabre fencing event was Otto Herschmann, who was, at that time, president of the Austrian Olympic Committee. Herschmann is the only sitting national Olympic committee president to win an Olympic medal.

An Indian from Oklahoma, Jim Thorpe, described by King Gustav V of Sweden as "the greatest athlete in the world", won the pentathlon and decathlon. However, he was disqualified in January 1913 when it was discovered that he had accepted a very modest sum of money to play baseball before the Games. In 1982 (29 yrs after Thorpe's death), the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee decided to reinstate Jim Thorpe and to give back to his daughter the medals that were rightfully his.

Hannes Kolehmainen, a 22 yr old Finnish won the 5000m and the 10000m race.

Antwerp 1920 Highlights
The 1916 Olympics were scheduled to be held in Berlin, but were canceled because of what came to be known as World War I. The 1920 Games were awarded to Antwerp to honor the suffering that had been inflicted on the Belgian people during the war. Germany and Austria were not invited.

The Opening Ceremony was notable for the introduction of the Olympic flag and the presentation of the Athletes' Oath.

At age 72, Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn earned a Silver medal in the team double-shot running deer event to become the oldest medalist ever.

The 1920 12-foot dinghy sailing event was the only event in Olympic history to be held in two countries. The first race was staged in Belgium, but the last two races took place in the Netherlands because both entrants were Dutch.

Suzanne Lenglen (FRA-tennis), one of the greatest women tennis players of all time, won the Olympic title by losing only four games. She teamed up with Max Decugis (FRA) to win another Gold medal in mixed doubles and with Elisabeth d'Ayen (FRA) to win a bronze in women's doubles.

Nedo Nadi (ITA-fencing) produced one of the greatest of all Olympic performances. He won the individual foil and sabre titles and led the Italians to victory in all three team events, for a record of five fencing medals at the same Games.

Paavo Nurmi of Finland won the 10000m race, the 8000m cross-country and the team cross- country.

PARIS 1924 Highlights
At the 1924 Paris Games, the Olympic motto, "Citius, Altius, Fortius", (Swifter, Higher, Stronger) was introduced, as was the Closing Ceremony ritual of raising three flags: the flag of the International Olympic Committee, the flag of the host nation and the flag of the next host nation.

Johnny Weissmuller of the United States won two Gold medals in swimming on 20 July alone. That same day he earned a bronze medal in water polo. He later went to Hollywood and starred as Tarzan in twelve movies.

Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi, won five Gold medals to add to the three he had won in 1920. His most spectacular performance occurred on 10 July. First he easily won the 1500m. Then, a mere 55 minutes later, he returned to the track and won the 5000m. He also won the 3000m, the 10,000m cross-country and the team cross-country.

Ville Ritola (FIN-athletics) won the 10,000m by breaking his own world record, and then went on to win the 3,000m steeplechase. In the team events, he won the cross-country and the 3,000m with the Finnish team. He finally added two Silver medals, finishing behind Paavo Nurmi (FIN) in the 5,000m and in the cross-country race.


Amsterdam 1928 Highlights
At the Opening Ceremony, the team from Greece led the Parade of Nations and the host Dutch team marched in last. Greece first, hosts last would become a permanent part of the Olympic protocol.

For the first time, the Olympic flame was lit at the top of a tower placed inside the stadium and designed by Jan Wils. It remained lit throughout the Games. At this period in time, the torch relay was not yet practised.

Australian rower Henry Pearce. Midway through his quarterfinal race, he stopped rowing to allow a family of ducks to pass single file in front of his boat. Pearce won the race anyway and, later, the Gold medal as well.

Germany returned to the Games after sixteen years.

Los Angeles 1932 Highlights
The 1932 Olympics were the first to last 16 days. The duration of the Olympics has remained between 15 and 18 days ever since. Between 1900 and 1928, no Summer Olympics was shorter than 79 days.

The 1932 Olympic Games saw the introduction of automatic timing to one hundredth of a second and of the photo finish, as well as the appearance of the national anthems and the raising of flags in honour of the victors during the medal ceremonies. These ceremonies would take place henceforward at the competition site immediately after the end of the event.

18-year-old American Babe Didrikson qualified for all five women's track and field events, but was only allowed to compete in three. Babe Didrikson won the javelin throw and the 80m hurdles, and finished second in the high jump. She could have won more medals in the discus throw, relay and long jump, but women were restricted to competing in only three individual events in track and field athletics.

Berlin 1936 Highlights
These Games saw the introduction of the torch relay based on an idea by Dr Carl Diem - lighted torch was carried from Olympia to the site of the Games through 7 countries- Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Germany; a total journey of more than 3,000 km.

