If you’re like us, you’re glued to the 2018 Winter Olympics. We can’t get enough of the daring snowboarding runs, dazzling figure skating, intense skiing, and, of course the Norwegian curling team’s pants. With our Olympic fever high, we pulled together 9 facts about the Olympic Games past and present that blew our minds!

  • The first Olympic Games took place in 8th century B.C. in Olympia, Greece and then every four years for 12 centuries. However, Emperor Theodosius I banned all pagan festivals in 4th century A.D. The first modern Olympics took place in Athens, Greece, in 1896.
  • 280 men from 13 nations competed in 43 events including track and field, gymnastics, swimming, wrestling, cycling, tennis, weightlifting, shooting and fencing in those first Olympics. Back then, there were no cool curling pants – athletes competed naked.
  • The Olympics didn’t take place in 1916 during World War, or in 1940 and 1944 during World War II.
  • Women have been allowed to compete in the Olympics since 1900. The 2012 Summer Olympics in London were the first in which all participating countries sent female athletes.
  • English and French are the official languages of the Olympics. They are complemented by the official language of the host country.
  • Artists once competed in the Olympics. From 1912-1948, medals were up for grabs in disciplines like painting, sculpting, writing, and music.
  • 1994 marked the first time the winter Olympics were held in a different year than the Summer Olympics. They have been alternated every two years since then.
  • The estimated cost of the PyeongChang Olympics is $13 billion, which is four times less than the 2014 Sochi Olympics – the most expensive games ever.
  • Speed and scoring aren’t the only records being broken at the 2018 Olympics. The U.S. sent 242 athletes to PyeongChang, a record for any country. A record-setting 92 countries are participating in still another record-setting 102 events. 222 medals will be awarded by the end of the PyeongChange Olympics. Each medal weighs 586 grams, a record-setting weight for a medal.

What is your favorite Olympic event? Want to visit the place where the games began? Learn about our travel programs to Greece!