Monday, 28 November 2011

The History Of The Olympic Torch (Part 1)

Dear Readers,

After my last post about the logo of Olympic begining our first ever recorded olympic event Athen 1896 right to the upcoming olympic to be hosted by London in the year 2012, click here for related post and I decided to prepare another post all about the Olympic torch ever crossed the continent before the grand event of the olympic begins to where the torch bearer light the fire of olympic which marks the begining of the sports. 

According to wikipedia resource "The Olympic Flame or Olympic Torch is a symbol of the Olympic Games. Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, its origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics. The fire was reintroduced at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, and it has been part of the modern Olympic Games ever since. According to legend, the torch's flame has been kept burning ever since the first Olympics."

Flame from the ancient games was reintroduced during the 1928 Games. An employee of the Electric Utility of Amsterdam lit the first Olympic flame in the Marathon Tower of the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam.

But the first ever olympic torch relay introduced in mordern day Olympic started in 1936 where the olympic was hosted by Berlin. The idea of Olympic Torch Relay approved by the International Olympic Committee  came from Carl Deim during that time he was the Secretatry General of the Berlin Games Organising Committee to carry the flame in relay from Olympia to Berlin.

The National Olympic Committees of Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany (the seven countries which the flame relay went through) were entirely favourable to the idea and cooperated enthusiastically in the project. The Organising Committee planned a route crossing the capitals of each of these countries.
The torch itself, designed by the sculpor Lemcke, was in polished steel. On the handle, the inscription "Fackelstaffel-Lauf Olympia-Berlin 1936", with Olympic rings and the German eagle superimposed. On the bottom part, the line of the flame's route from Olympia to Berlin. On the platform, the inscription "Organisazions-Komitee für die XI. Olympiade Berlin 1926 Als Dank dem Trager". 

 Since we have known briefly about how the Olympic Torch Relay started in the Modern Olympic, now let us get to know what are the meaning of each torch designed for the Olympic event held every 4 year for every olympic host since the 1st medern olympic torch designed for the Olympic Torch relay in the year 1936.

Note: The detailed information of the torch in this post is remained to preserve the originality of the author/resource of the information.

Berlin 1936 Olympic Torch

Two secondary relays carried the flame from Olympic Stadium in Berlin to the off-site aquatic venues: Grunau (for the rowing course), and Kiel (yachting). The cauldron in Kiel sat in an old Hanseatic galley in the bay. Kiel would also be the yachting site of the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The first torch relay was staged ahead of the Berlin Games. Designed by sculptor Walter Lemcke and manufactured by steel and armaments giant Freidrich Krupp, 3,840 torches were made for 3,331 runners.
Two separate fuses ensured they could re-ignite should the burning point fall away. They were stainless steel, 27cm long and weighed 450g.

London 1948 Special Olympic Torch
There were three types of torches used during the relay : a standard torch, a torch with a gas recipient for the sea crossing and a torch for the last runner (here).
The torch carried the inscription "XIV OLYMPIAD LONDON 1948" and was in stainless steel. It was created for the last leg of the race, the entrance to the stadium. The flame was in magnesium so it would burn brightly and been seen beyond the stadium even in bright sunshine.
London 1948 Normal Olympic Torch
 The last time the Olympic Games and a torch relay were held in the UK was in 1948. That torch was designed by Ralph Lavers, a fan of classical architecture. He needed to create something inexpensive but well-crafted for a torch to travel across Europe ahead of the "Austerity Games". Two types were made - one aluminium, with hexamine/naphthalene tablets stacked up inside and one for the final stretch in the stadium with a magnesium flame in a stainless steel holder, to be seen in bright daylight.

Helsinki 1952 Olympic Torch

It was reported that Only 22 torches were made, rather than a mass production of hundreds. Instead, there were 1,600 gas canisters made to fuel them. Men ran with the torch for a 1km stretch, women slightly less. The torches were passed between runners and swapped for one with a fresh canister after about 20 minutes.
A 600g silver top rested in a curly birch holder. They were given to Olympic and sports organisations after the Games. 

