All posts by bmallon

multi-games olympians

Over the last couple weeks I’ve discussed various aspects of “Multi-Olympians” – Olympians who competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, Olympians who competed in two or more sports, and Olympians who competed for two more nations. To finish this travelogue, today we’ll have a short look at Multi-Olympians who simply competed at more than one Olympics.

From 1896 to 2018 we have 135,356 “Olympians” in our database. Our definition of an “Olympian” is somebody who is known to have actually competed at the Olympics, and we’re fairly strict about that. There are a few missing Olympians from the early Games that we have not identified, but the current count includes 114,751 Summer Olympians, 20,463 Winter Olympians, and the 142 Olympians who competed at both Games.

Of these Olympians, what are the odds of competing in more than one Olympics? With the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games, this has become of some interest as the media has been interested in how many Olympians only compete at one Olympics and never get a second chance.

And the answer is – 72.2% of Olympians have competed in only one Olympic Games from 1896 to 2018. Thus, slightly more ¼ of all Olympians, or more precisely, 27.8% or 37,638 Olympians, have competed in more than one Olympics.

Of these the breakdown for how often they have competed is as follows:

Games###%%%
10 Games10.0%
9 Games20.0%
8 Games100.0%
7 Games310.0%
6 Games1450.1%
5 Games5540.4%
4 Games2,2361.7%
3 Games8,2456.1%
2 Games26,41419.5%
1 Games97,71872.2%

For the record the athlete who competed in 10 Olympics is Ian Millar, a Canadian equestrian rider, who appeared at the Olympics from 1972-2012, missing only in 1980 because of the US-led boycott of the 1980 Moskva Olympics. The 2 athletes competing in 9 Olympics were Austrian sailor Hubert Raudauschl, who was at every Olympics from 1964 to 1996; and the Latvian/Soviet shooter Afanasijs Kuzmins, who competed in 1976, 1980, and 1988 for the Soviet Union, and from 1992-2012 for Latvia.

The record among women is held jointly by three Olympians who competed at 8 Olympics – Josefa Idem-Guerrini, a canoeist who competed for both Italy and the Federal Republic of Germany (West) from 1984-2012; Lesley Thompson-Willie of Canada, a rower who competed from 1984-2016, missing 2004; and Nino Salukvadze, a sport shooter who competed for the Soviet Union, the Unified Team, and Georgia from 1988-2016.

At the Winter Olympics, Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai has uniquely competed at 8 Winter Olympics from 1992 through 2018, and he’s still going. Among women, Claudia Pechstein, a German speed skater, competed at 7 Winter Olympics, the record for women at the Winter Games, from 1992 to 2018, missing the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics in a doping controversy.

For those who competed at both versions of the Olympics, 5 women competed at 6 different Olympiads: Kateřina Neumannová – CZE/TCH; CCS/CYC; 1992-2006; Evgeniya Radanova – BUL; CYC/STK; 1994-2010; Clara Hughes – CAN; CYC/SSK; 1996-2012; Hayley Wickenheiser – CAN; ICH/SOF; 1998-2014; and Jaqueline Mourão – BRA; BIA/CCS/CYC; 2004-2018. Of course, the ubiquitous Seiko Hashimoto, Japanese cyclist speed skater, competed at 7 Olympics from 1984-1996, although she competed in both sets of Games in 1988 and 1992.

And there you have it.

OLYMPIANS COMPETING FOR MULTIPLE NATIONS

Over the last few days I have posted on athletes competing in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, and those who competed in 2 different sports. What about athletes who have competed for 2 different nations at the Olympics? Surely that has happened a few times.

Well, it has, in fact we have 1,622 such Olympians in our database – that’s out of about 135,450 Olympians. It is probably more correct to say they represented 2 or more GPEs, or geo-political entities, at the Olympics, rather than nations. This is because technically Olympians represent National Olympic Committees, or NOCs, rather than nations, but also there are several exceptions to nations and NOCs, but for simplicity, we will stick to “nations”.

As examples of non-national GPEs, Russia competed at PyeongChang in 2018 as OAR = Olympic Athletes from Russia, and will compete at Tokyo as ROC = Russian Olympic Committee. There have been Refugee Olympic Teams, unfortunately labelled as ROT originally, but now to be EOR = Équipe Olympique Réfugée. Further, there have been several cases where teams were labelled as IOA = Independent Olympic Athletes or IOP = Independent Olympic Participants. Finally, some NOCs do not represent independent nations, such as Puerto Rico and American Samoa, territories of the United States; or the British Virgin Islands, a British Overseas Territory; Hong Kong, China, now a part of China; and formerly the Netherlands Antilles, which was a part of the Netherlands.

Even listing all the nations can cause some confusion, because many of these 1,622 cases have been nations that have been related politically. The Soviet Union’s republics separated into many different nations, as did the former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, and Germany was formerly the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East). So we will make a distinction between 1) related nations, and 2) distinctly different nations (DDN).

Of the 1,622 cases in our database, only 315 of them involved DDN. There are actually 5 examples of athletes representing 4 nations at the Olympics, although none of these are fully DDN, and they all involve former Soviet or Yugoslav athletes. They are as follows:

NameGdrNationsSportYears
Irina LashkoFAUS/EUN/RUS/URSDIV1988-2004
Jasna ŠekarićFIOA/SCG/SRB/YUGSHO1988-2012
Makharbek KhadartsevMEUN/RUS/URS/UZBWRE1988-2000
Ilija LupuleskuMIOA/SCG/USA/YUGTTN1988-2004
Michał ŚliwińskiMEUN/POL/UKR/URSCAN1988-2004

There have been 92 athletes represent 3 nations at the Olympics, with almost all of them involving athletes from former Soviet or Yugoslav republics. Only 1 athlete can be considered to have represented 3 DDN – Yamilé Aldama, originally a Cuban triple jumper who competed in 5 Olympics from 1996-2012. She competed for Cuba in 1996 and 2000, the Sudan in 2004 and 2008, and Great Britain in 2012.

