Jim Thorpe won the pentathlon and decathlon in 1912. On his return to the USA he was accorded a hero's welcome and a tickertape parade. Then it was discovered that he had played a few professional baseball games, which disqualified him from amateur status. He was stripped of his Olympic titles. After his death, the IOC re-instated him and presented duplicate medals to his children.
In the 1972 games Mark Spitz won seven gold medals:
100 metres butterfly
100 metres freestyle
200 metres butterfly
200 metres freestyle
4 X 100 metres freestyle relay
4 X 100 metres medley relay
4 X 200 metres freestyle relay
USA did not select Robert Legendre in the long jump in 1924, but only in the pentathlon. However, he broke the world long jump record while competing in the pentathlon.
In 1976 Olympics, the gymnastics judges awarded Romania's Nadia Comaneci seven perfect 10s.
Stella Walsh (born Stanislawa Walasiewiczowna in Poland) won the 1932 women's 100 metres dash. When she was killed in 1980, the post-mortem revealed one big surprise - she was a man!
In 1920 Norway won seven yachting events & in five of them there was only one entrant!
The longest ever Olympic event was the 320 km cycle race in 1912. The winner, Okey Lewis of South Africa, finished the course in 10 hours 42 minutes 39 seconds.
At the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, one of the 75kg middleweight Graeco-Roman wrestling semi-finals lasted 11 hours and 40 minutes. The competitors were Martin Klein, an Estonian representing Tsarist Russia, and Alfred Asikainen of Finland who was eventually defeated. Unfortunately, Klein was too exhausted to wrestle in the final and had to settle for second place.
1908 was the last year in which the host country supplied all the officials. This is to avoid accusations of bias against officials.
JB Kelly, Olympic gold medallist rower and father of Princess Grace of Monaco, was banned from competing at Henley because he had once been a bricklayer, thus falling foul of the Amateur Rowing Associationís rules, which banned manual workers from competing.
In 1904 American George Eyser won three golds, two silvers and a bronze in gymnastics, all achieved even though he had a wooden leg.
Ray Ewry of USA won eight individual gold medals - still a record; including three in the standing long jump and the standing high jump. He won his final medals in 1908.
The only swimming event in the 1896 Olympics was the 100 metres freestyle - in the sea off Piraeus. In 1900 at the Paris Olympics, swimming events were held in the Seine. Times were fast as the swimmers swam with the current. From 1904 events were indoor. Women's swimming was introduced in 1912.
Four Olympians - Magnus Konow of Norway, Ivan Osiier of Denmark, Paul Elvstrom of Denmark and Durwood Knowles of the Bahamas competed in two (or more) Olympic Games, 40 years apart.
Hurbert Raudaschl of Austria competed nine times in Olympic sailing competitions (1964-96).