According to, one of the Torch  was sold for $185000 during a 2006 Auction.

Melbourne 1956 Olympic Torch
This Torch designed looks almost similar to the 1948 London Summer Olympic, according to the reason for this similar design was an effort continuity of the olympic games

Ralph Lavers' London design is credited with inspiring the Melbourne torches. Equestrian events were held in Stockholm so the torch travelled to Sweden and Australia. Down Under, the torch was diverted around floods and braved bumpy roads that threatened to extinguish the back-up miners' lights. The times estimated for runners to complete each mile varied as it went through the tropics and temperate climes. It reached Melbourne after being carried 20,470km by 3,118 runners.

Rome 1960 Olympic Torch
It was intentionally based on a classic model, inspired by the torches reproduced on ancient monuments. The base bears the inscription: "Giocchi della XVII Olympiade". 

The slim, fluted design of the bronzed aluminium 580g torch was based on those seen on ancient monuments. The relay travelled from Greece, following the course taken by the ancients when they founded colonies on Sicily and the Italian peninsular to create Magna Grecia. The torch was design by Pier Luigi Nervi.

Tokyo 1964 Olympic Torch

It was made of a cylindrical tube covered in stainless steel and filed with gunpowder and smoke. The support was designed to go with the torch and was specially made in aluminium to limit its weight. It carries the inscription "XVIII Olympiad Tokyo 1964", alongside the Olympic rings. 

The torch travelled by air, land and sea from Olympia to Tokyo. In Japan, the flame split along four routes before reuniting. Yoshinori Sakai, born in Hiroshima on 6 August, 1945, the day the atomic bomb dropped, was the final runner and lit the cauldron. When the torch entered the stadium, chrysanthemum perfume was released from sprayers under the spectator stands.

Mexico 1968 Olympic Torch
Its design recaptures the "Mexico 68" logo, featured on the emblem as well as on the posters. It is cone-shaped, grooved and carved, and bears the inscription "MEXICO 68" on the top at the side where the flame comes out.
The 3,000 whisk-like torches featured a 3-D Mexico '68 emblem on the flaming top. The relay followed the route of Christopher Columbus from Europe to the New World where, for the first time, the cauldron was lit by a woman, Enriqueta Basileo. The solid fuel mixture was unexpectedly volatile - some minor explosions occurred and runners were slightly burned.

Munich 1972 Olympic Torch
 "Spiele der XX Olympiade München 1972" on the combustion tube. On the handle, the Olympic rings and the emblem of the Games, representing a crown of rays of light. 

The games marred by a terrorist attack we easthetically defined by Frei Otto's tent like stadium and
Otl Aicher's widely-adopted sporting stickmen were a key design feature of the Games. The gas torch was made of nickel chromium steel in three parts - handle, plate and fire pipe screwed together. It was tested for resilience to extreme weather - including with a hand-spray to simulate heavy rain. But not for extreme heat - when temperatures hit 46C en route from Greece to Germany, special pressurised torches had to be used.

Montreal 1976 Olympic Torch

The graphics and design management team of the Organising Committee for these Games opted for a functional design and a lightweight material, aluminium, thinking that each runner had to run one kilometre holding the torch. The colour black was chosen with the aim of making the flame more visible on the photographs.

They designed a red-handled torch with black burner and a gold and black special presentation edition. The flame was for the first time carried by a laser beam via satellite from Athens to Ottowa. But the torch ran on the more-traditional olive oil. On 22 July the Olympic cauldron went out during a storm and was re-lit from the back-up flame.
Moscow 1980 Olympic Torch

On the handle, the caption: "Moskva Olimpiada 1980" (Moscow Olympiad 1980). On the platform, the emblem of the Games.

