Hollywood and the Olympics are more similar than you think. Both involve beautiful people, a little not-so-friendly competition, and an obsession with bling.
In fact, the celebrity and Olympic realm have collided in the past; Salma Hayek was once recruited to play for the Mexican gymnastics team, and Geena Davis almost made it to the Olympics for Archery.
The upcoming 2012 London Olympics won’t be shy to the stars either; Anne Romney’s horse, Rafalca will be participating in the games and Zara Phillips (granddaughter of the queen) will continue the royal legacy by competing in the equestrian events.
If the influence of Hollyweird on the Olympics was news to you, here’s 10 more things you didn’t know about the Olympics.
1. The colors of the Olympic rings represent every flag in the world
The five colors of yellow, green, red, black, and blue were chosen for the Olympic rings because every flag in the world contains at least one of those colors. The five rings also represent the five major continents of the world.
2. Athletes used to bare it all
According to ancient Greek writings and sculpture, the very first Olympians competed in the nude. Uncomfortable much? The word “gymnasium” is actually derived from the Greek word “gymnos,” meaning “naked.” Women were not allowed to compete in the Olympics back then, so it wasn’t too awkward.
3. The USA is the most successful country of the Summer Olympic Games
The United States has won more medals at the Summer Olympic Games than any other country.
4. The first drug suspension was for alcohol abuse
The first Olympian to be banned for drug use was Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, during the 1968 Mexico City games. The Swedish pentathalete decided to get a little schwaysted before the event, and he wasn’t allowed to compete.
5. Not every Olympic sport stands the test of time
Some Olympic sports that used to exist but are no longer featured in the games are polo, lacrosse, golf, power boating, tug-of-war, and even poodle clipping.
6. Gold medals aren’t 100% gold
The last Olympic gold medal that was made completely out of gold was awarded during the 1912 Olympic games. Now gold medals only have to be coated in 6 grams of gold.
7. Horseback riding is an equal opportunity Olympic sport
The equestrian dressage competition is one of the only Olympic events in which men and women compete directly against each other.
8. Real pigeons were used for the trap-shooting event
In the modern trap-shooting event, competitors shoot at clay pigeons, but participants at the 1900 Olympic games shot at real birds. Let’s just say PETA didn’t exist back then.
9. Kids named after the Olympics
Ever since the year 2000 when the Beijing Olympic games were first announced, more that 3,500 Chinese babies have been named “Aoyun” (which translates to “Olympics”).
10. Gymnasts believe in bobby pins
Ever wonder how gymnasts keep their hair so perfect? It is predicted that about 5,820 packs of bobby pins will be used throughout the Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnast competitions of the London Olympics.