Did you know that……..?

Did you know that…….

Ancient Olympic athletes competed in the nude ?

The word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek word gymnos, which means naked. In ancient times athletes practiced in the nude to the accompaniment of music. They also performed naked at the Olympic Games. Women were not allowed to participate or even to attend as spectators.

The first Olympic games were held in 776BC – and then every 4 years until 339BC. The first Olympic race was won by Corubus, a chef. For many years the Olympics consisted of only one race, a sprint of 192 metres (210 yards, the length of the stadium) called the “stadion.” A second race of 400 metres was added 50 years later. The pentathlon, wrestling, boxing, single-horse and four-horse chariot races were included later still. There also was a special event in which runners competed in hoplite armor, helmet, shield, and greaves that weighed 20-25 kg (50-60 lbs). There were no team events, relay races or the long distance race of Marathon – these events were introduced in the modern Olympics.

Go for silver
No medals were awarded in the ancient Olympics. A winner received an olive wreath to wear on his head. Second and third placings received nothing. When the Olympics were revived in 1896 in Athens, Greece, winners received silver medals instead of gold medals. Eight years later, at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, gold replaced silver for first place. Today’s gold medals actually are sterling silver covered with a thin coat of gold.

Olympic medals since 1928 have featured the same design on the front: a Greek goddess, the Olympic Rings, the coliseum of ancient Athens, a Greek vase known as an amphora, a horse-drawn chariot, and the year, number of the Olympiad, and host city.

Games for all
At the first modern Olympic Games there were 311 male but no female competitors. Women were allowed to take part in the next Olympics in Paris. In the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games there were 3543 female competitors.

The oldest Olympic athlete at the Sydney Games was a 62-year-old archer representing Vanuatu. But he has some years to go to be the oldest ever Olympian. That title is held by Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn who won his sixth Olympic medal at the 1920 Antwerp Games at the age of 72 years and 280 days old. The youngest ever Olympian is Greek gymnast Dimitrios Loundras, who competed in the 1896 Athens Olympics. He was 10 years old.

The first ever perfect score of 10 in Olympic gymnastics was achieved at the 1976 Montreal Olympics by Romanian Nadia Comaneci. She won 3 gold medals.

The record for the most Olympic medals ever won is held by Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina. Competing in three Olympics, between 1956 and 1964, she won 18 medals: 9 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze. Thus she also tops the list of gold medals winners, beating Olympic stars such as US swimmer Mark Spitz and Finnish long distance runner Paavo Nurmi.

The Olympic Games is the largest single broadcast event in the world, broadcasted in 220 countries to more than 3.5 bilion people.

Did you know that…….

The yo-yo is the second oldest known toy in the world (only the doll is older), and was born over 3,000 years ago in the days of ancient Greece?

Did you know that…….

Ancient Greeks ate dinner while lying on their sides?

Greek food today, with slight variation (such as the addition of the tomato after 1500 AD), is about the same as it has been for over 2000 years?

Greeks consume more olive oil per capita than any other group of people?

Did you know that…….

The length of Greece’s coastline is estimated at 9,300 miles; America’s coastline is estimated at 11,800 miles. The land area of Greece is slightly smaller than Alabama!

Did you know that…….

Greek was the language of education in the Roman Empire?

The Greeks were the first to develop an alphabet with vowels.

The Greek Alphabet is the forerunner of the alphabet we use in English today?

Greek is one of the few European languages where the word NO does not have any sort of “N” sound?

If a word has a “ph” in it, it is probably Greek?

Did you know that…….

The flag of Greece (popularly referred to as the galanolefki or the kianolefki, the “blue-white”), officially recognized by Greece as one of its national symbols, is based on nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white. There is a blue canton in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white cross; the cross symbolizes eastern orthodox christianity, the established religion of the Greek people of Greece and Cyprus. According to popular tradition, the nine stripes represent the nine syllables of the phrase “Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος” (“Freedom or Death”, ” E-lef-the-ri-a i Tha-na-tos”),a battle cry during the revolution against the Ottoman occupation. The five blue stripes for the syllables “Έλευθερία” and the four white stripes “ή Θάνατος”. The nine stripes are also said to represent the letters of the word “freedom” (Greek: Ελευθερία).

