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Olympics: Highlights and fun facts from the Games held in 2000, 2004 and 2008

02:58 PM Jul 23, 2021 | PTI

New Delhi, July 23: PTI takes a look at interesting facts and trivia about the Olympic Games from its previous editions.

Here are some highlights and fun facts from the Olympics Games held in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

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2000, Sydney Olympics

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*The opening ceremonies celebrated the history of Australia, especially the unique cultures and contributions of the Aboriginal peoples of the continent.

*Aboriginal runner Cathy Freeman lit the Olympic flame.

*Birgit Fischer of Germany earned two gold medals in kayaking to become the first woman in any sport to win medals 20 years apart.

*Several events were contested at the Games for the first time, including men's and women's taekwondo, trampoline, triathlon, and synchronized diving.

*Women took part in weightlifting and the modern pentathlon for the very first time.

*Cameroon won a historic gold medal over Spain in the men's football final at the Olympic Stadium.

*There were three mascots - Syd the Platypus, Millie the Echidna, and Olly the Kookaburra.

*Russian Gymnast, Alexei Nemov won six individual medals including two golds.

2004, Athens Olympics

*The Games returned home to Greece, the birthplace of the ancient Games and site of the inaugural modern Olympics.

*A new medal obverse was introduced at these Games, replacing the old design that had been used since 1928. This rectified the long-lasting mistake of using a depiction of the Roman Colosseum rather than a Greek venue. The new design features the Panathenaic Stadium.

*More than 20 athletes were disqualified after they failed tests for performance-enhancing-drug use.

*Women's wrestling was included in the programme for the first time.

*Legendary American swimmer Michael Phelps won six gold medals and set a single-Games record with eight total medals.

*Netherland's Leontien Ziljaard-van Moorsel became the first female cyclist to earn four career gold medals, reaching a total of six Olympic medals.

*Canoeist Birgit Fischer of Germany became the first athlete in any sport to win two medals in each of five Olympic Games.

2008, Beijing Olympics

*The Games were auspiciously scheduled to begin at 8:08 PM on the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008 in Beijing.

*In cycling, the road race followed the Great Wall and passed in front of the "Forbidden City"-- two symbols of the thousand-year-old history of the city.

*Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra won the first individual gold medal in his country's history by taking the men's 10-metre air rifle event.

*Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Mauritius and Togo all experienced podium finishes for the first time.

*An unprecedented 87 countries won at least one medal during the Games.

*American swimmer Michael Phelps won a total of eight gold medals, more than any other athlete in a single Olympic Games, setting numerous world and Olympic records in the process.

*Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt also set records in several different events, completing the 100 m final with a time of 9.69 seconds, beating his own previous world record.

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