The 1936 Olympics, held in Berlin, are best remembered for Adolf Hitler's failed attempt to use them to prove his theories of Aryan racial superiority

The 1936 Olympics were also the first to be broadcast on a form of television. Twenty-five big television screens were set up in theatres throughout the city, allowing the locals to follow the Games free of charge.

Thirteen-year-old Marjorie Gestring of the United States won the Gold medal in springboard diving. She remains the youngest female Gold medalist in the history of the Summer Olympics.

Inge Sorensen of Denmark earned a bronze medal in the 200m breaststroke at the age of 12, making her the youngest medalist ever in an individual event.

Jack Beresford (GBR-rowing) set a record by winning his fifth Olympic medal. After winning Gold medals in the single sculls (1924) and coxless fours (1932), silver in the single sculls (1920) and the eights (1928), he added another Gold in double sculls.

Jesse Owens (USA-athletics) became a sporting hero after winning four Gold medals (100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump), which did much to undermine Hitler's myth of Aryan superiority.

London 1948 Highlights
The 1948 London Games were the first to be shown on home television, although very few people in Great Britain actually owned sets.

Germany and Japan were not invited. Soviet Union declined the invitation.

Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands was the world record holder in six events. She won the 100m, 200m, 80m hurdles and ran the anchor leg on the winning relay team (4 x 100m). She was deprived of more titles by a rule limiting women to three individual events in track and field athletics, at a time when she was also the world record holder in the high jump and long jump.

Karoly Takacs was a member of the Hungarian world champion pistol shooting team in 1938 when a grenade shattered his right hand - his pistol hand. Takacs taught himself to shoot with his left hand and, ten years later, he won an Olympic Gold medal in the rapid-fire pistol event.

Helsinki 1952 Highlights
The 1952 Helsinki Games began dramatically as Paavo Nurmi, now 55 years old, carried the torch into the stadium and handed it to Hannes Kolehmainen, now 62, who lit the cauldron.

Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia, who became the only person in Olympic history to win the 5,000, 10,000 and marathon at the same Olympics.

The Soviet Union entered the Olympics. Particularly impressive were the Soviet women gymnasts who won the team competition easily, beginning a streak that would continue for forty years until the Soviet Union broke up into separate republics.

Back in 1924, Bill Havens had been chosen to represent the United States in coxed eights rowing, but declined in order to stay home with his wife, who was expecting their first child. Twenty-eight years later, that child, Frank Havens, won a Gold medal in the Canadian singles 10,000m canoeing event.

Melbourne 1956 Highlights
Melbourne won the right to host the 1956 Olympics by one vote over Buenos Aires. The Melbourne Games were the first to be held in the southern hemisphere.

Australian quarantine laws were too severe to allow the entry of foreign horses, so the equestrian events were held separately in Stockholm in June. This is the only time in the Games' hundred year existence that the unity of time and place, as stipulated in the Charter, has not been observed.

The International Olympic Committee had a great political success in managing to bring together the two Germanys (East and West) within a combined team (EUA) competing under a black, red and yellow flag with the Olympic rings and with "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's IX Symphony as their anthem. This practice would take place for the following two editions of the Games.

U.S. weightlifter Paul Anderson weighed 137.9kg. In weightlifting, ties are broken by awarding the higher place to the athlete with the lower body weight. Incredibly, this worked to Anderson's advantage when he tied for first with Humberto Selvetti of Argentina. Selvetti weighed 143.5kg.

The 1956 Games were also marked by an innovation in the Closing Ceremony. Upon the suggestion of John Ian Wing, a Chinese apprentice carpenter living in Australia, it was decided to let all the athletes parade together, rather than by country, as a symbol of global unity. Prior to 1956, the athletes in the Closing Ceremony marched by nation, as they did in the Opening Ceremony.

Rome 1960 Highlights
Fifty-four years after Italy had to give up hosting the Olympics, Rome finally got its chance. They made the most of their dramatic history, holding the wrestling competition in the Basilica of Maxentius. Among the other ancient sites that were used were the Caracalla Baths (gymnastics) and the Arch of Constantine (finish of the marathon).

By winning the silver medal in light-welterweight boxing, Clement "Ike" Quartey of Ghana became the first black African Olympic medalist. Five days later in the marathon, Abebe Bikila, running barefoot, outlasted Rhadi Ben Abdesselem of Morocco to become the first black African Olympic champion.

Suffering from concussion and a broken collarbone after a fall in the endurance test of the three-day equestrian event, Bill Roycroft left his hospital bed to compete in the jumping test and ensure the Gold medal for Australia.

