Facts, strange and bizarre

Baron Coubertin was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1936, but the committee jury did not name him in the final list. That left the Baron a little sad.

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The Baron left a will stating that his heart be buried in Olympia in Greece and the IOC did accordingly. He died on September 2, 1937 at the age of 77.

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While there is a dispute whether Hitler awarded the medals to Jesse Owens in 1936 at Berlin, what caused dismay to the sports fraternity was the failure of the US President, Roosevelt, to send the four-gold medallist a congratulatory message!

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Bob Beamon achieved his incredible long jump of 8.90 metres at Mexico in his first jump. “I cannot go on, what’s the point,” commented the defending champion, Lynn Davies. He told Beamon, “You have destroyed the event.”

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Nadia Comaneci is the first athlete to be awarded the Olympic Order of Merit twice by the International Olympic Committee.

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Linford Christie was 32 years old when he won the 100 metres sprint for Britain at Barcelona in 1992.

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American diving legend Greg Louganis withheld the information to the doctor that he was a HIV positive competitor. His book “Breaking the Surface” was on top of the New York Times chart for five weeks.

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When Knud Jensen, the Danish cyclist, dropped dead during the 100km race in 1960 in Rome, many thought it was a sun stroke. But an autopsy revealed amphetamines and nicotinyl tartrate, a blood circulation stimulant. Drug testing was introduced in 1972.

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An hour after Momo Walde won the marathon gold in 1968 at Mexico, a runner from Tanzania, John Stephen Akhwari, entered the stadium. He was the last man in the race. Why? He suffered a knee dislocation but hobbled on and on to finish the race. He received spontaneous approbation for his heroics. When asked why he did not quit when so badly injured, Akhwari replied, “My country did not send me 5000 miles to start the race. They sent me 5000 miles to finish the race.”

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Pyambu Tuul of Mongolia finished last in the 1992 marathon in Barcelona. Queried at the finish as to why he was so slow, he claimed that for Mongolia he was the Olympic Champion. Then came the revelation: He said, “As for it being the greatest day of my life, no it isn’t. Up till six months ago I had no sight at all. I was a totally blind person. When I trained it was only with the aid of friends who ran with me. But a group of doctors came to my country last year to do humanitarian medical work. One doctor took a look at my eyes and asked me questions. I told him I had been unable to see since childhood. He said, ‘But I can fix your sight with a simple operation’. So he did the operation on me and after 20 years I could see again. So today wasn’t the greatest day of my life. The best day was when I got my sight back and I saw my wife and two daughters for the first time. And they are beautiful.”

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The men’s singles tennis contest between Gordon Lowe of Britain and Anthanasios Zerlendidtis of Greece at Antwerp in 1920 went on for six hours owing to long rallies. The tired ball boys forced the match to be stopped to have their lunch before allowing the players to resume. Lowe won 14-12, 6-8, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.