1 ) When Canadian Tom Longboat collapsed in the heat after 20 miles of the 1908 London Games marathon, South African prison officer Charles Hefferon took the lead and was coasting to victory until, with one-and-a-half miles remaining, he accepted a victory glass of champagne and a pat on the back from a well-wisher. The bubbly caused him to vomit, and Hefferon was overtaken by Italian baker Dorando Pietri, who entered White City Stadium in such a state of disorientation he began running the wrong way and had to be turned around by officials. Needing to run 385 yards for triumph, he collapsed five times in the last 200 yards and was carried over the line on a stretcher. Pietri was disqualified.
2 ) The 1500m victory of Luxembourg’s Josy Barthel at the 1952 Games was so unexpected officials had not brought along the score to the tiny state’s national anthem. With Barthel waiting on the podium, the band were forced to improvise and did well enough – or, indeed, badly enough – for the runner to bury his head in his hands and begin to weep.
3 ) The 400m final at the 1908 London games was ordered to be re-run because American John Carpenter blocked Wyndham Halswelle – a move legal in the States but outlawed in Britain. Carpenter was disqualified and the other two finalists, both Americans, refused to re-race, so Halswelle jogged alone round the track and took gold.
4 ) Australia’s Henry Pearce stopped rowing in his 1928 Amsterdam games quarter-final to allow a family of ducks to pass safely in front of his boat. He still won the heat and took gold in the final.
5 ) American Fred Lorz’s marathon victory in the 1904 St Louis games was overturned when it was revealed he had hitched a lift in a car for most of the distance before racing to the finish from four miles out.
6 ) Modern games founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin introduced an arts competition at the 1912 Stockholm Games. The gold meal winner for literature was… Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
7 ) Hungarian pistol shooter Karoly Takacs was denied a place at the 1936 Olympics because he was only an Army sergeant and not an officer. The ban was lifted but Takacs then had his shooting hand – his right – badly maimed when a grenade exploded in it during military training. Undaunted, he learned to shoot left-handed and won Olympic golds in 1948 and 1952.
8 ) The 2012 Aquatic Centre, built for £269m, has been designed in the shape of a stingray – the fish branded “rank and disagreeable” in Francis Day’s 1884 opus The Fishes of Great Britain and Ireland.
9 ) Contrary to the version of events portrayed in the film Chariots Of Fire, devout British sprinter Eric Liddell did not arrive at the 1924 Paris games to find out he would be asked to run on a Sunday. Liddell already knew and had withdrawn from the tournament before he travelled. He also did not take the place of a friend in the 400m, which he won with an Olympic record time.
10 ) Johnny Weismuller, who won a combined five swimming golds at the 1924 and 1928 games, never lost a race. He later starred in 12 movies as Tarzan and used his famous ululating cry to win over Cuban rebels who attempted to kidnap him during a round of golf on the island in 1958.
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