Cassius Marcellus Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali (USA-boxing), first gained international prominence by winning the light-heavyweight Gold medal. He would later turn professional and embark on a phenomenal career.

Tokyo 1964 Highlights
The 1964 Tokyo Games were the first to be held in Asia. The Japanese expressed their successful reconstruction after World War II by choosing as the final torchbearer Yoshinori Sakai, who was born in Hiroshima the day that that city was destroyed by an atomic bomb , in homage to the victims and as a call for peace in the world.

Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia became the first repeat winner of the marathon - less than six weeks after having his appendix removed.

Hungarian water polo player Dezso Gyarmati won his fifth medal in a row. Another Hungarian, Greco-Roman wrestler Imre Polyak, finally won a Gold medal after finishing second in the same division at the previous three Olympics

The first Fair Play prize awarded by the International Olympic Committee, but given by the Japanese National Olympic Committee, was presented to two Swedes, Lars Gunnar Kall and Stig Lennart Kall, who gave up their chances of winning the regatta to come to the aid of two other competitors whose boat had sunk.

Mexico City 1968 Olympic Highlights
The choice of Mexico City to host the 1968 Olympics was a controversial one because of the city's high altitude, 2,300m, which meant that the air contained 30% less oxygen than at sea level. Sure enough, the rarefied air proved disastrous to many athletes competing in endurance events. On the other hand, the high altitude led to world records in all of the men's races that were 400m or shorter, including both relays, and in the 400m hurdles, in the long jump and triple jump as well.

The most popular female athlete of the 1968 Games was Vera Caslavska, the Czech gymnast. After the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia two months before the Olympics, Caslavska went into hiding for three weeks. She emerged to win four Gold medals and two silvers.

Dick Fosbury (USA-athletics) was unknown before the high jump competition. A few hours later he left the stadium famous, thanks to his victory, but specifically his style. The "Fosbury flop", a real revolution. Clearing the bar on one's back after a curved run-up and a much faster take-off than normal.

Bob Beamon (USA-athletics) was the favourite in the long jump event but no one could have imagined what he would do. His first jump was so long that the optical measuring device slid off its rail before it reached Beamon's point of impact. The judges therefore used a metal tape measure. His jump measured 8.90 metres, 55 centimetres longer than the world record.

The black American athletes made names for themselves by an act of racial protest. During the medal presentation ceremony, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, Gold and bronze medal winners in the 200m, raised a black-gloved fist (Black Power's salute) and hung their heads when their country's national anthem was played. In doing this, they were protesting against racial segregation in the United States and were subsequently expelled from the Olympic Village.

Munich 1972 Highlights
in the early morning of 5 September, eight Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village, killed two members of the Israeli team and took nine more hostage. In an ensuing battle, all nine Israeli hostages were killed, as were five of the terrorists and one policeman. The Olympics were suspended and a memorial service was held in the main stadium. In defiance of the terrorists, the International Olympic Committee ordered the competitions to resume after a pause of 34 hours.

The 1972 Games were also the first to have a named mascot: Waldi the dachshund.

U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz won an incredible seven Gold medals to go with the two he had earned in 1968. The unstoppable Mark Spitz lined up for seven events and won a medal count unique in the history of the Games: seven Olympic titles and seven world records.

Lasse Viren of Finland fell midway through the 10,000m final, but rose and set a world record to win the first of his four career Gold medals.

Freestyle wrestler Ivan Yarygin of Russia pinned all seven of his opponents en route to his first Olympic championship in the heavyweight division.


Montreal 1976 Highlights
The 1976 Montreal Games were marred by an African boycott, organized by Tanzania, to protest the fact that the national rugby team of New Zealand had toured racially segregated South Africa and wanted New Zealand to be banned, but the IOC refused to ban New Zealand. 22 African countries boycotted.

The 1976 Games mascot was a Amik the beaver, a name taken from the Algonquian language, which is the most popular language amongst the American Indians in Canada.

Fourteen-year-old gymnast Nadia Comaneci of Romania caused a sensation when, for her performance on the uneven bars, she was awarded the first-ever perfect score of 10.0. She eventually earned seven 10.0s.

In the men's gymnast, Japan's Shun Fujimoto broke his leg while completing his floor exercises routine. The Japanese team was engaged in a close contest with the Soviet Union, so Fujimoto kept his injury secret. But when he dismounted from the rings, he dislocated his knee and was forced to withdraw.

Miklos Nemeth of Hungary won the javelin throw to become the first son of an athletics Gold medalist to win a Gold of his own. His father, Imre, had won the hammer throw in 1948.