Different again from what had come before, the gold and silver torch had a cup on top of a burner and the handle was shielded by a protective screen. Leningrad enterprises made 6,200 gas torches designed by Boris Tuchin. It was registered as a state invention of the USSR and given certificate number 729414.

Resource from :

Trip Back to Kota Kinabalu from Sandakan...

Dear Readers,

In my previous post, I talked about our trip back from Sandakan to Kk City.  remember mentioning about a bumpy trip, due to the road condition.

Most of the road users there are Trailer, lorries, and 4WD. Sandakan and Lahad Datu area the land are mostly covered by Palm Oil estate own either privately or large corporation from the Peninsular Malaysia.

The Palm oil estate covered from several hundred hectar to several thousand hectar of land.

We mentioned we checked out from the hotel around 0830am-0930am we had our short breakfast nearby the hotel. and approximately 1030am we began travelling out of Sandakan via the new highway.

On the way out from Sandakan, somewhere after 15km drive I received an SMS that there is an alarm in one of our network element. I had to remotely access our system to make sure everything is working and that the root cause to the problem was not from our own element. luckily the Celcom mobile coverage wide allowing me ot access my system everywhere with comvenienence.

We decided to stop at Mile 32 for a short stop maybe buy us some local fruits there, or maybe some keropok( local snack). for me this will be a good time to take a few shots. after about 35minute stop, we started to to cruise and headed towards KK.

I had a few short sleep (on and off) and was a little hungry. We usually stop by Lahad Datu between Sandakan to Lahad Datu takes about 2hours 45minutes to 3hours and we did not stop at the new township for our lunch, our plans was supposed ti take the shortcut route skipped the Fajar township then stop at mount Kinabalu national park for lunch, instead we missed the shortcut exit and in the end we decided to take a very short stop at Lahad Datu Fajar township for a short coffee break and toilet break then headed toward KK 10minutes - 15minutes later.

This trip from Lahad Datu to Mount Kinabalu will take us another 1hour45minutes to slightly over 2 hours drive. that is if there is no slowing us down along the way.

Trip from Lahad Datu, we will drive pass several small town. Mile 32 check point, Telupid, part of Beluran Town, Several Vilage, like Kampung Vonod, Kampung Toupus, Kampung Matupang, Kampung Nalapak. and many more village allong the way, before we reach Ranau Town then another 30minute to 45minute drive before we reach Kundasang, here we can have a great view of Mount Kinabalu and visit British war memorial.

We reached at the foot of Mount Kinabalu, also where the Kinabalu national Park is located, there is a restaurant there, we reached there at about 3pm for lunch, the rain had just stopped. after we had our lunch, we proceed towards KK. another 1hour to 1hour 30minutes drived, and fron here is will be mostly down hill drive.

Finally approximately 4:35pm we arrived Tuaran Town, where one of my colleague will headed straight home. then it's my turn to to head home, but first I had to stopped at my parents in laws house also located at Tuaran. My Wife and my 2 daughters had been staying here during my outstation trip to Sandakan-Tawau-Sandakan. 

After a short stop meeting my wife and eldest daughter Kendra, I headed home, and that was the end of our trip. for more photos please click here.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

St. Michael's and All Angels Church - Sandakan

Dear Readers,

I hope you all enjoy reading about my trip to the Sandakan Urang Utan Rehabilitation center in Sandakan, and the photos taken during my trip there. 

We leave the center around 0415pm, we were actually planning on going to another rehabilitation center but due to the limited time available for us to visit there, we decided to go to another interesting place that is the Sandakan St Micheal's and All Angels Church. 

The construction of this church began around the year 1893 and it took almost 30years to fully complete, This church was designed by a New Zealander Mr. B.W. Mountfort, and it was first constructed with ironwood timber, then followed by bricks and finally stones, these material were said to be from Buli Sim Sim, while the whites stones that adorn the windows and doors are said have been originated from Hong Kong. The stones were delivered from Buli Sim Sim by prison labour at RM1.25 per cubic yard, A cubic foot of stone weights about 149lbs (63.5kg) and is painstakingly laid atop of each other.

