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74 Olympic Games Trivia Questions & Answers

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There are 74 questions on this topic. Last updated Apr 23 2024.
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1 Ben Nighthorse Campbell served in the US Senate from 1993 through 2005. He competed in judo at the Olympics in 1964, but what injury there ended his athletic career?
Answer: Broken ankle

Campbell was the captain of the US judo team in 1964. It was the first year that judo was an official Olympic sport. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken ankle during the second round of his competition, and was forced to withdraw from sports. He went on to become one of the few Native Americans who have served in the US Senate. He was a Senator, representing Colorado, from 1993-2005. He was also able to pursue his enjoyment of jewelry making when he was no longer able to participate in sports.
trivia question Quick Question
In 1952, which ice hockey dominant nation would win their final hockey gold until the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City, USA?

2 Sprinter Ben Johnson went from 'Hero to Zero in 9.79' after taking gold in the 100 metre race at the 1988 Summer Olympics and then being disqualified for doping three days later. Which country did he represent, eh?
Answer: Canada

Ben Johnson won gold medals at both the 1987 World Championships and 1988 Summer Olympics. When he won gold, he was an instant hero in Canada, receiving a phone call from Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Three days later, he tested positive for a banned substance and fellow Canadian and Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury hung a bed sheet out of his window at Olympic village with the words "Hero to Zero in 9.79' (9.79 being Johnson's time in the 100 metre sprint). At first, Johnson denied taking illegal substances but finally admitted it and was stripped of both gold medals.

He attempted a comeback and in 1993 won a fifty-metre race in France but was found guilty of doping again. This time he was banned for life. In 1998 he raced against a horse and a stock car in a charity race and came in third place. In 1999 he was hired as a football coach for the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi's son was hired by an Italian football club but was fired after one game for, you guessed it, failing a drug test. After leaving Libya, Johnson was allegedly robbed of the money he'd earned coaching but was ironically unable to catch the runners who ran off toward a subway station. Unbelievably, in 1999 Johnson himself arranged for a drug test so that he could be reinstated and tested positive for a substance known to mask the presence of other drugs.
3 John Thomas broke the world record in his event three times and was heavily favored in both the 1960 and 1964 Olympics. However, he failed to win the gold medal each time. What was John Thomas's event?
Answer: High Jump

John Thomas (1941-2013) was the first man to clear 7 feet in the high jump when he cleared that height at age 17. He eventually set a world record of 7 feet 3-3/4 inches in 1960. During his career he cleared 7 feet a total of 191 times, losing only 8 times.

In the Rome 1960 Olympics he finished third behind two Russians, and in the 1964 Olympics he won a silver, while tying for the top height.

He had a long and successful career after he retired, dealing with his unexpected losses. He also had a long friendship with Valeriy Brumel, one of the Russian competitors who bested him, during the period of Cold War tensions.
4 During the inaugural modern day Olympic games in 1896, women were not allowed to participate in the games. One woman, Stamata Revithi, participated in an unofficial event at the games. What event was it?
Answer: Marathon

Unfortunately, women were not allowed to compete during the inaugural games because Olympic founder and organizer Pierre de Coubertin believed that women participants would be "impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and incorrect". Stamata Revithi, a Greek woman, ran the 40 kilometer race the day after the men's race in 5.5 hours. She was not allowed to finish the race in Panathinaiko Stadium. Little was known about her life prior to the race except that she had been living in poverty with two children. She is believed to have been thin and blonde and athletically able to participate in the race. After the race, her name all but disappeared from history. It would not be until 1984 that women were finally allowed to compete in the Olympic marathon event.
5 In the archery competition in 1908, British women won gold, silver and bronze in the Double Round. What was very unusual about this event?
Answer: Only British athletes competed

As this was one of the events of the Games of 1908 in London, there were of course no television broadcasts. The first TV broadcasts date from the 1920s. There were many specific events organized only once, most frequently for the lack of countries participating (for instance the Women's Double Round Archery) or because the rules of the Olympic changed (no more motorized sports, so the motor boating events in 1908 were also organized only a single time).

Most events are spread over several days, even if there is only the final. Such is the case for sports such as golf, equestrianism (the military), and some athletic events (decathlon for the men, heptathlon for the women). The major oddity about the women's double round archery was that all competitors were British. In the men's double round York style 15 British athletes, 10 French archers and one American competed, and in the men's continental style the 15 French archers were joined by one British and one American competitor.

