Happy Olympic Day!


Fact of the Day


Thai weightlifter Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon has the record for the longest name of any Olympic champion, at 31 letters

Thai weightlifter Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon has the record for the longest name of any Olympic champion, at 31 letters. She was born Junpim Kuntatean but changed it on the advice of fortune teller she saw in 2007 who told her it would improve her chances of winning an Olympic gold medal. The name means "Good Girl, Prosperous" and was so long that when she won the gold medal in the 53 kilograms category at Beijing 2008 it did not fit onto the scoreboard, which listed her as "J".

Ahmed Boughèra El Ouafi won the Olympic marathon at Amsterdam in 1928, representing France having been spotted after joining the French military in his native Algeria.

Ahmed Boughèra El Ouafi won the Olympic marathon at Amsterdam in 1928, representing France having been spotted after joining the military in his native Algeria, a French territory at the time. He was banned following his victory when the authorities ruled him a professional after touring the United States to take part in races. He was killed in 1961, three days after his 61st birthday, while sitting in a café in Paris by members of the pro-Algeria independence party, the National Liberation Front, after he had refused to support them.

Toshiyuki "Harold" Sakata won an Olympic silver medal in light-heavyweight weighlifting at London 1948, where he competed for the United States

Toshiyuki "Harold" Sakata won an Olympic silver medal in light-heavyweight weighlifting at London 1948, where he competed for the United States. But he found much greater fame when, in 1964, he was given the role of Oddjob in the James Bond movie Goldfinger where he was bodyguard to the villain Auric Goldfinger. His sharpened, steel-brimmed bowler hat became a famous and much-parodied trademark of the Bond series. Sakata appeared in several other movies in similar roles and took on "Oddjob" as an informal middle name.


Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux was in second place and poised to win an Olympic medal in the Finn class at Seoul 1988 when he abandoned the race to save Singapore rivals Joseph Chan and Siew Shaw Her, competing in the 470 class, which was sharing the co

Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux was in second place and poised to win an Olympic medal in the Finn class at Seoul 1988 when he abandoned the race to save Singapore pair Joseph Chan and Siew Shaw Her, competing in the 470 class, which was sharing the course. They had been thrown into the rough water in Pusan. After he rescued Chan and Siew, Lemieux waited for and transferred the two sailors onto an official patrol boat. He then finished 22nd, missing out on his chance of a medal, but was recognised by the International Olympic Committee with the Pierre de Coubertin medal honouring his bravery and sacrifice.

The first black African skier to compete in the Winter Olympics was Senegal's Lamine Guèye, who made his debut at Sarajevo 1984

The first black African skier to compete in the Winter Olympics was Senegal's Lamine Guèye, who made his debut at Sarajevo 1984. Guèye, who had founded the Senegalese Ski Federation in 1979, went on to compete at Albertville 1992 and Lillehammer 1994. Guèye has subsequently become a prominent figure in drawing attention to what he considers to be discriminatory qualification rules for the Winter Olympics, and has written to the International Olympic Committee requesting that all countries be granted the right to participate in the Winter Games, as was the case up to 1992.

At the Closing Ceremony of Moscow 1980 an Olympic Flag handover took place for the first time.

At the Closing Ceremony of Moscow 1980 an Olympic Flag handover took place for the first time. But, because the United States had boycotted the Games in protest at the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan, the Los Angeles flag, rather than the American flag, was raised to symbolise the next host city. And the Olympic flag was handed over to International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch, rather than Los Angeles Mayor Thomas Bradley.

Denmark's Lis Hartel became the first woman in the equestrian sports to win an Olympic medal when she earned a silver medal in the individual dressage at Helsinki 1952

Denmark's Lis Hartel became the first woman in the equestrian sports to win an Olympic medal when she earned a silver in the individual dressage at Helsinki 1952. Four years later, she again won silver at the Melbourne Games in which the equestrian events were held in Stockholm because of Australian quarantine laws. She achieved her success despite suffering from polio when she was 23. She gradually reactivated most of her muscles, although she remained paralysed below the knees and her arms and hands also were affected, meaning she needed help to get on and off her horse.