The western porch (main entrance) of the church was not fully completed until 1925 which is 32 years later from the start of the construction. The church manage to avoid major damage during the world war II in the 1940s and it has remain as one of the very few stone building in whole of Sabah.

The beautiful stained glass windows in the church were donated by Australian to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Please to view more photos of St Micheal's church -Sandakan click here.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A Trip to Sepilok - Sandakan

Hi Reader,

On the 17th November after a long days work, on the 16th November we decided to take a short trip to one of Sabah famous tourist sports in Sandakan, The Urang Utan Rehabilitation Center (Sepilok).

It was a 30-35mnutes drive from the Sandakan Town. The charges to enter for local is RM5, but if you bring along a camera depending on the type/size of the camera the center will impose an additional charges, like mine since I brought along my D-SLR camera, I will have to add RM10 for the camera. 

Regulation : 
1) No Outside food & Drinks - 
for visitors safety reason, according to the staff if the orang utan saw food on your hand they will try to grab it from you. so no food and drinks when visit the urang utans
2) No Bags/Bag Packs -
Also for safety reason for small bag like a pouch will be acceptable but if you bring along a Camera pouch then we are required to keep it in a locker provided by the center. of cause additional charges for the locker too.
3) When enter the feeding area of the urang utan everyone has to be quiet.
As it might scare the urang utan away or worse the urang utans might feel annoyed and most probably react to the noise ( not sure how they react to the noise) but on the safe side we have to be quiet. A sign has been put up to remind visitor to be quiet at the urang utan feeding ground, the feeding area/ground is an open space with large space of viewing platforms.

This center was setup for the rehabilitation of the urang utans in Sabah, located in Sandakan, it was setup in the year 1964, the center is now 47 years old, it was setup in a 4300 hectar of State Forest Reserve in Kabili-Sepilok, and is assigned under the care for Sabah Wildlife Departments. It is also open to tourist and researchers from locals as well as abroads. to learn and watch how the urang utans live naturally. A boardwalk leads you to a viewing gallery and feeding platform where the apes are fed milk and bananas twice a day at 10.00am and 3.00pm by rangers. Feeding time also attracts long-tailed macaques to the area. 

Getting There

If you are not on any tour, public buses and taxis are available from Sandakan town. The Labuk Road Bus Company vehicles depart from the front of the Sandakan Town Council (Majlis Perbandaran Sandakan or MPS) from 6.00 am onwards. Fares are RM2.10 one way, but it will only stop at the junction to the Centre. You will have to walk about one and a half km in. You can hire a taxi for a return trip for about RM100.00 negotiable. The distance between town and the Centre is approximately 23km.

Opening Hours

Security Gate: Daily from 8.00am till 5.00pm
Reception & Ticketing Counter: Daily from 9.00am till 11.00am and 2.00pm till 3.30pm
Exhibition Hall: Daily (except Fridays) from 9.00am till 4.30pm
Centre: Daily from 9.00am till 12.00pm and 2.00pm till 4.00pm Fridays 9.00am till 11.00am, 2.00pm till 4.00pm 

Here are some of the photos taken during our trip there. 

Urang Utans Hanging by the Cable

Sepilok  Forest a Natural Habitat for the Urang Utans

This is Me...

Pathway to the feed ground of Urang Utans

For more Photos click here


Volkswagen 1st production  in the Year 1938

Alfa Romeo 1st production  in the Year 1910
Aston Martin 1st production  in the Year 1915 as a racing car
Audi 1st production  in the Year 1910

BMW 1st production  in the Year 1928 - 1929 
BMW = Bayerische Motoren Werke
BMW = Bavarian Motor Works