The rules for these archery competitions were quite different. In the continental style each competitor shot 40 arrows one by one at a target placed on 50m. The double round consisted of shooting arrows in groups of three arrows, at targets placed on varying distances. The competition was in two rounds: one on July 17 and one on July 18, and the total of the both rounds determined the placement. Women shot each day 48 arrows at 60 yards and 24 arrows at 50 yards, while the men each day shot 72 arrows at 100 yards, 48 arrows at 80 yards and 24 arrows at 60 yards.

The results for the women's double round were: gold for Sybil "Queenie" Newall (1854-1929), silver for Charlotte "Lottie" Dod (1871-1960) and bronze for Beatrice Hill-Lowe (1868-1951).
6 At the 1908 Olympics held in London, the final of the men's 400m was controversially re-run, producing a different Olympic champion from the first attempt. What event brought about this dispute?
Answer: The first winner was disqualified for breaking British running rules

The men's 400m Olympic champion in 1908 was Wyndham Halswelle of Great Britain, who also holds the dubious honour of being the only Olympic champion to have won their event in the absence of any competition. The first 400m final had been won by the American athlete, John Carpenter, but in the process he had used his elbows to prevent Halswelle from overtaking him on the final straight. While this was an accepted tactic in America at the time, it was deemed illegal under British rules and - since the event was held in Britain - Carpenter was disqualified. His team-mates then refused to take part in the re-staged event, leaving Halswelle to leisurely run the 400m on his own and claim a gold medal (his 'winning' time was nearly two seconds slower than the time he posted in qualification).

At the time of the 1908 Olympics, Halswelle was a British army officer. He was killed in action in 1915, while serving in France during the First World War.
7 In 2010, four people were given the honor to light the Olympic Cauldron in Vancouver. The four lit the inside cauldron, but only the ice hockey player had the honor of lighting the outdoor one. Who was it?
Answer: Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky was a Canadian ice hockey player who won four Stanley Cup titles while playing for the Edmonton Oilers. In the 2010 Winter Olympics, he, as well as the other three athletes mentioned, had the honor of lighting the indoor cauldron for the games. However, Le May Doan was unable to assist in the lighting when a mechanical arm failed; she lit this fourth arm during the closing ceremonies.

Only Gretzky had the honor of lighting the outdoor cauldron, which remained lit throughout the Games.
Question Reference: Quiz: Pass the Fire.
8 This sport has been held in every modern Olympics since 1896. It is usually one of the marquee sports of the games, and has been dominated with names like Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, and Johnny Weissmuller. Which sport is it?
Answer: Swimming

The swimming events have changed and evolved from 1896 to the early 21st century. The 1896 agenda contained just a 100, 500, and 800 metre freestyle races (which were contested in the open Mediterranean Sea, and a 100 metre swim for sailors, the latter being only open to members of the Greek Royal Navy. The 1900, 1904, and 1912 swimming races were also held in open waters ( the 1904 St. Louis Olympics were the only Games to use yards instead of metres). The swimming programmes evolved from open-water to indoors, and from four events to seventeen by Beijing in 2008 and London four years later.
9 Who is this Olympic rower who history will remember for the unbelievable feat of winning five (5) Olympic gold medals in five consecutive Olympic Games?
Answer: Steve Redgrave

Sir Steve Redgrave is truly a legend in Olympic Sport. In the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 he won the Gold medal in the Coxed Fours with Martin Cross, Adrian Ellison, Andy Holmes and Richard Budgett. In Seoul Korea in 1988, he won Gold in the Coxless Pair with Andy Holmes. In Barcelona 1992, he won Gold in the Coxless Pair with Matthew Pinsent. The two of them repeated their success in the Atlanta 1996 Games. Finally, his 5th Gold medal was earned in Sydney in 2000 in the Coxless Four with Matthew Pinsent, Tim Foster, and James Cracknell.
10 For 40 years, the men's field hockey tournament was totally dominated by India and Pakistan. Which country broke this monopoly?
Answer: West Germany

Between the 1928 Games and 1968, the competition was won by India 7 times and Pakistan twice. They also took four silver medals between them. In 1972, in Munich, West Germany defeated Pakistan by one goal to none.
11 In the 1908 London Olympics, Jay Gould of the USA won the first (and to date only) Olympic Gold medal awarded for "Jeu de Paume". By what name is this sport better known in English-speaking countries?
Answer: Real Tennis