What are the most frequent combinations of multiple nations represented? There have been 354 different combinations, but looking at all nations, related and distinctly different, here is the list of the most common:

Nations###
Fed. Rep. Germany/Germany228
German Demo. Rep./Germany172
Unified Team/Russia135
Unified Team/Soviet Union107
Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia92
Olympic Athletes from Russia/Russia47
Egypt/United Arab Rep.35
Unified Team/Russia/Soviet Union34
Unified Team/Ukraine30
Slovakia/Czechoslovakia28
Serbia & Montenegro/Serbia27
Croatia/Yugoslavia20

As you can see, these are all politically related nations. Now if we limit the list to DDN, this looks far different:

Nations###
Cuba/Spain9
Belgium/Netherlands6
Great Britain/Ireland5
Hungary/Romania5
Austria/Yugoslavia4
Unified Team/Germany4
Hungary/United States4
Canada/Czechoslovakia3
Cameroon/France3
France/Poland3
Germany/Romania3
Germany/Ukraine3
Turkey/Ukraine3

But looking at this another way, here are the most common nations among the DDN:

Nation###
United States36
Australia29
France29
Canada26
Germany24
Hungary22
Spain21
Great Britain20
Italy20
Austria17
Russia15

Now what about winning Olympic medals for 2 nations or 2 DDN? Has that happened? Of course, it has. There are 320 cases of Olympic athletes winning medals for 2 different nations, but limiting this to DDN, this narrows it down to only 25 examples. There have also been 10 cases in which an athlete won Olympic medals for 3 different nations, although with the exception of Irina Lashko, 8 of these were for the Soviet Union, Unified Team, and Russia, and 1 case involved Yugoslavia and its various different names. Here is that list:

NameGenderSportNations
Marina Dobrancheva-LogvinenkoFSHOURS/EUN/RUS
Irina LashkoFDIVEUN/RUS/AUS
Jasna ŠekarićFSHOYUG/IOA/SCG
Anfisa ReztsovaFBIA/CCSURS/EUN/RUS
Aleksandr KarelinMWREURS/EUN/RUS
Makharbek KhadartsevMWREURS/EUN/RUS
Pavel KolobkovMFENURS/EUN/RUS
Andrey LavrovMHANURS/EUN/RUS
Sergey ChepikovMBIAURS/EUN/RUS
Igor KravchukMICHURS/EUN/RUS

Again, Anfisa Reztsova is the queen of cross-overs, having won medals in 2 different sports for 3 different nations.

Finally, how many Olympians have won gold medals for 2 different nations? This has been done 67 times, but only 3 times by athletes representing DDN:

NameGenderSportNOC-Year1NOC-Year2
Dan CarrollMRUGANZ/1908USA/1920
Armen NazaryanMWREARM/1996BUL/2000
Viktor An (Hyeon-Su Ahn)MSTKKOR/2006RUS/2014

And from the previous list, 3 Olympians actually have won gold medals for 3 different nations, but all were for the Soviet Union/Unified Team/Russia combination  – Anfisa Reztsova (BIA/CCS), Aleksandr Karelin (WRE), and Andrey Lavrov (HAN).

And there you have it.

MULTI-SPORT olympians

A few days ago I posted about athletes who competed at both the Summer and Winter Olympics – very rare birds. But what about those athletes who have competed in 2 different sports at the Olympics, although not necessarily at the Summer and Winter Olympics? How often has that occurred.

Here we must be careful in discussing sports and disciplines. The IOC recognizes both sports and disciplines, with disciplines being considered a sub-group within a sport. The best examples are swimming, diving, water polo, and artistic swimming (formerly synchronized swimming), which the IOC considers disciplines within the sport of aquatics; and skiing, with separate disciplines labelled cross-country skiing, Alpine skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and snowboarding. There are several other sports that also have separate disciplines under their purview.

We basically consider disciplines as separate sports in the cases above and a few other cases, such as volleyball and beach volleyball. So, when athletes compete in two or more “sports” at the Olympics, it becomes important to classify them either as 1) related sports, or 2) distinctly different sports (DDS). DDS are not necessarily those that the IOC labels as separate sports. We consider fencing and modern pentathlon, swimming and triathlon, or biathlon and cross-country skiing to be related sports, among others, since the action of one is included in the other sport.

Now, given that primer, there have been 1,004 Olympians compete in 2 different sports at the Olympics, by our definitions. Of these 360 competed in DDS. Of the 1,004, 77 athletes have actually competed in 3 different sports at the Olympics, and 6 athletes appeared in 4 different sports.

Of the 6 athletes competing in 4 different sports, only 3 could be considered to have competed in DDS, and all of those were in 1896. Carl Schuhmann (GER) competed in athletics, gymnastics, weightlifting, and wrestling, as did Launceston Elliott (GBR); while Viggo Jensen (DEN) appeared in athletics, gymnastics, shooting, and weightlifting.

Of the 77 athletes competing in 3 different sports, only 16 athletes can be considered to have appeared in DDS. These were all men and the last time it happened was in 1928, when Philippe Van Volcksom competed in ice hockey, rowing, and speed skating, although I guess one could argue that speed skating and ice hockey have some features in common.