Buick 1st production  in the Year 1904

Cadilac 1st production  in the Year 1903

Chrysler 1st production  in the Year 1925-1926

Citroen 1st Production in the year 1919

FIAT 1st production in the year 1899

FORD Motor 1st production in the Year 1908

MAZDA 1st Production in the Year 1936

MERCEDES BENZ 1st Production in the Year 1901
MITSUBISHI MOTORS 1st production in the YEAR 1937

OPEL 1st production in the YEAR 1899
PEUGEOT 1st production in the YEAR 1891

PORSCHE 1st production in the YEAR 1939

RENAULT 1st production in the YEAR 1898

ROLLS ROYCE 1st production in the YEAR 1904

SAAB 1st production in the YEAR 1947

SKODA 1st production in the YEAR 1905

Like any othe brands, as mentioned in my previous post, despite the high cost of logo changing, internationally renown car manufacturer still opts to change their logo or brand when corporate change is required.

Some logo change was due to merger of company where other automobile producer bought over the shares of another automobile munufacture, the change is a sign of marriage or where two different brands synergized to conquer the automobile market share in the world. Most car manufacturer opt to remain their original brand or logo to maintained it origin or originality of their design.

So you see, regardless of any automobiles manufacturer chose to change their logo or going through a logo facelift or as a sign of Product rebranding to strengthen their presence in the market, all we as the car users looks for :

1) Safety features
2) Confortability
3) Speed
4) Other relevant features
5) Technologies
6) Price Tag

Resource : Wikipedia

Happy Reading

Friday, 18 November 2011

Travelling Back To KK from Sandakan By Road..

Hi Readers,

Today is our last day in Sandakan, now we are on our way back to KK, it is a bumpy drive all the way the weather is cloudy at the moment. Traffic flowing out from Sandakan is also slightly heavy most of the vehicles are lorries and four wheelers,. Sandakan areas are covered with Palm oil estate, imagine lorries loaded with harvested palm oil fruits, to be delivered to their factory for processing  While travelling I am now online from Sandakan now closed to Mile 32 area and the internet coverage looks awesome...

Will post some photos once arrived at my home sweet home, travelling from Sandakan to KK (Kota Kinabalu) will take about 330km of distance, hopefully we will arrived KK around 5pm-6pm peak.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Olympics Logo Past & Present as well as interesting Facts..

Athen 1896
The first celebration of the modern Olympic Games took place in its ancient birthplace of Athens. The Games attracted athletes from 14 nations, with the largest delegations coming from Greece, Germany, France and Great Britain.

Paris 1900
 The Games of 1900 were held in Paris as part of the World’s Fair. The organisers spread the competitions over five months and under-promoted their Olympic status to such an extent that many athletes never knew they had actually participated in the Olympic Games.

An Englishman travelled all the way from Nice to watch the women’s croquet event, which consisted only of French players. According to the records, his was the only entry ticket sold for the competition! 

St Louis USA 1904

The 1904 Olympic Games were the first at which gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded for first, second and third place. Boxing, freestyle wrestling, decathlon and a dumbbells event all made their debuts on the programme. 

London 1908

The 1908 Olympic Games were originally awarded to Rome, but were reassigned to London when it became apparent that Rome would not be ready. Despite the short notice, the Games were exceptionally well organised. For the first time, a stadium was specially prepared for the Games, and swimming events did not take place in the open water.

The Organising Committee fixed the distance of the marathon at 42km and 195m, the last 195 metres being added on to ensure the race finished below the royal box in the London stadium. This distance became official from the 1924 Games onwards.
 Stockholm 1912

The Stockholm Games were a model of efficiency. The Swedish hosts introduced the first Olympic use of automatic timing devices for the track events, the photo finish and a public address system.

For the first time, competitors in the Games came from all five continents. It was also the first time Japan participated. The modern pentathlon, women’s swimming and women’s diving all made their Olympic debuts.

1916 Olympic
The anticipated 1916 Summer Olympics, which were to be officially known as the Games of the VI Olympiad, were to have been held in Berlin, Germany. However, due to the outbreak of World War I, the games were cancelled.
(Resource : Wikipedia)

 Antwerp 1920

The 1920 Games were awarded to Antwerp to honour the suffering that had been inflicted on the Belgian people during the war.  