Haiti's Samyr Laine, 11th in the triple jump at London 2012, is a close personal friend of Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, having shared a room with him while both students at Harvard University

Haiti's Samyr Laine, 11th in the triple jump at London 2012, is a close personal friend of Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, having shared a room with him while both students at Harvard University. The American-born Laine, whose parents are Haitian, was the 14th member to join Facebook, the social networking site which now has more than a billion users. "He was always incredibly hard working and serious, both as a student and as an athlete," wrote Zuckerberg on Facebook during London 2012. "He's also just a really nice guy."

Czechoslovakia's Vlastimil Bubník, who until 2010 shared with Canada's Harry Watson and Russia's Valeri Kharlamov the record of being the highest points scorer in the history of Olympic ice hockey, also represented his country at football

Czechoslovakia's Vlastimil Bubník, who until 2010 shared the record of being the highest points scorer in the history of Olympic ice hockey, also represented his country at football. As an ice hockey player, Bubník scored 39 points in four Olympics, winning a bronze medal at Innsbruck 1964. Four years earlier, as a footballer, he had scored one of Czechoslovakia's goals in their 2-0 defeat of host nation France to claim third place in the 1960 European Nations Cup in Marseille.

The first Winter Paralympic Games were held in 1976 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden

The first Winter Paralympic Games were held in 1976 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden and were originally called the 1st Winter Olympic Games for the Disabled. They were the first Paralympics in which multiple categories of athletes with disabilities could compete and featured competitions in Alpine and Nordic skiing for amputee and visually impaired athletes, and a demonstration event in ice sledge racing. A total of 198 athletes from 16 countries took part with West Germany topping the medals table with a total of 28 medals, ten of them gold.

South Africa were banned from competing in the Olympics on the eve of the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo due to its apartheid policies but were allowed to continue competing in the Paralympics until after the 1976 Games in Toronto.

South Africa were banned from competing in the Olympics on the eve of Tokyo 1964 due to its apartheid policies but were allowed to continue taking part in the Paralympics until after the 1976 Games in Toronto. Similarly, Rhodesia were banned from the 1972 Olympics in Munich, in response to African countries' protests against its white regime, but were allowed to take part in the Paralympics in Heidelberg. South Africa returned to the Olympics and Paralympics at Barcelona in 1992 while Rhodesia was renamed Zimbabwe in 1980.

A Unified Team of Germany competed in the 1956, 1960, and 1964 Winter and Summer Olympic Games as a united team of athletes from West and East

A Unified Team of Germany competed in the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Winter and Summer Olympic Games as a united team of athletes from the West and East. In 1956 the team also included athletes from a third Olympic body, the Saarland Olympic Committee, which had sent a separate team in 1952, but in 1956 was in the process of joining the German National Olympic Committee. This process was completed in February 1957 after the admission of Saarland into West Germany.

Margaret Abbott was the first American woman to win an Olympic event, claiming gold in golf at Paris 1900

Margaret Abbott was the first American woman to win an Olympic event, claiming gold in golf at Paris 1900. But the Games were so poorly organised many competitors, including Abbott, did not realise they were taking part in the Olympics. Historical research did not establish golf was on the Olympic programme until after her death in 1955, so she never knew it. Her mother, Mary, a novelist, also competed in the event, finishing joint seventh, making it the first - and still only - Olympic event in which mother and daughter competed together.

Shooter Jasna Šekarić is the only athlete to compete under different flags at the Olympics

Shooter Jasna Šekarić is the only athlete to compete under four different flags at the Olympics. She made her debut for Yugoslavia at Seoul in 1988, winning a gold medal in the 10 metre air rifle. She competed under the Olympic flag at Barcelona four years later, winning silver. At Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 she represented Serbia and Montenegro, taking silver twice. Then, at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, she competed for Serbia following Montenegro's independence.