Moscow 1980 Highlights
A U.S.-led boycott reduced the number of participating nations to 80. The boycott was in protest to Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. Some governments, like those of Great Britain and Australia, supported the boycott but allowed the athletes to decide for themselves whether to go to Moscow.

Aleksandr Dityatin (URS-gymnastics) earned medals in every men's gymnastics event to become the only athlete ever to win eight medals in one Olympics. Alexsandr Dityatin won eight medals and took part in all the Olympic finals. He won the team events, the individual event and the rings event. He then won silver medals in the vault, parallel bars, fixed bar and pommel horse, and the bronze medal in the floor exercises.

Cuban Super-heavyweight Teofilo Stevenson became the first boxer to win three Gold medals in the same weight division. Steve Ovett (GBR-athletics) and Sebastian Coe (GBR) faced each other in two memorable duels. In the 800m, Ovett won the Gold medal ahead of his compatriot. Six days later, a determined Coe redeemed himself in the 1,500m. He took the Gold, while Ovett managed only a bronze.

Vladimir Salnikov (URS-swimming) won three Gold medals, in the 400m freestyle, 4*200m relay and 1,500m. This was the first time any swimmer had swum the 1,500m in under 15 minutes. Eight years later, he would make an extraordinary comeback by winning the 1,500m again.

Observers of the medal ceremony for the men's coxless pairs rowing event might have been excused for rubbing their eyes. Both the Gold - and silver-medal winning teams were identical twins. Bernd and Jorg Landvoigt of East Germany took first place, while Yuri and Nikolai Pimenov of Russia finished second

The boycott deprived the inaugural women's field hockey tournament of all of its entrants except the host Soviet Union. Five weeks before the Opening Ceremony, a late invitation went out to Zimbabwe to send a team. Members were selected less than a week before the Games and rushed to Moscow, where they surprised everyone by finishing first.

During the closing ceremony, Misha the bear, Olympic mascot of the 1980 Moscow Games appears with a tear in it's eye.

Los Angeles 1984 Highlights
With the Olympics being held in the United States only four years after the U.S.- led boycott of the Moscow Games, it was not surprising that the Soviet Union organized a revenge boycott in 1984. The Soviet Union and 13 communist countries boycotted this Game - but these nations accounted for 58% of the Gold medals at the 1976 Olympics. A record 140 nations took part.

The eagle "Sam" became the mascot of the Los Angeles Games.

After the terrorist attack in 1972 and the financial disaster of 1976, only Los Angeles bid for the right to host the 1984 Olympic Games. As the Los Angeles Games were the first since 1896 to be staged without government financing, the organisers depended heavily on existing facilities and corporate sponsors. Although criticised at the time, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games became the model for future Games, particularly after it was revealed that they had produced a profit of US$ 223 million.

Carl Lewis (USA-athletics) entered into the history books. He matched the achievement of fellow countryman Jesse Owens (Berlin 1936), winning four Gold medals in the same events: 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump.

Joan Benoit won the inaugural women's marathon. During the women's marathon, Gabrielle Andersen-Scheiss (SUI-athletics) staggered into the stadium, suffering from heat exhaustion. Doctors noted that she was perspiring - a good sign - and they let her continue. She completed the final lap in over 5 minutes. Finally she fell across the finish line.

An oddity occurred in men's 400m freestyle swimming. Beginning in 1984 and until 1996, the eight fastest qualifiers took part in the "A" final and the ninth to sixteenth fastest swam in a consolation "B" final. For the only time in Olympic history, the winner of the "B" final, Thomas Fahrner (FRG) recorded a faster time than the winner of the "A" final.

Seoul 1988 Highlights
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) boycotted, and was joined by Cuba, Ethiopia and Nicaragua.

The tiger "Hodori" became the mascot of the Seoul Games.

The Games got off to a dramatic start at the Opening Ceremony when the torch was run into the stadium by 76-year-old Sohn Kee-chung, the winner of the 1936 marathon. In 1936 Sohn had been forced to enter using a Japanese name because Korea was occupied by Japan.

Record holder and world champion Serguei Bubka (URS-athletics) dreamed of an Olympic title. He won the Gold medal, but only just, vaulting 5.90m at the third attempt. This was his only time on an Olympic podium.

Christa Luding-Rothenburger (GER-cycling and speed skating) made Olympic history by winning a silver medal in cycling. A few months before, she had already won two medals in speed skating during the Winter Games. She became one of few champions to win medals in both the summer and winter Olympics.

Fencer Kerstin Palm (SWE) became the first woman to take part in seven Olympics.

For the first time, all three medalists in equestrian dressage were women.