During the Opening Ceremony, the Olympic flag with the five rings signifying the universality of the Olympic Games was raised for the first time at an Olympic Games. The Olympic oath was taken for the first time by an athlete on behalf of all competitors, and for the first time doves were released as a symbol of peace.

 Paris 1924

The number of participating National Olympic Committees jumped from 29 to 44, signalling the advent of the Olympic Games as a major event with widespread appeal. This newfound popularity was confirmed by the presence of over 1,000 journalists.

These Games introduced the Closing Ceremony ritual as we know it today. This involves the raising of three flags: the flag of the International Olympic Committee, the flag of the host nation and the flag of the next host nation.
Amsterdam 1928

For the first time, a symbolic fire was lit during the Games. The fire was lit in a cauldron that was placed at the top of a tower in the stadium, which had been designed by Jan Wils, a celebrated Dutch architect.

(Olympic First) 
At the Opening Ceremony, the team from Greece led the Parade of Nations, with the host Dutch team marching in last. Greece-first, hosts-last has been Olympic protocol ever since. The number of female competitors more than doubled as women were finally allowed to compete in gymnastics and athletics, and Asian athletes won gold medals for the first time.
Los Angeles USA 1932

The 1932 Olympic Games were held in the middle of the Great Depression and, given the transport links of the time, in the relatively remote region of California. Consequently, participation in the Games was the lowest since 1904, with only half as many athletes taking part as had in 1928. Despite this, the standard of competition was excellent.

(Olympic First)
Between 1900 and 1928, no Summer Games had been shorter than 79 days, but in Los Angeles this was cut to just 16. It has remained between 15 and 18 days ever since. Other firsts included the male athletes being housed in a single Olympic Village (the women stayed in a luxury hotel), and medal winners standing on a podium with the flag of the winner being raised.

Berlin Germany 1936

  (Olympic First)
The 1936 Games were the first to be broadcast on television. Twenty-five television viewing rooms were set up in the Greater Berlin area, allowing the locals to follow the Games free of charge.

1940 & 1944 Olympic 
Officially known as the Games of the XII Olympiad and originally scheduled to be held from September 21 to October 6, 1940, in Tokyo, Japan, were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II. Tokyo was stripped of its host status for the Games by the IOC after the renunciation by the Japanese of the IOC's Cairo Conference of 1938, due to the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The government of Japan had abandoned its support for the 1940 Games in July 1938.The IOC then awarded the Games to Helsinki, Finland, the runner-up in the original bidding process. The Games were then scheduled to be staged from July 20 to August 4, 1940. The Olympic Games were suspended indefinitely following the outbreak of World War II and did not resume until the London Games of 1948.
(Resource : Wikipedia)

London 1948

The Olympic Games had not been held in either 1940 or 1944 due to World War II, and London was called upon at short notice to host them. Despite shortages of essential products due to rationing, the city rose magnificently to the challenge - a true victory over dark times.

(Olympic First)
The London Games were the first to be shown on home television, although very few people in Great Britain actually owned sets. Starting blocks for athletes in sprint races were introduced for the first time, and the Empire Pool was the first covered Olympic pool to be used at the Games.

Helsinki 1952

Israel and the Soviet Union entered the Olympic Games for the first time, and fears that Cold War rivalries would lead to clashes proved unfounded. Particularly impressive were the Soviet women gymnasts who won the team competition easily, beginning a streak that would continue for 40 years until the Soviet Union broke up into separate republics.

Melbourne 1956

Melbourne won the right to host the 1956 Olympic Games by one vote over Buenos Aires. Australian quarantine laws were too severe to allow the entry of foreign horses, so the equestrian events were held separately in Stockholm in June.