Great Britain - the only other nation to compete - won the Silver and Bronze medals. Although only ever an official sport in 1908, Jau de Paume was also a demonstration sport in 1924 (Paris).
12 General George Patton took part in the modern pentathlon at Olympics in 1912. What sports make up the modern pentathlon?
Answer: Swimming, riding, fencing, running, shooting

General George Patton led the US army on the Western Front during WWII. Before the war, he competed in the inaugural modern pentathlon at the Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden in 1912. The five events for the modern pentathlon are swimming, riding, fencing, running, and shooting, with all held on the same day. Patton did not win a medal, but did place fifth in the pentathlon that year.
13 In 1936, Jesse Owens stared down the face of adversity during the Hitler-run summer games in Germany. How many gold medals did he win during those games?
Answer: 4

During the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany, Jesse Owens, an African American, embarrassed Hitler and his political views by "single-handedly crushing Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy" by winning four gold medals in track and field events. He won the 100 meter race, 200 meter race, long jump and 4 x 100 meter relay.
14 Who won the decathlon in 1980 and 1984?
Answer: Daley Thompson

The decathlon is an Olympic event combining ten different disciplines from athletics (track and field), namely 100 metres sprint, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 metres, 110 metres hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and 1,500 metres. At the Olympic Games in Moscow 1980, three of the candidate medal winners missed the games. The American Bob Coffman and the West-German Guido Kratschmer missed the games because their countries boycotted them, and the Russian Aleksandr Grebenyuk was injured. So Daley Thompson was the best bet among bookmakers.

He started winning the 100m sprint and the long jump, and with a fifth place for the shot put and second place in high jump he stayed in the lead. He won the 400m, thus comfortably leading the tables after the first day. The second day he started with second place on the hurdles, twelfth place on the discus throw and fifth place in the pole vault. Sixth place in the javelin throw and tenth in the 1,500m were enough to clench the gold medal. The silver went to the Russian Yuri Kutsenko and the bronze to the Russian Sergey Zhelanov.

In Los Angeles 1984 Thompson had three West-German contenders for the medals: Jürgen Hingsen (the world record holder), Siggi Wentz and Guido Kratschmer. Just as four years earlier, Thompson won the 100m, the long jump and the 400m and lead the tables from start to finish. Thompson (born 1958) retired in 1992, having competed in four Olympic Games (1976-1980-1984-1988).

Sebastian Coe (born 1956) won two gold medals on the 1,500m (both in 1980 and 1984). Linford Christie (born 1960) won the 100m sprint in 1992 in Barcelona. Mo Farah (born 1983) won the 5,000m and the 10,000m, both in London 2012 and in Rio de Janeiro 2016. That makes him the first British track and field athlete with four gold medals.
15 Muhammed Ali was given the honor of lighting the Cauldron during one Olympic Games of the 90s. Where was he given the honor?
Answer: Atlanta 1996

Muhammed Ali, often thought of as the greatest boxer of all time, won Olympic gold in 1960 fighting for the United States at light heavyweight. The Cauldron is only lit by sporting greats who represent the host country, and as Atlanta, Georgia, is located in the US, it was thus during the 1996 Olympics that Ali lit the Cauldron.
Question Reference: Quiz: Pass the Fire.
16 This track race is considered to be the most-watched event of every Olympics, and it is one of the shortest! This event has been run and/or won by names like Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Ben Johnson, and Usain Bolt. Which event is it?
Answer: 100m sprint

The race is the marquee event of the Summer Olympics, even though it lasts for less than 10 seconds. Thomas Burke (USA) won the 100m in Athens in 1896, with a time of 12.0 seconds. At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, a time of 12 seconds would have been last place spot in seven of the eight heats. Usain Bolt set a world record at those Olympics with a time of 9.69 seconds.
17 Which sprinter-jumper has the distinction of being the second athlete to win a Gold medal in the same event at four consecutive Olympic Games?
Answer: Carl Lewis

Sprinter-Long Jumper Carl Lewis has won ten Olympic medals in Track and Field, nine of them Gold. In the Long Jump competition, Lewis won Gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics (where he repeated Jesse Owens amazing 1936 feat of winning the 100m, 200m, Long Jump, and 4x100m Relay), the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Carl Lewis has also won a remarkable eight World Championships Gold medals between 1983 and 1991.
The first athlete to achieve this feat was Al Oerter, who won gold in the discus event at the 1956-1960-1964-1968 Olympics.
18 In which sport did Andre Agassi's father, Mike, compete in two competitions?
Answer: Boxing

