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Quiz: Olympic Traditions -- What Do You Know?

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Which sport in the ancient Olympic Games allowed finger breaking?

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Which sport in the ancient Olympic Games allowed finger breaking?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

While biting and genital holds were illegal in wrestling in the ancient Games, Olympians were allowed to break their competitors’ fingers. 


Like the modern sport, an athlete needed to throw his opponent on the ground, landing on a hip, shoulder, or back. The first man to get three throws won the match.

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The Olympic flame is lit in a ritual at Olympia.

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The Olympic flame is lit in a ritual at Olympia.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:


Using a mirror to reflect the sun's rays, the Olympic flame is lit during a time-honored ritual at Olympia, where robed actresses play Greek priestesses. The flame ignites the torch of the first of many runners in a relay that is often thousands of miles long. 


The flame is carried by humans and can travel by car, plane, and horse until the final runner lights the cauldron at the opening ceremony. The tradition of the Olympic torch relay began in Berlin in 1936.

Who was the first Olympic gymnast to score a perfect 10? 

Who was the first Olympic gymnast to score a perfect 10? 

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Nadia Comaneci of Romania became the first gymnast in the history of the games to be awarded the perfect score of 10.0 for her performance on the uneven bars at the 1976 Montreal Games. The 14-year-old earned a perfect 10.0 six more times, taking home three golds, one silver, and one bronze. 


A 10 is no longer the top score in gymnastics, though; open-ended scoring was introduced in 2006.

“Whiff waff” and “flim flam” are alternate names for which sport?

“Whiff waff” and “flim flam” are alternate names for which sport?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Table tennis, which became an Olympic sport in 1988, is also known as ping pong, whiff waff, and flim flam.  Those names reflect the sound of the ball being struck and bouncing off the table. 

Since table tennis was introduced into the Olympics, China has dominated the game, winning 20 of the 24 available gold medals.

Which Olympian had polio as a child, losing the use of her left leg?

Which Olympian had polio as a child, losing the use of her left leg?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

The first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics, track star Wilma Rudolph contracted polio when she was a child. She got metal leg braces at age 6 after losing use of her left leg. After therapy and leg massages from her siblings, she was out of the braces by age 9. 


Rudolph won the 100-meter and 200-meter races and anchored her team to victory in the 4x100-meter relay at the 1960 Rome Games.

At the 1984 Olympics, this athlete won the same races as Jesse Owens:

At the 1984 Olympics, this athlete won the same races as Jesse Owens:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

At the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, Carl Lewis accomplished the same feat as his boyhood idol Jesse Owens by winning gold medals in the 100m, the 200m, the long jump, and the 4x100m relay. 


Lewis also earned gold in Seoul, Barcelona, and Atlanta. His success in the long jump made Lewis one of only three Olympians to win the same individual event four times. 


He ultimately took home nine gold medals.

Who competed in seven Olympic events in eight days and won each time?

Who competed in seven Olympic events in eight days and won each time?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Swimmer Mark Spitz had predicted he would win six gold medals at the 1968 Mexico City Games, but took home only two in relay events. Eager to make up for that performance, Spitz entered seven events in eight days at the 1972 Munich Games. He took home seven golds, setting a world record in each race. 


Spitz held the record for most gold medals won at a single Olympic Games for 36 years. It was finally broken by American phenomenon Michael Phelps, who won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Who is the oldest-ever competing Olympian? 

Who is the oldest-ever competing Olympian? 

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn was 60 when he won his first Olympic gold medal in 1908 in London. Four years later, he won a gold medal and a bronze medal in Stockholm. After World War I, Swahn competed in his last Olympic Games -- at age 72. That year, he took home a silver medal at the Antwerp Games.

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