What are the sports that most commonly doubled up? There have been 186 different combinations of multi-sport participation at the Olympics. Looking at all sports, including related sports, here are the most common:

Sports###
Swimming/Water Polo154
Biathlon/Cross-Country Skiing93
Cross-Country Skiing/Nordic Combined87
Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping57
Athletics/Bobsledding49
Fencing/Modern Pentathlon49
Cross-Country Skiing/Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping31
Athletics/Gymnastics25
Athletics/Tug-of-War25
Diving/Swimming20
Beach Volleyball/Volleyball19
Cycling/Speedskating17
Bobsledding/Luge12
Alpine Skiing/Cross-Country Skiing10
Speedskating/Short-Track Speedskating10

No surprise there with swimming and water polo leading the way, but if you look at that list, we would only classify ATH/BOB, ATH/GYM, and ATH/TOW as DDS. Here is what the list looks like, if we limit ourselves to the DDS only:

Sports###
Athletics/Bobsledding49
Athletics/Gymnastics25
Athletics/Tug-of-War25
Cycling/Speedskating17
Athletics/Weightlifting9
Cross-Country Skiing/Cycling8
Diving/Gymnastics8
Tug-of-War/Wrestling7
Athletics/Basketball6
Fencing/Shooting6
Rowing/Sailing6
Athletics/Cross-Country Skiing5
Athletics/Hockey5
Tug-of-War/Weightlifting5

Have any of these athletes actually won medals in 2 or more different sports? Yes, of course they have. It has happened 86 times at the Olympics, with 33 of those occurring in DDS.

Unique among these athletes is Franz Kugler, who won medals in 3 different sports. He is often listed as Frank Kungler in earlier sources, including ours, although we have now discovered his full, correct name and vital dates. Kugler was a German when he competed at the Olympics in 1904, although he is listed by the IOC as from the USA because he represented the St. Louis Southwest Turnverein. He is the only Olympian to win medals in 3 Olympic sports. He won a silver medal in heavyweight wrestling, 2 bronze medals in weightlifting, and a bronze medal in tug-of-war in 1904. Kugler became a US citizen in 1913 and died in St. Louis in 1952.

What about winning gold medals in 2 different sports? Yeah, that’s happened, too, actually 15 times with 4 athletes doing it in DDS. There were 2 women, Anfisa Reztsova (EUN/RUS/URS) who not only did it in biathlon and cross-country skiing, but while representing 2 different NOCs; and Esther Ledecka (SVK) who famously did it in 2018 in Alpine skiing and snowboarding, but both of those were in related sports.

The 4 athletes to win gold medals in DDS were as follows:

NameSport1-Year(s)Sport2-Year
Eddie Eagan (USA)BOX-1920BOB-1932
Carl Schuhmann (GER)GYM-1896WRE-1896
Daniel Norling (SWE)GYM-1908/12EQU-1920
Morris Kirksey (USA)ATH-1920RUG-1920

And there you have it.

olympians competing in BOTH Seasons

Seiko Hashimoto was recently named as the new President of the Organizing Committee for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. Ms. Hashimoto competed in the Olympics in both cycling and speed skating, as I noted in some tweets on the day she was announced as President. I’ve had several people ask me about athletes competing in both the Summer and Winter Olympics and how rare that is, which has prompted me to prepare this blog on “Both Season Olympians (BSOs)”. And as you will see, Ms Hashimoto’s name will figure prominently in the following.

It’s very rare to be an Olympic athlete. Since 1896 there have been about 135,400 Olympic athletes to compete in the Summer and Winter Olympics. By looking at historical populations and birth rates (see OurWorldInData.org), one can estimate that since 1870 through 2000, the period during which most of these athletes had to have been born, there have been about 12,600,000,000 births in the world, or between 12 and 13 billion. That means the chance of any person born in this period becoming an Olympic athlete is about 0.001% – 1/1000th of 1 percent.

How many of these 135,400 Olympians have competed at both the Summer and Winter Olympics, as did Ms. Hashimoto? There have been exactly 142 Olympians to compete at both Olympic Games through 2018, or about 0.1% of all Olympians, meaning the chance of any person born between 1870-2000 has had a 0.000001% chance of competing at both Olympic Games.

Who are these 142 extraordinary Olympians? They have come from 41 different nations, with the following nations having the most BSOs.

Belgium12
Canada12
Hungary12
Austria10
United States10
Norway8
Finland6
Great Britain6
Netherlands6
Switzerland6

Which sports have they doubled in? To date, 8 Olympians, 2 women and 6 men, have competed in 3 different sports/disciplines at the Winter and Summer Olympics, as follows:

NameGenderNOC(s)SportsYear(s)
Jaqueline MourãoFBRABIA/CCS/CYC2004-2018
Georgia SimmerlingFCANASK/CYC/FRS2010-2016
István DévánMHUNATH/CCS/NCO1912-1924
Erik ElmsäterMSWEATH/CCS/NCO1948-1952
Aleksandar MilenkovićMIOA/SCG/YUGBIA/CCS/CYC1992-2006
Béla SzepesMHUNATH/CCS/NCO1924-1928
Philippe Van VolckxsomMBELICH/ROW/SSK1920-1928
Willi ZachariasMROUASK/CCS/HAN1936

Note that Willi Zacharias did this all in 1936. Until 1992 it was possible for Olympians to compete in the Summer and Winter Olympics in the same year, as the Games were not separated until the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics.

