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Updated: September 16, 1926
   An Olympic Language

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, was a Frenchman, and so French was the first official language of the Olympic Games. Today, French and English are the two official languages alongside the
language of the host country if different from either of them. All official announcements must be read out in French, English and the host country's language (if different from them). French and English are also the languages of the Olympics Charter (the guidelines on how the games are run). In the case of any discrepancies, French prevails!

   But did you know ... ?


The Olympic Games of 1908 were supposed to take place at Rome, but after Mount Vesuvius erupted, London came to the rescue!

The London 1908 Olympic Games marked the first time competitors marched into the stadium in their national teams.

In 1908 Great Britain won more medals than any other nation – 56 gold medals, 51 silver and 38 bronze.

In 1908 the Olympic marathon distance was fixed at 42km 195m (26 miles 385 yards). The last 195m was added so that the route would extend from Windsor Castle to the Royal Box at the Olympic Stadium.

In 1939, Britain was awarded the 1944 games, but these never took place due to WWII. The London Olympics eventually took place in 1948, after a 12-year hiatus caused by the war.

In July 2005 it was announced that London would be hosting the Olympic Games for the third time, after narrowly beating Paris for this honour. The third London Olympics will take place between 27 July and 12 August 2012.

The first of the modern Olympic Games was held in Athens, and the second in 1900 in Paris. In 1924 Paris held the summer games for the second time, and France was also host nation to the very first Winter Olympics which took place that same year in Chamonix. Since then, France has held the winter games twice: at
Grenoble in 1968 and Albertville in 1992.

Wenlock, one of the two London 2012 mascots, is named after Much Wenlock, a Shropshire village , where a Dr William Penny Brookes inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin. In 1890, De Coubertin was invited there to watch
the 'Much Wenlock Games' inspired by the Olympic Games of ancient Greece. The Much Wenlock Games are held annually to this day.

The mascot Mandeville: On the opening day of the 1948 London Olympics, Sir Ludwig Guttmann held a sports competition at Stoke Mandeville for WWII soldiers with spinal injuries. These were to become the
Paralympic Games and have inspired the 2012 mascot Mandeville.

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