Now that Beijing Olympics is going to start today on August 8, media is rushing to let you know about many Olympics facts. Some of them were new to me, some I was contemplating from a new perspective. by the way, did you notice todays’s date: 08-08-08. 🙂
It surprised me to know men feigned as women in Olympics because they thought it was easier to gain medals in female competitions. So to be sure that only females were participating, female athletes were paraded in nude before a panel of doctors. Now the lab has come up with a test that all female athletes have to take to prove their gender. 😦 Indian athlete Santhi Soundarajan was stripped of her silver medal at the Asian Games, two years ago, after failing a verification test. You can read more about this sex-verification stuff at this NY Times article.
Yuu can know 10 facts about ancient Olympics. They all played in nude then! Only prudes were known to cover their organs. 😦 It was Romans who banned Ancient Olympics as they believe it to be a pagan activity.
I read a nice article in Outlook, that listed all the laurels Indian had got in past in Olympics. It was hockey that harvested most golds for India in Olympics. Even after a movie like Chak De, its has been hard to revive Indian Hockey. We just saw suspension of hockey federation by Indian Olympic Association.
It was an anglo-Indian Norman Pritchard who bagged silver medals for India in 1900 Olymics. But Britishers insisted that medal were theirs, though IOA credits these medals to India. Norman Pritchard went on to act in Hollywood and Broadway.
It felt sad to revisit the fact that P. T. Usha missed bronze medal by one hundredth of a second. One hundredth of a second!
Photo courtesy Hindu Photo Library
The legend of Milkha Singh in 1960 Olympics at Rome is also hard to forget. This ‘flying Sikh’ was leading in 400m final but turned back to look at his competitors, and was overtaken by 3 others. A regretful loss of a possible gold medal. See what now 72-year-old Milkha Singh has got to tell about his life.
This year India is hoping to reap medals in tennis, boxing and shooting at this Olympics. This year India is first time sending a team of swimmers. India is only sending 57-sportsperson (but 42 officials!) for 302 events. World press has not even commented on our Olympic athletes. Read more of such ironies and details about Indian Olympic squad about India’s Olympics team here.
Meanwhile, famous Chinese film director, Zhang Yimou, who directed Raise the Red Lantern and House of Flying Daggers, has designed the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing. It took him three years to design it! The ceremony depicts 5,000 years of Chinese history in a 50-minute show. Chinese have also arranged for meteorologists who have been assigned the task to keep clouds at bay so that rains do not interrupt the events.
You can watch Olympics on Internet here at special Olympic channel at youtube.
Update: We (India) won a gold in 10m Air Rifle. 23-year-old Abhinav Bindra has done us proud with India’s first gold medal! yaaye! 😀