So in which sports should you specialize if you wish to compete in both editions of the Olympics? There have been 50 different combinations of sports among these 142 BSOs. The most common combinations are in the table below:

Sports###
Athletics/Bobsledding49
Cycling/Speedskating17
Cross-Country Skiing/Cycling8
Hockey/Ice Hockey7
Athletics/Cross-Country Skiing5
Football/Ice Hockey4
Athletics/Cross-Country Skiing/Nordic Combined3
Biathlon/Cross-Country Skiing/Cycling2
Bobsledding/Equestrian Events2
Bobsledding/Hockey2
Bobsledding/Rowing2
Cycling/Short-Track Speedskating2
Ice Hockey/Sailing2

This is now well-known, as bobsledders are often recruited from track & field athletes, but it was not always so. Johann Baptist Gudenus (AUT) did it in 1932, but it was not until 1968 that it occurred again, when Britain’s Colin Campbell and Switzerland’s Eddy Hubacher first competed, and eventually appeared at both Games in athletics and boblsedding. However, it did not become commonplace until the 1980s.

I mentioned that prior to 1994 Olympians could compete in the Summer and Winter Olympics in the same year. Was that a frequent occurrence? It actually happened 39 times, and 2 athletes did it in 2 separate years – Charles Stoffel (LUX) competed in bobsledding and equestrian, quite the unusual combination, in both 1924 and 1928; and the ubiquitous Seiko Hashimoto competed in cycling and speed skating in both 1988 and 1992.

How many BSOs have competed in the Summer and Winter Olympics more than once each? This has only been done 10 times, by 4 women and 6 men, led by the redoubtable Seiko Hashimoto, who competed at the Summer Games three times (1988/1992/1996) and the Winter Games four times (1984/1988/1992/1994), for a total of 7 appearances, the most ever by this group of 142 BSOs. The only other Olympian to compete at the Summer and Winter Olympics 3 times each is Canadian cyclist/speed skater Clara Hughes.

What about winning a medal at both the Winter and Summer Olympics – has this been done? Yes, it has, and 5 times, by the following athletes:

NameGdrNOCSport1SummerSport2Winter
Eddie EaganMUSABOX1920BOB1932
Jacob Tullin ThamsMNORSAI1936SKJ1924
Christa Rothenburger-LudingFGDRCYC1988SSK1984/88/92
Clara HughesFCANCYC1996SSK2002/06/10
Lauryn WilliamsFUSAATH2004/12BOB2014

Of these, there were 2 men and 3 women, although a man has not done it since Jacob Tullin Thams in 1936. Of the above, only Eddie Eagan won gold medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Seiko Hashimoto does not make this list but she did win 1 Olympic medal, a bronze in the 1,500 metres speed skating at Albertville in 1992.

And there you have it.

Olympedia now open to the public

Some readers of this Olympic blog may remember a post I did at the end of the Rio Olympics concerning our statistical site on www.sports-reference.com/olympicshttps://olympstats.com/2016/08/21/the-olymadmen-and-olympstats-and-sports-reference/.

In that post we noted that we were working to transfer our private research site, www.olympedia.org, to another server and that sports-reference/Olympics would shut down. This has recently occurred and the data on sports-reference/Olympics is no longer easily available to the public.

The Olympedia research site contains the profiles and results of all Olympic athletes and informative descriptions about the Games, events, venues, and much more. It is the most comprehensive database about the Olympic Games and is the result many years of work by a group of Olympic historians and statisticians called the OlyMADmen.

Here are some examples:

Olympedia has always been a product solely of the OlyMADMen and has been a private site that required a password that only we could grant. Olympedia has recently moved to another server, but during this time it has still required password access and did not have open access.

We have recently received permission to open Olympedia to the public, and it will no longer require a password. We thank the International Olympic Committee for working with us on this project, and granting us this permission. We are excited and hope you will be, too.

Olympedia contains all of the information that was previously on sports-reference/Olympics – and actually much more – it is far more detailed. Welcome to Olympedia, the most detailed internet reference source on the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement – www.olympedia.org

The OlyMADMen

Bill Mallon (USA)

Arild Gjerde (NOR)

Jeroen Heijmans (NED)

David Foster (ENG)

Hilary Evans (WLS)

Taavi Kalju (EST)

Wolf Reinhardt (GER)

Martin Kellner (AUT)

Ralf Regnitter (GER)

Ralph Schlüter (GER)

Paul Tchir (CAN/EGY)

Morten Aarlia Torp (NOR)

Stein Opdahl (NOR)

Carl-Johan Johansson (SWE)

George Masin (USA)

Ian Morrison (GBR/ESP)

Michele Walker (CAN)

Kristof Linke (GER)

Andrey Chilikin (RUS)

Rudolf Laky (HUN/GER)

David Tarbotton (AUS)

Tokyo 2020 – How Hot Is It?

At the 2020 Olympic Games, we’ll all supposedly be saying that “Tokyo is hot.” How hot is it, Johnny Carson aficionados might ask. Below is a little historical perspective on how hot the Olympic Games host cities have been during their Olympic months. Here are the stats for all the previous summer Olympics, in terms of the average temperatures during the Olympic months.

Year City NOC OMAHT OMMHT OMMT OMMLT OMALT
1896 Athina GRE 40 (105) 20 (68) 16 (60) 12 (53) 10 (50)
1900 Paris FRA 40 (105) 25 (77) 21 (69) 16 (60) 6 (43)
1904 St. Louis USA 43 (110) 31 (88) 26 (78) 21 (69) 8 (47)
1906 Athina GRE 40 (105) 25 (77) 21 (69) 16 (60) 10 (50)
1908 London GBR 37 (98) 24 (74) 19 (65) 14 (57) 7 (47)
1912 Stockholm SWE 36 (97) 22 (71) 17 (63) 13 (56) 4 (40)
1920 Antwerpen BEL 35 (95) 23 (73) 19 (66) 15 (59) 6 (43)
1924 Paris FRA 40 (105) 25 (77) 21 (69) 16 (60) 6 (43)
1928 Amsterdam NED 32 (90) 22 (72) 17 (64) 12 (54) 5 (41)
1932 Los Angeles USA 41 (106) 29 (84) 24 (74) 18 (64) 9 (49)
1936 Berlin GER 38 (100) 24 (75) 19 (67) 14 (58) 5 (42)
1948 London GBR 37 (98) 24 (74) 19 (65) 14 (57) 7 (47)
1952 Helsinki FIN 33 (92) 22 (71) 18 (64) 14 (58) 5 (42)
1956 Melbourne AUS 41 (106) 22 (72) 19 (66) 11 (52) 3 (37)
1960 Roma ITA 38 (99) 27 (80) 21 (69) 15 (59) 8 (48)
1964 Tokyo JPN 33 (91) 22 (71) 18 (64) 14 (58) -1 (31)
1968 Ciudad de México MEX 29 (84) 23 (73) 17 (63) 11 (52) 0 (32)
1972 München FRG 30 (86) 19 (66) 14 (57) 9 (48) 0 (32)
1976 Montréal CAN 36 (96) 25 (77) 21 (69) 17 (62) 6 (43)
1980 Moskva URS 38 (101) 24 (76) 19 (67) 14 (58) 1 (34)
1984 Los Angeles USA 41 (106) 29 (84) 24 (74) 18 (64) 9 (49)
1988 Seoul KOR 35 (95) 26 (78) 21 (70) 17 (63) 3 (38)
1992 Barcelona ESP 33 (91) 29 (83) 24 (76) 20 (68) 12 (53)
1996 Atlanta USA 41 (105) 32 (89) 27 (80) 22 (71) 12 (53)
2000 Sydney AUS 35 (95) 20 (68) 15 (60) 11 (52) 5 (41)
2004 Athina GRE 40 (105) 34 (93) 29 (84) 24 (75) 10 (50)
2008 Beijing CHN 38 (101) 30 (86) 26 (78) 21 (69) 11 (53)
2012 London GBR 37 (98) 24 (74) 19 (65) 14 (57) 7 (47)
2016 Rio de Janeiro BRA 36 (97) 26 (78) 22 (71) 19 (66) 11 (51)
2020 Tokyo JPN 39 (102) 31 (87) 26 (80) 23 (73) 15 (60)

Legend: OMAHT = Olympic month absolute high temperature, OMMHT = Olympic month mean high temperature, OMMT = Olympic month mean temperature, OMMLT = Olympic month mean low temperature, OMALT = Olympic month absolute low temperature. The temperatures are all given in degrees as “Celsius (Fahrenheit)”.

Here are the cities ranked from hottest to lowest during their Olympic months, in terms of the mean (average) high temperature

Year City NOC OMMHT OMMT OMMLT
2004 Athina GRE 34 (93) 29 (84) 24 (75)
1996 Atlanta USA 32 (89) 27 (80) 22 (71)
1904 St. Louis USA 31 (88) 26 (78) 21 (69)
2020 Tokyo JPN 31 (87) 26 (80) 23 (73)
2008 Beijing CHN 30 (86) 26 (78) 21 (69)
1932 Los Angeles USA 29 (84) 24 (74) 18 (64)
1984 Los Angeles USA 29 (84) 24 (74) 18 (64)
1992 Barcelona ESP 29 (83) 24 (76) 20 (68)
1960 Roma ITA 27 (80) 21 (69) 15 (59)
1988 Seoul KOR 26 (78) 21 (70) 17 (63)
2016 Rio de Janeiro BRA 26 (78) 22 (71) 19 (66)
1900 Paris FRA 25 (77) 21 (69) 16 (60)
1906 Athina GRE 25 (77) 21 (69) 16 (60)
1924 Paris FRA 25 (77) 21 (69) 16 (60)
1976 Montréal CAN 25 (77) 21 (69) 17 (62)
1980 Moskva URS 24 (76) 19 (67) 14 (58)
1936 Berlin GER 24 (75) 19 (67) 14 (58)
1908 London GBR 24 (74) 19 (65) 14 (57)
1948 London GBR 24 (74) 19 (65) 14 (57)
2012 London GBR 24 (74) 19 (65) 14 (57)
1920 Antwerpen BEL 23 (73) 19 (66) 15 (59)
1968 Ciudad de México MEX 23 (73) 17 (63) 11 (52)
1928 Amsterdam NED 22 (72) 17 (64) 12 (54)
1956 Melbourne AUS 22 (72) 19 (66) 11 (52)
1912 Stockholm SWE 22 (71) 17 (63) 13 (56)
1952 Helsinki FIN 22 (71) 18 (64) 14 (58)
1964 Tokyo JPN 22 (71) 18 (64) 14 (58)
1896 Athina GRE 20 (68) 16 (60) 12 (53)
2000 Sydney AUS 20 (68) 15 (60) 11 (52)
1972 München FRG 19 (66) 14 (57) 9 (48)

As you can see, Tokyo does not project to be the hottest Olympic Games on record. In fact, recent Games, notably Athina 2004 and Atlanta 1996 were both hotter. Granted, Athina was a relatively dry heat, but Atlanta’s humidity is almost exactly the same at Tokyo. Beijing 2008 and Los Angeles 1984 were also close to the same temperature as Japan, albeit both with less humidity.

Note that in the chronological listing of summer Olympic cities, the cooler cities were in the early years of the 20th century, for the most part, back when the Games were usually held in northern Europe.

Also note Tokyo 1964, when the Games were held in October, against Tokyo 2020. The average high in 2020 should be 31° C. (87° F.), while in 1964 it was 22° C. (71° F.). This is also true of other Games held in the autumn, as both Ciudad de México (MEX-1968) and Seoul (KOR-1988) can be quite warm, but holding those Games in September-October mitigated problems with the heat.

The marathon is the event of most concern, although the race walks, especially the 50 km will also be affected. These are the starting dates and times for the Olympic marathons since 1896.

Year Class Event Date Time
1896 Men Marathon 10 April
1900 Men Marathon 19 July 1430
1904 Men Marathon 30 August
1906 Men Marathon 1 May 1505
1908 Men Marathon 24 July 1433
1912 Men Marathon 14 July 1348
1920 Men Marathon 22 August 1612
1924 Men Marathon 13 July 1700
1928 Men Marathon 5 August 1514
1932 Men Marathon 7 August 1530
1936 Men Marathon 9 August 1500
1948 Men Marathon 7 August 1500
1952 Men Marathon 27 July 1525
1956 Men Marathon 1 December 1515
1960 Men Marathon 10 September 1730
1964 Men Marathon 21 October 1300
1968 Men Marathon 20 October 1500
1972 Men Marathon 10 September 1500
1976 Men Marathon 31 July 1730
1980 Men Marathon 1 August 1715
1984 Men Marathon 12 August 1715
1984 Women Marathon 5 August 800
1988 Women Marathon 23 September 930
1988 Men Marathon 2 October 1435
1992 Men Marathon 9 August 1830
1992 Women Marathon 1 August 1830
1996 Women Marathon 28 July 705
1996 Men Marathon 4 August 705
2000 Women Marathon 24 September 900
2000 Men Marathon 1 October 1600
2004 Men Marathon 29 August 1800
2004 Women Marathon 22 August 1800
2008 Men Marathon 24 August 730
2008 Women Marathon 17 August 730
2012 Men Marathon 12 August 1100
2012 Women Marathon 5 August 1100
2016 Men Marathon 21 August 930
2016 Women Marathon 14 August 930

As you can see the recent trend has been to run the Marathon either in the morning or the early evening to lessen the effects of the heat. In the early years of the Summer Olympics, when they were usually held in Northern Europe, the marathon was often run in the afternoon.

What about Hokkaido, the northernmost island in the Japanese archipelago, which has been proposed as the site for the 2020 Olympic marathons? The average mean temperature there in August is about 26° C. (79° F.). Better than Tokyo, but still warm if run in midday.

So Tokyo will be hot, but not unheard of for recent Olympic Games. As the world seems to be getting hotter, the effects of always holding the Olympics in July-August, in an effort to avoid competing with the NFL on television in the United States, may make choosing Olympic host cities more difficult in terms of safety for the athletes.

Of Salad Bars, Tennis Grand Slams, and Breast Cancer

Norman Brinker never competed in the Olympic Games. However, he was on the US Olympic team in 1952 in show jumping, but only served as an alternate and never saw competition. It was only a prelude to an amazing life, whose tentacles within his families would reach multiple aspects of American life.

Brinker (far right) with the 1952 US Olympic Show Jumping Team

Brinker made the 1952 US Olympic team while a seaman in the US Navy, stationed in San Diego, where he also attended San Diego State University. A good athlete, he did compete at the 1954 World Modern Pentathlon Championships in Budapest. While Brinker was studying at San Diego State, he met a young tennis player named Maureen Connolly.

Maureen Connolly, often called “Little Mo”, is not well-remembered by today’s sports fans, or even tennis fans, yet she is one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. Little Mo won the US Open Championship, then called the US Championships, at the end of 1951, when she was only 16-years-old. She would retire in late summer 1954, before the US Championships, having won 9 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments that she played in, including the calender-year Grand Slam in 1953, the first woman to achieve that. In that Grand Slam, she lost 1 set. After her 1951 US Championship, there is no record that she was ever beaten again in a match.

Little Mo with a few of her trophies

Maureen Connolly retired before she turned 20-years-old. She had won Wimbledon and the US Championships in 1952, the Grand Slam in 1953, and the French and Wimbledon Championships in 1954 – she did not play the Australian that year. In late July 1954, she was riding a horse that threw her and broke her leg, sustaining an open fracture. She never played tennis competitively again, officially retiring in February 1955, when her leg had not healed well.

A few months after the accident, June 1955, Maureen Connolly and Norman Brinker married. They would have two daughters together, Cindy and Brenda.

Norman Brinker’s career was not overshadowed by his wife’s tennis feats. He helped start several restaurant chains, including Jack-in-the-Box, Chili’s, Bennigan’s, and Steak and Ale. His company, Brinker International, would later oversee all those restaurant chains, and also Burger King and Häagen-Dazs. Brinker is considered the father of the popular modern casual dining concept. He is also considered to have either invented, or at least, popularized the salad bar, that is now so ubiquitous in many restaurants.

Brinker and Little Mo were together for only 14 years, unfortunately. In 1966 Little Mo was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and she died in June 1969, at only 34-years-old. A fleeting meteor in the sports world, who flamed out early, she also lost her life early, both times from instances beyond her control. Her story was told in a made-for-TV movie in the 1970s, “Little Mo,” starring Glynis O’Connor.

Norman Brinker went on. He re-married in 1971 but that marriage was short-lived. In 1981, he met and married Nancy Goodman, who had worked as a buyer for Neiman Marcus, and then with various public relation firms. They would remain married until 2000, when they divorced, although they stayed friends and worked together in the charity that Nancy would found.