Greg Louganis (USA-diving) qualified for the springboard final despite striking the board with his head on the penultimate qualifying dive. In the final, after this frightening event, he achieved his second consecutive Olympic victory in the springboard.

Ben Johnson (CAN) set a world record in the 100m dash, but tested positive for steroids. Johnson was the first well known athlete to be disqualified for using drugs and stripped of his medal.

In the years that followed the 1988 Games, the world witnessed important political changes. Apartheid was abolished in South Africa, which allowed the country to participate in the Olympic Games again, for the first time since 1960. Then there was the fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of West and East Germany, as well as North and South Yemen. Communism was wiped out in the Soviet Union and the USSR was divided into 15 separate countries. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the independent teams of Estonia and Latvia made their first apparition since 1936 and Lithuania sent its first team since 1928. The other ex-Soviet republics participated as a "unified team", although the winners were honoured under the flags of their own republics. The only controversy concerned Yugoslavia, which was the subject of United Nations sanctions because of its military aggression against Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the end, Yugoslavia was banned from taking part in any team sports, but individual Yugoslav athletes were allowed to compete as "independent Olympic participants". Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina competed as separate nations for the first time.

Andreas Keller of the Gold medal-winning German field hockey team was the third generation of his family to win a medal in the event. His grandfather, Erwin, earned a silver medal in 1936 and his father, Carsten, a Gold in 1972.

Spain's coxswain in the eights, 11-year-old Carlos Front, was the youngest competitor in the Olympic Games since 1900.

Men's basketball was open for the first time to professionals, allowing the creation of the "Dream Team" (USA-basketball), which included Magic Johnson, M. Jordan, L. Bird and C. Barkley. In eight matches, the team attained an average of 117 points and never asked for a time out.

In the last lap of the 10,000m final, Derartu Tulu (ETH-athletics) darted into the lead and went on to win. At the finish line, Tulu, the first black African woman to earn an Olympic medal, waited for her opponent Elana Meyer, a white South African. They set off hand in hand for a victory lap that symbolised hope for a new Africa.

Atlanta 1996 Olympic Highlights
For the first time in Olympic history, all 197 recognized National Olympic Committees were represented at the Games.

The mascot of the Atlanta Games was an amorphous abstract fantasy figure. It carried the name "Izzy", derived from "Whatizit?" because no one seemed to know exactly what "Izzy" really was.

Michael Johnson's (USA-athletics) double success over 200m and 400m was the first for a man in Olympic history. His victory over 200m in 19.32 seconds established a new world record.

Naim Suleymanoglu (TUR-weightlifting) became the first weightlifter in history to win three consecutive Olympic titles.

Sailor Hubert Raudaschl (AUT) became the first person ever to compete in nine Olympics. Before he began his streak in 1964, he was a reserve in 1960.

Some demonstration sports were included in various editions of the Olympic Games up until 1992. The Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) could integrate demonstration sports into the Olympic programme. However, the organisation of these demonstrations created a lot of extra work for the OCOGs, which had to provide services that were almost identical to those for the sports on the Olympic programme. Therefore, at the 95th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), held in 1989 in Puerto Rico, it was decided that demonstration sports would be eliminated definitively from the 1996 Atlanta Games onwards.

Sydney 2000 Highlights
"Olly", a kookaburra, "Syd", a platypus; and "Millie", an echidna, are three native animals chosen as mascots for the Sydney 2000 Games. These Australian animals represent the earth, air and water.

Korea (South Korea) and Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) marched together under the same flag.

Four athletes from East Timor took part under the Olympic flag as individual athletes (IOA : individual Olympic athletes).

The first medal won by Vietnam since it began competing in the Olympic Games in 1952: Hieu Ngan Tran, taekwondo, silver medallist in the women 49-57kg category.

Cathy Freeman (AUS-athletics) had the honour to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony of the Games. She symbolized the desire to reconsiliate the people of Australia and was the aborigine medal hopeful.Ten days later, Cathy Freeman won the 400m final which was a clear victory before an ecstatic crowd.

Ian Thorpe (AUS-swimming), 17 years old, won the Gold medal in the 400m freestyle by breaking his own world record. He then swam the anchor leg in the 4x100m freestyle and won again. He finally gained another Gold medal with the 4x200m freestyle Australian relay team and a silver medal in the 200m freestyle.

Marion Jones (USA-athletics) was the first woman to win five medals in athletics in the same Olympics. She began with a crushing victory in the 100m and scored an easy win in the 200m. She won the bronze in the long jump and the 4x100m relay, and finally ran for the 4x400m relay squad that won the Gold medal.

Steven Redgrave (GBR- rowing) became the first athlete to win Gold medals in five consecutive Olympics.