Asad Khan introduced today’s guest speaker, Scott Cavendish, a fictional character in no way related to Todd Kamenash.  The comedic talents of Todd Kamenash had the entire room in stitches while he presented a brief history of the Olympics from 1896 through 2020 (even though they were played in 2021).
The first modern Olympics were held in 1896 in Athens, Greece and featured only 9 sports with 43 events and about 280 athletes, all male. In contrast, the 2020 Olympics featured 33 sports and over 11,000 athletes competing in 339 events. The Olympics have only been cancelled six times including 1916 Berlin, 1940 Tokyo and 1944 London due to wars. 2020 is the first year the games have been postponed.
This year’s Olympics cost over $20 billion to put on. Did you know the medals aren’t really made out of the metal they represent? A gold medal is only 5% gold, plated over silver and a bronze medal is made of copper and zinc.
In 2020 San Marino became the smallest country to win a gold medal after waiting 61 years to win one. The largest country to have never won a medal is Bangladesh with over 150M people. There are 72 other countries that have participated and never won a medal. Only two continents have never hosted the Olympic Games, Africa and Antarctica.
In 2020, the games included 18 new events that added 474 more athletes. The oldest Olympian competing this year is a 66 year female equestrian from Australia. The youngest athlete this year is a 12 year old Syrian table tennis player. The youngest American participating in 2020 is 15 year old Katie Grimes in swimming.
Todd featured local stories of Ohio athletes and those with connections to Kent Rotarians, including Joe Schroeder, a member of the men’s USA rugby team who is related to Bill Childers.
We also learned that Dr. Spock won a gold medal in 1924 in Paris for crew. Harold Sakata (Oddjob in James Bond film Goldfinger) won a silver medal in 1948 for weightlifting. General Patton competed in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics coming in 5th in pentathlon. Bob Anderson, the actor that played Darth Vader, competed as a British fencer in 1952.
Overall, team USA was successful this year with 66 women winning medals. Women made up 58% of the medals won by US athletes. The US has won the most medals in the last 7 consecutive games. The only sports in which the US has never won a medal are table tennis and handball. The US has hosted the Olympics 8 times.