It is widely believed that the colors of the Greek flag come from the blue of the sky and the white of the waves.

Did you know that…….

Feta, which is made from goat’s milk, is the Greece’s national cheese. It dates back to the Homeric ages, and the average per-capita consumption of feta cheese in Greece is the highest in the world.

Did you know that…….

Greeks do not wave with an open hand. In fact, it is considered an insult to show the palm of he hand with the fingers extended. Greeks wave with the palm closed. NEVER DO THIS GESTURE DURING YOUR TRIP TO GREECE!

Did you know that…….

The British poet Lord Byron (1788-1824) was so enamored with the Greeks that he traveled to Greece to fight against the Turks in the Greek War of Independence. He contracted a fever there and died at the age of 36. The Greeks consider him a national hero.

Did you know that…….

The word “barbarian” comes from Greek barbaroi, which means people who don’t speak Greek and therefore sound like they’re saying “bar-bar-bar-bar.

Did you know that…….

Only boys and men were actors in ancient Greek plays. They wore large masks so audience members could see what part they were playing. Theater staff carried big sticks because sometimes the huge audiences would get excited by a play and would riot.

The word “tragedy” is Greek for “goat-song” (tragos=goat)because early Greek tragedies honored Dionysus, the god of wine, and the players wore goatskins. Tragedies were noble stories of gods, kings, and heroes. Comedy or “revel,” on the other hand, were about lower-class characters and their antics.

Did you know that…….

Alexander the Great was the first Greek ruler to put his own face on Greek coins. Previously, Greek coins had shown the face of a god or goddess.

Greece’s currency, the drachma, was 2,650 years old and Europe’s oldest currency. The drachma was replaced with the Euro in 2002.

Did you know that…….

According to Greek mythology, Athena and Poseidon agreed that whoever gave the city the best gift would become guardian over the city. Poseidon provided either a wonderful horse or a salt-water spring rising from the slopes of the Acropolis, but Athena provided the olive tree, giving shade, oil, and olives. The Greeks preferred her gift and named the city after her and built the Parthenon on the Acropolis where Athena is believed to have produced the first olive tree.

Did you know that…….

Greece has zero navigable rivers because of the mountainous terrain. Nearly 80% of Greece is mountainous.
An old Greek legend says that when God created the world, he sifted all the soil onto the earth through a strainer. After every country had good soil, he tossed the stones left in the strainer over his shoulder and created Greece.

Did you know that…….

Over 40% of the population lives in the capital Athens (Athina in Greek). Since becoming the capital of modern Greece, its population has risen from 10,000 in 1834 to 3.6 million in 2001.

Continuously inhabited for over 7,000 years, Athens is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is also the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, political science, Western literature, historiography, major mathematical principles, and Western theories of tragedy and comedy.

Did you know that…….

Retirement homes are rare in Greece. Grandparents usually live with their children’s family until they die. Most young people live with their families until they marry!!!

Did you know that…….

Ostracism allowed Athenian citizens to temporarily exile people thought dangerous to the public. If it was voted that ostracism was necessary, each citizen inscribed a name on a piece of pottery or ostracon in a secret ballet. The person with the most names had to leave town in 10 days for 10 years.

Did you know that…….

One of Greece’s most famous modern writer is Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957). His novels Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ were both made into movies. The Greek Orthodox Church expelled him for The Last Temptation of Christ! Due to this, he is buried on the wall surrounding the city of Heraklion near the Chania Gate, as the Orthodox Church ruled out his being buried in a cemetery. His epitaph reads “I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”

Did you know that…….

in Greece, children and adults alike play an egg cracking game called tsougrisma on Easter? Players attempt to crack their eggs against their friend’s egg; the last person with an un-cracked egg is considered the lucky one. The Greeks traditionally dye their eggs red, symbolizing the blood and passion of Christ.

Did you know that…….

The foustanela skirt consists of 400 pleats symbolizing the years during which Greece was under Ottoman rule.
The costume derives its name from the pleated white skirt (foustanela) made of many triangular shaped pieces of cloth sewn together diagonally. The foustanela was worn by the Greek fighters of the 1821 revolution and today it serves as the official uniform of the Evzones, Greece’s Presidential Guard, who can be seen guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens.