There are many strange and fascinating facts buried in the long, bizarre history of the Olympics. The Summer Olympics of 2016 look almost nothing like those from a century ago, and it’s not just the slick presentation and technological advancements in the individual events. Everything about the Summer and Winter Olympics used to be a whole lot weirder and, well, pretty backwards. In many ways, the games have acted as a microcosm of what was happening in the world at the time, for better or for worse.
Just how old are the Olympics? That depends if you’re referring to the ancient or modern games: the ancient games were held from the 8th century BCE to the 4th century CE, while the modern games were born in 1896. Both eras feature tons of examples of almost superhuman athleticism, but also a whole lot of sexism, racism, nudity, incompetence, drug abuse, waste, and wackiness. So who created the Olympics? What about those Olympic rings? Read on to learn some things you probably don’t know about the history of the Olympic games.