Emmanuel Aghassian was born in Iran in 1930, and competed in both the 1948 and 1952 games. He lost in the first round on both occasions. Both boxers that beat him went on to win bronze. He shortened his name when he emigrated to the USA.
19 In the 1900 Paris Olympics, Great Britain won a Gold medal at Cricket; the only year it was an Olympic event. Which nation were the losing finalists?
Answer: France

Yes, honestly, it was France. In fact, most of the French team were English employees at the British Embassy in Paris, who were doubtless glad to have a day off work. No other nations competed, so only one two-innings match was played, which Great Britain - actually a touring team from Devon and Somerset Wanderers Cricket Club - won by 158 runs.
20 In 1976, Bruce Jenner won the decathlon at the Montreal Olympics. In 2015, she came out as a trans woman and changed her first name to __________.
Answer: Caitlyn

In July, 1976, Bruce Jenner won the gold medal in the decathlon at the Montreal Olympics. He received a score of 8,617 points during the competition, which set a world record at that point. In April of 2015, she came out as a transgender woman on a public interview on the American television show "20/20". In July, she adopted the first name Caitlyn. By January 2017, Jenner had completed sex reassignment surgery and legally changed both her name and her gender.
21 The World Taekwondo Federation banned Angel Valodia Matos Fuentes for life when he pulled what dangerous move at the 2008 Summer Olympics?
Answer: Kicked a referee in the face

Cuban athlete Angel Matos had won gold at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games and was participating in a bronze medal match at the 2008 Games. He led the match when he sustained a foot injury and took a medical time-out. According to the rules, participants are allowed a one minute time-out however when he was given a time warning by the Swedish referee he did not return to the mat. The referee declared that he had retired from the match due to injury. In retaliation, Matos kicked the referee in the face, punched a judge in the arms and spat on the arena floor. He had to be escorted from the arena by security. Within hours, the World Taekwondo Federation had banned him from competing in the sport for life. His coach accused the referee of taking bribes and even Fidel Castro defended Matos at first, stating that the judge had stolen the fight from him. In later interviews, Matos has expressed regret about his attitude and misses competing in the sport.
22 Eddie Hart and Rey Robinson were two favorites in the 1972 Olympic Games 100 meter race, however neither completed the race. Why didn't they finish the race?
Answer: Showed up late for their race

Eddie Hart and Rey Robinson had tied the world record for the 100 meter race and were considered favorites for the gold medal. Their US coach was working from an outdated schedule of races and gave Hart and Robinson the incorrect time for the start of their quarterfinal race. After discovering the error, they rushed to the stadium and arrived just as their race started.

Hart received a gold medal later while running the anchor leg in the 4x100 meter relay. Although disappointed, he bears no ill will towards the coach, has had a successful career as a track coach and takes pride in his long marriage to his high school sweetheart.

Robinson later became head coach at his alma mater Florida A&M.
23 In 1952, which ice hockey dominant nation would win their final hockey gold until the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City, USA?
Answer: Canada

At a time when only amateur hockey players were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games, Canada had a long history of success in hockey at the games having won five of the previous six gold medals since its introduction during the 1920 winter games. In the following tournaments, the USSR/Unified Team would go on to win eight of the next twelve tournaments. In 2002, with professional hockey players well involved in Olympic hockey events, Canada would go on to defeat the United States for their first hockey gold in fifty years.
24 This sport has been at every Summer Olympics (men), except 1896 and 1932; while women were added to the schedule in 1996. This sport has traditionally been dominated by Brazil, Great Britain, and Germany. Which one is it?
Answer: Football

The 1900 and 1904 soccer competitions are disputed as actually being international football, as teams were comprised of people from different countries. The FA created a tournament for the 1908 Games in London, and the competition expanded from there. Large stadiums, sometimes hundreds of miles away from the host city, are used for the Olympic tournament, so they can seat 30-40,000 screaming fans.
25 In which event did an individual first win four consecutive gold medals?
Answer: Discus

The man that achieved this feat and truly deserves the title of 'Olympian' was Al Oerter. Not only did he win four medals, each time he did it, he set a new Olympic record. He was also the first man to break the 200-foot barrier with the discus. He was given the honour of carrying the Olympic Flag in 1984, and carried the flame into the stadium in 1996. He passed away in October 2007.