Nancy Goodman had a sister, Susan Goodman. Both were born in Peoria, Illinois. In 1976, at age 33, Susan developed breast cancer and died in August 1980, at 37-years-old. By then married and named Susan G. Komen, Nancy Brinker vowed to her sister that she would fight the disease in her memory. Using some of Norman Brinker’s fortunes from his restaurant businesses, she formed the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in 1982. In 2008 the foundation would change its name to the Susan G. Komen Fight for the Cure.

Brinker not only founded the Susan G. Komen Foundation, but eventually served as its CEO until 2012. It has become the largest and best-funded breast cancer organization in the world.

Promise Me – the book Nancy Brinker wrote about the promise to her sister

The Susan G. Komen Foundation was not Nancy Brinker’s only accomplishment in life. In 2001 she was named Ambassador to Hungary by George W. Bush and served in that role from 2001-03. She later was US Chief of Protocol under President Bush from 2007-09, holding the title of ambassador and assistant under-secretary of state in that role. Continuing her fight against cancer, Nancy Brinker later became the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control.

Nancy Goodman Brinker

Norman Brinker, like his first wife, Little Mo, was badly injured in a riding accident in 1993, breaking multiple bones, residing in a coma, and ended up partially paralyzed. Still, he returned to his restaurant businesses six months later and would live until 2009. After their divorce in 2000, he and Nancy Brinker stayed close, and he remained on the board of the Susan G. Koman Foundation until his death. In his honor, the restaurant business gives out The Norman Award annually, to industry executives.

Norman Brinker – an Olympian and restaurant pioneer; Maureen Connolly – one of the greatest tennis players ever; Susan G. Komen – a breast cancer victim whose death spurred the greatest charitable breast cancer organization; and her sister, Nancy Brinker – who vowed that Susan’s death would not be in vain. A remarkable family touching so many aspects of American and world life. You should know about them.

 

All Olympic Doping Positives – the Count by Games

For those keeping score at home, here are the number of doping positives and disqualifications at the Olympic Games, that we know of (we = myself and @OlympicStatman). In total, there are 418 known cases.

Year City ###
2012 London 121
2008 Beijing 86
2000 Sydney 42
2004 Athínai 41
2006 Torino 19
2016 Rio de Janeiro 17
1996 Atlanta 13
1984 Los Angeles 12
2014 Sochi 12
1976 Montréal 11
1988 Seoul 10
1972 München 7
2002 Salt Lake City 7
1992 Barcelona 5
2018 PyeongChang 5
2010 Vancouver 3
1976 Innsbruck 2
1968 Ciudad de México 1
1972 Sapporo 1
1984 Sarajevo 1
1988 Calgary 1
1998 Nagano 1
Totals 418

An Update on London 2012 Doping Positives

There have been a number of tweets and other comments about the current number of doping positives from London 2012. Here are the correct numbers, to the best of our knowledge (our = myself and @OlympicStatman = Hilary Evans).

There have been 121 doping positives recorded from London 2012. 114 of these are confirmed and 7 of these are pending cases that are not fully confirmed yet.

Of the 121, 11 of these were original positives, that is, they were revealed during the London Olympics or at the time of those Olympics. Four (4) of them were pre-Games positives that were found in testing just prior to the Games with those athletes disqualified from competing. The remainder (106) of the positives have been found in re-testing.

Of the 121, 76 were in women, and 45 in men. Here are the nations that have been implicated:

NOC Doping Positives 2012
Russia 38
Ukraine 16
Belarus 12
Turkey 12
Kazakhstan 6
Moldova 4
Armenia 3
Azerbaijan 3
Morocco 3
Colombia 2
Georgia 2
Saudi Arabia 2
United States 2
Albania 1
Brazil 1
China 1
Spain 1
France 1
Italy 1
Latvia 1
Qatar 1
Saint Kitts and Nevis 1
Slovenia 1
Syria 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1
United Arab Emirates 1

Note that 85 of the 121 are from countries derived from the former Soviet Union.

And here are the sports that have been involved:

Sport Doping Positives 2012
Athletics 80
Weightlifting 30
Cycling 3
Wrestling 3
Boxing 1
Gymnastics 1
Judo 1
Rowing 1
Swimming 1

Finally, here are the violations, including the drugs used and the other violations of the WADA code:

Violations / Drugs Doping Positives 2012
Biological passport offense 37
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol) 32
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol) and Stanozolol 14
Never announced 7
Erythropoietin (EPO) 5
Stanozolol (anabolic steroid) 4
Furosemide (Lasix) (diuretic = masking agent) 3
Methylhexanamine 2
Oxandrolone 2
Testosterone (anabolic steroid) 2
Blast-Off Red (ingredients are unclear) 1
Blood doping 1
Clenbuterol; Methandienone and Oxandrolone 1
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol) and Drostanolone 1
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol) and Ipamorelin 1
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol) and Tamoxifen 1
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol; Oxandrolone; and Stanozolol 1
Drostanolone and Stanozolol 1
Marijuana 1
Methandienone metabolite (anabolic steroid) 1
Methenolone and metabolites (anabolic steroid) 1
Oxandrolone and Stanozolol 1
Tampering with doping control samples 1

Of the announced violations (114), fully 50 of them are for Turinabol (dehydrochloromethyltestosterone = DHCMT), often combined with other drugs. Why Turinabol? Turinabol was developed in the former East Germany, by the pharmaceutical company Jenapharm. It was originally only detectable for a few days after administration, but a test developed in 2012 by Grigory Rodchenkov (a familiar name in the Russian doping scandal) enabled it to be detected for up to 50 days after administration. Thus, many athletes who thought they were safe in 2012 were later detected by the use of that test.