Prior to 1956, the athletes in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies marched in alphabetical order by National Olympic Committees. However, in Melbourne, following a suggestion by a young Australian named John Ian Wing, the athletes entered the stadium together during the Closing Ceremony as a symbol of global unity.

Rome 1960

Rome finally got its chance to stage the Olympic Games, 54 years after Italy had to give up hosting the Games. The Italians made the most of their ancient history, holding the wrestling competition in the Basilica of Maxentius and gymnastics in the Caracalla Baths.
Cassius Marcellus Clay of the US, later known as Muhammad Ali, first gained international prominence by winning the light-heavyweight gold medal. He would later turn professional and embark on a phenomenal career.
Tokyo Japan 1964

(Asia's First Olympic)
The 1964 Tokyo Games were the first to be held in Asia. The carrier of the flame, Yoshinori Sakai, was chosen because he was born on 6 August 1945, the day the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima, in homage to the victims and as a call for world peace.

Mexico 1968

(Olympic First)
Mexican hurdler Enriqueta Basilio became the first woman to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony. Wyomia Tyus of the US became the first athlete to win the 100m twice. Dick Fosbury won the men’s high jump with a new jumping style now known as the “Fosbury Flop”, and for the first time winners had to undergo a doping test.

Munich 1972

On 5 September, eight Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village, killing two members of the Israeli team and taking nine hostages. In the ensuing battle, all nine Israeli hostages were killed, as were five of the terrorists and one policeman. In defiance of the terrorists, the IOC ordered the competitions to resume after a pause of 34 hours.

Men’s indoor handball, slalom canoeing and kayaking all made their Olympic debuts. West German Liselott Linsenhoff, competing in the dressage event, became the first female equestrian to win a gold medal, and archery returned to the Olympic programme after a 52-year absence.

Montreal 1976

The 1976 Montreal Games were marred by an African boycott involving 22 countries. The boycott was organised by Tanzania to protest the fact that the New Zealand rugby team had toured apartheid South Africa and that New Zealand was scheduled to compete in the Olympic Games.

Women’s events in basketball, rowing and team handball all made their Olympic debut. Hockey was played on an artificial pitch for the first time, and boxer Clarence Hill of Bermuda earned a bronze medal to give Bermuda the honour of being the least populous nation (53,500) ever to have one of its athletes win a medal at the Summer Games.

Moscow 1980

A US-led boycott reduced the number of participating nations to 80, the lowest number since 1956, as part of a series of measures to protest against the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

(Olympic First)
Aleksandr Dityatin of Russia earned medals in every men's gymnastics event to become the first athlete to win eight medals at one Olympic Games. Super-heavyweight Teófilo Stevenson of Cuba became the first boxer to win the same division three times, and Gerd Wessig of East Germany became the first male high jumper to break the world record at the Olympic Games.

Los Angeles 1984

After the financial problems of 1976, only Los Angeles bid for the right to host the 1984 Olympic Games. The bid was criticised for depending heavily on existing facilities and corporate sponsors. However, the Games produced a healthy profit of USD 223 million and became the model for future Games.

Although a revenge boycott led by the Soviet Union depleted the field in certain sports, 140 National Olympic Committees took part, which was a record at the time. Good feelings prevailed to such an extent that at the Opening Ceremony the athletes broke ranks to join in spontaneous dancing, something usually reserved for the Closing Ceremony.

(Debut & First)
Archer Neroli Fairhall of New Zealand was the first paraplegic athlete to take part in a medal event, competing in a wheelchair. The first Olympic women’s marathon was staged, and was won by Joan Benoit of the US. Rhythmic gymnastics, synchronised swimming and the women’s cycling road race also made their debuts.

Seoul 1988

Archer Neroli Fairhall of New Zealand was the first paraplegic athlete to take part in a medal event, competing in a wheelchair. The first Olympic women’s marathon was staged, and was won by Joan Benoit of the US. Rhythmic gymnastics, synchronised swimming and the women’s cycling road race also made their debuts.

