Japan is making all of its medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics out of discarded electronics.
During the 1936 Berlin Olympics, two Japanese pole vaulters who tied for second place refused to participate in a tie-breaker. Upon returning to Japan, they cut their medals in half and fused them to one another so each athlete ended up with a half-silver, half-bronze medal.
Branches from a 3000 year old, still living, Greek olive tree were used to weave victors’ wreaths for the winners of the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
At the first Olympic marathon, the stopwatch from the start of the race had to be carried by bicycle all the way to the finish line before the first runners arrived.
In 1908 the Russian Olympic team arrived at the Olympics in London 12 days late because it was still using the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar.
The first athlete to be disqualified at the Olympics for drug use was a Swedish pentathlete who drank two beers before his shooting event to calm his nerves.
In the month before the ancient Olympics no wars were permitted so that spectators could travel from across Greece unharmed.
US ski jumper Anders Haugen finished 4th at the 1924 Olympics, when 50 years later a Norwegian historian discovered a scoring error was made and Haugen should have gotten the bronze medal, which was handed to him in Norway in 1974 by the daughter of the original bronze medal winner.
Czechoslovak runner Emil Zátopek decided to compete in the marathon in the 1952 Olympics, despite never having run that distance in his life. Zátopek asked fellow runner Jim Peters, who he was racing alongside, if the pace was fast enough. When Peters said “no”, Zátopek sped up and won the race.
It took Quebec until 2006 to pay off its debt from hosting the 1976 Summer Olympics.