1. In the first modern Olympics in Athens 1896, first place winners were awarded silver medals and olive branches. Second place contestants were awarded bronze medals and third place finishers left empty handed.
2. The Norwegians have a record 107 golds in Winter Olympics competition. Only nine countries (United States, USSR, Austria, Germany, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and East Germany) have won more total medals in the Winter Games.
3. Women were not allowed to participate in the first modern Olympics, but they were soon added to the competition for the 1900 Paris games.
4. First place winners in the 1900 Paris Olympics received paintings instead of gold medals because they were considered to be more valuable.
6. Every two years the Olympic flame is lit at Olympia, Greece by women clad in traditional Greek clothing. Lit through the use concave mirror and the sun’s rays, the flame then begins a journey from Greece to the host nation where it is paraded around for months until the opening ceremonies.
7. Given that there are more medals to win at Summer Olympics than Winter Olympics (there were 302 medal events in London compared to 98 in Sochi), most countries have won far more medals in the summer. The U.S., for instance, has 2,400 Summer Olympics medals compared to 253 Winter Olympics medals.
9. The first Olympic city to award Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals was St. Louis in 1904.
10. Stockholm 1912 saw the last gold medals made entirely from gold. Current medals are gold-plated.