"The Oldie is an incredible magazine - perhaps the best magazine in the world right now" Graydon Carter, founder of Air Mail and former Editor of Vanity Fair

Subscribe to the Oldie and get a free cartoon book


Quite Interesting Things about … the Olympics. John Lloyd

Blog | By John Lloyd | Jul 10, 2024

Greece at the 1928 Summer Olympics.

Get prepared for the upcoming Paris Olympics with some 'quite interesting' facts from John Lloyd

The ancient Greek city of Megara held a version of the Olympic Games which included a kissing contest. Only boys were allowed to enter.

The fastest 100 metres run by an eight-year-old today would have won bronze at the 1896 Olympics.

The 1900 Paris Olympics included live pigeon shooting and long jump for horses.

Horses competing in the Olympics today have their own passports and fly business class.

Croquet was dropped as an Olympic sport after 1900 because only one spectator turned up to watch.

Players in Canada’s 1904 Olympic lacrosse team included Rain-in-Face, Snake Eater and Man Afraid Soap.

At the 1908 London Olympic Games, Great Britain won gold, silver and bronze in the Tug-of-War.

In 1924, Jack Yeats, brother of the poet W B Yeats, won Ireland’s first-ever Olympic medal – a silver for painting.

At the 1928 Olympics, oarsman Henry Pearce stopped to let a family of ducks cross his lane and went on to win the gold medal.

At the 1932 Olympics, the 3,000-metre steeplechase was run over 3,400 metres because an official lost count of the number of laps.

Quarantine laws meant that the 1956 Melbourne Olympics equestrian events took place in Stockholm.

The only woman not to be gender-tested at the 1976 Montreal Olympics was Princess Anne.

Many of the doves released at the opening ceremony of the 1988 Seoul Olympics were roasted alive when the Olympic flame was lit.

John Lloyd

222 QI Answers to Your Quite Ingenious Questions

For more on QI, visit qi.com and, on Twitter, @qikipedia