THE GAMES OF THE VIth OLYMPIAD – THE 1916 OLYMPIC GAMES

There were Olympic Games scheduled for 1916, although they would never take place because of World War I.  The 1916 Olympic Games – the Games of the VIth Olympiad – were scheduled for Berlin, Germany.

Berlin had made a bid to host the 1908 Olympic Games but withdrew the bid at the 1904 IOC Session so that the vote for London could be unanimous.  It then moved forward its bid to the 1912 Olympics, and at the 1908 IOC Session in London the two candidate cities for 1912 were considered to be Berlin and Stockholm.  But at the 1909 IOC Session (in Berlin), Berlin announced that it could not host the 1912 Olympic Games and they were awarded to Stockholm.  The 1916 host city was discussed at the 1911 IOC Session but the decision was made at the 1912 Session in Stockholm.  Official bids had been returned from Berlin, Alexandria (EGY), and Budapest (HUN), but Alexandria and Budapest withdrew during the Session and Berlin was elected unanimously as the host city for the Games of the VIth Olympiad.

Germany had long since formed a National Olympic Committee, termed the Deutschen Reichsausschuß für Olympische Spiele (DRAfOS) (Germany Imperial Committee for the Olympic Games).  When the 1916 Olympic Games were awarded to Berlin, it began to develop an Organizing Committee as well.  The final form of the Executive Board of DRAfOS in 1913 was as follows:

Position Holder
Patron: Crownprince Wilhelm von Preußen
President: General Victor von Podbielski
Vice-President: Ulrich von Örtzen
Treasurer: Baron Julius von Hünefeld
1st Secretary: Dr. Paul Martin
2nd Secretary: P. Johannes Müller
Sec-Gen. for the Olympic Games: Kurt Roesler
Sec-Gen. for the 1916 Olympics: Dr. Carl Diem
IOC Members to Germany: Count Adalbert von Francken-Sierstorpff
Baron Karl von Venningen-Ullner von Diepburg

Germany also proceeded with the building of a great stadium to host the Olympic Games.  The design and construction had actually begun in 1911, prior to the bid for the 1916 Olympics being awarded to Berlin.  The stadium contained a 400-metre running track, surrounded by a 600-metre cycle track, with a 100-metre swimming pool at the north end of the stadium.  The stadium seated around 30,000 spectators.  Kaiser Wilhelm II dedicated the stadium on 8 June 1913, in celebration of his 25th anniversary as head of the German Reich.  A number of IOC Members were present at the dedication.  After various demonstrations and exhibitions of athletic events, General von Podbielski gave the closing speech, and urged the 3 million members of German athletic groups to put all their efforts into victory at the 1916 Olympics.

Plans proceded apace for the 1916 Olympic Games and a tentative program and schedule of events was announced.  This is documented in the only modern book fully devoted to the 1916 Olympic Games, Die VI. Olympischen Spiele Berlin 1916, by Prof. Dr. Karl Lennartz of the Carl-Diem-Institute in Köln, Germany.  The tentatively scheduled sports were as follows, and it is notable that the Germans planned to conduct both Summer and Winter Sports:

Summer Sports

Athletics (Track & Field), Cycling, Diving, Fencing, Football (Soccer), Golf, Gymnastics, Hockey (Field), Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Shooting, Swimming, Tennis, Water Polo, Weightlifting, and Wrestling – Greco-Roman

Winter Sports

Figure Skating, Ice Hockey, Nordic Skiing, and Speed Skating

It is also possible that the Germans tried to organize a cricket tournament, although it did not make it to the final schedule.  In A History of Australian Cricket it was noted, “Another matter which occupied the minds of the delegates was an invitation from the German authorities to send a cricket team to compete in the 1916 Olympic Games which were scheduled to be held in Berlin.”

But the 1916 Olympic Games never came to pass, for fairly obvious reasons.  On 28 June 1914, in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The incident precipitated the war, and in July 1914, Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia.  Germany soon joined with the Hapsburg Empire and declared war on Russia and France a few days later.  In August, Germany invaded Belgium and Great Britain then entered the war against Germany.

Incredibly, the Germans continued to make plans to host the 1916 Olympic Games, though they were met with opposition within the IOC as well.  British IOC Member Theodore Andrea Cook demanded the expulsion of the German members from the IOC.  When this was refused, Cook resigned from the IOC in protest.

Coubertin discussed these entreaties in Memoires Olympiques, “… barely two weeks had passed since the invasion of Belgium when I received proposals for ‘transferring’ the Games – at first somewhat vague plans but soon made more precise by a favourable move on the part of [James Edward] Sullivan, who had been one of the pillars of the recent Congress and whose loyalty now proved unshakeable.  He asked for instructions.  We could not hesitate.  An Olympiad may fail to be celebrated; its number remains.  This is the ancient tradition.  The Germans, who at that time believed in a rapid war and a sure victory, did not ask to be relieved of the Olympic mandate.  To make a move in favour of the United States or Scandinavia would have been to take a step whose outcome would have been difficult to foresee and to risk subsequent cracks in Olympic unity, without any advantage for anyone.  I therefore rejected any kind of action of this sort.”

The exact date when it was decided not to hold the 1916 Olympic Games has not been published in any available source.  But as late as mid-1915 the Germans were still making plans for the Olympics.  In March 1915, the DRAfOS reported to the IOC on its preparations, noting that “only nations allied with Germany and neutral countries would be invited.”

It was fortunate, given that ultimatum, that the Olympic Movement would wait until 1920 and Antwerp.

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The above was modified from Appendix 4 from my book on the 1920 Olympic Games (with Tony Bijkerk) – The 1920 Olympic Games:  Results for All Competitors in All Events, with Commentary. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2001.