Since 1896, the modern Olympics has brought together the world through its multi-sport events. The games are held in major cities throughout the world such as Athens, Paris, London, Tokyo, and Moscow. This August all eyes will be on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as they host the XXXI summer Olympiad. To learn more about Rio's iconic statue, check out this documentary featuring the seven wonders of Brazilian spirituality. If you're planning on watching the Olympics in person, you may want to take along this handy travel guide.
This year’s Summer Olympics have 42 sports that include swimming, diving, and basketball. A look back at Olympic history shows some interesting facts. Did you know that croquet and tug of war were once Olympic sports!? For more Olympic history and trivia, The Complete Book of the Olympics, The Games, and Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics take an in-depth look at the games.Although Indiana has never hosted an Olympic game, the Hoosier state does have some connections through athletes and qualifying trials for the games.
Indiana basketball legend Larry Bird made up the historic “Dream Team” in 1992 along with Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. They were the first U.S. Olympic basketball team made up of professional athletes. They won the gold medal with an average 44 points lead.
Basketball great Oscar Robertson led Indianapolis’s Crispus Attucks High School to the state title in 1955. This was the first time an all-African-American team had won a state championship. In 1960 he co-captained the U.S. Olympic team which brought home the gold.
This year Indiana fever star Tamika Catchings will be heading to the Olympics as the women’s basketball team captain. This is her third appearance at an Olympic game.
Indiana University Natatorium on the IUPUI campus has been host to the 13 US Olympic Trials, including swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming. Most recently, the natatorium underwent a nearly $20 million in renovation to host the 2016 diving trials.
Indiana University has long been a strong athletic contributor to the games. Until Michael Phelps came along, IU swimmer Mark Spitz held the record for most gold medals in a single Olympic game with winning a total seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics. A native of California, Mark came to Indiana University to train with legendary swim coach “Doc” Councilman. His record breaking performance proved this was a good move.
IU Continues to produce quality swimmers and divers. This year they are sending three swimmers Lilly King, Cody Miller and Blake Pieroni to the games. As well as three divers Amy Cozad, Michael Hixon and Jessica Parratto.
Indiana University isn’t the only Indiana college sending athletes to the Olympics in diving. Purdue University is sending two divers. Olympic gold medalist David Boudai will be joined by Steele Johnson. They will compete together in synchronized diving and against each other in the 10 meter dive.
There a many more athletes with Indiana connections. Some are representing other countries such as golfer and Purdue University student Paula Reto who will represent her native South Africa. For more information on the sports, athletes, and history of the games visit the official Olympics site.