Canadian Ben Johnson set a world record in the 100m sprint, but tested positive for steroids. Johnson was the first world-famous athlete to be disqualified for using drugs. After his disqualification, Carl Lewis was awarded the 100m gold, meaning he had successfully defended his 1984 Olympic title.
(Debuts and firsts)
For the first time, all three medallists in equestrian dressage were women. Swedish fencer Kerstin Palm became the first woman to take part in seven Olympic Games, and table tennis made its Olympic debut. Tennis also returned to the programme after a hiatus of 64 years. The event was open to professionals, and Steffi Graf concluded her Grand Slam tennis season by winning Olympic gold.

Barcelona 1992

For the first time since 1972, the Games were boycott-free, due to important global political changes. Apartheid had been abolished in South Africa. Then there was the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of West and East Germany. Communism had ended and the Soviet Union was divided into 15 separate countries which participated as a "unified team”.

Baseball debuted as a full medal discipline having appeared as an exhibition or demonstration sport at six previous Games. Badminton and women’s judo were also added to the Olympic programme, and Spain’s coxswain in the eights, 11-year-old Carlos Front, became the youngest Olympic competitor since 1900.

In the last lap of the 10,000m final, Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia darted into the lead and went on to win. At the finishing line, she waited for her opponent Elana Meyer, a white South African. They set off hand-in-hand for a victory lap that symbolised hope for a new Africa.

Atlanta 1996

The 1996 Games were given a dramatic and emotional start when the cauldron was lit by sporting legend Muhammad Ali. However, on 27 July tragedy struck when a terrorist bomb exploded in the Centennial Olympic Park. Two people died and a further 110 people were injured.
(Olympic firsts)
For the first time in Olympic history, all 197 recognised National Olympic Committees were represented at the Games. Beach volleyball, mountain biking, lightweight rowing and women's football made their first appearance and sailor Hubert Raudaschl (AUT) became the first person ever to compete in nine Olympic Games.

Sydney 2000

New firsts
Triathlon and taekwondo were two new additions to the Olympic programme. Susanthika Jayasinghe became the first Sri Lankan woman to win a medal, claiming bronze in the 200m, whilst Birgit Fischer earned two gold medals in kayaking to become the first woman in any sport to win medals 20 years apart. Women also took part in weightlifting and the modern pentathlon for the very first time.

Athens 2004

(Biggest Games)
A record 201 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) participated in the Olympic Games. The overall tally for events on the programme was 301 (one more than at the Sydney Games in 2000).
(Most popular)
Popularity in the Games also soared, as 3.9 billion people had access to the television coverage compared to 3.6 billion for Sydney. This global audience enjoyed coverage of never-before seen sports such as women's wrestling, which was included in the programme for the first time.
(Records tumble)
Swimmer Michael Phelps won six gold medals and set a single-Games record with eight total medals. Leontien Ziljaard-van Moorsel became the first female cyclist to earn four career gold medals, reaching a total of six Olympic medals, while canoeist Birgit Fischer became the first athlete in any sport to win two medals in each of five Olympic Games.

Beijing China 2008

Records tumble
Beijing was the Games of records and superlatives. The Opening Ceremony was unforgettable; the athletes’ achievements were astonishing, the organisation was excellent; the venues breathtaking and the anti-doping tests were stricter. Several hundred million watched worldwide on TV as more than 40 world records and over 130 Olympic records were broken.
Modern and ancient
The National Stadium, nick-named the “Bird’s Nest”, and the National Swimming Centre, known as the “Water Cube”, were both stunning symbols of the new Beijing. In cycling, the road race followed the Great Wall and passed in front of the “Forbidden City” - two symbols of the thousand-year-old history of the city.
(First medals)
A record 204 National Olympic Committees took part in the Games. Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Mauritius and Togo all experienced podium finishes for the first time. However Mongolia and Panama managed to go one better with their athletes bringing home their country’s first Olympic gold.