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The 2008 Olympics have come to a close. The host of this year’s games, Beijing, China, received the most gold medals with 51. The United States had 36. But when it came to total number of medals, China came in second with 100 to the United States’ 110.Although there were many talented Olympiads from the United States, one name in particular seemed to stand out at this year’s games – Michael Phelps. Phelps led the men’s swim team, winning eight gold medals and breaking Mark Spitz’s single-Games record. Phelps also broke the world record in four of his five individual swims and also set world marks on his three relay teams.So, it’s no surprise there is some similarity in the answers to this month’s Streetwise question. Read below to find out which Olympic events were the favorites of four Falconites.

Korey Klingenberg
Mostly swimming because of Michael Phelps.

Jennifer Bullock
Swimming, of course, men and women’s gymnastics; and my husband loves to watch the beach volleyball. He just gets so crazy and yells at the TV while they are playing.

Steve Krueger
The most exciting part is the swimming. We’ve also watched the gymnastics. We had fun with that. And we like to watch the volleyball. That was pretty interesting. And we had a brief glimpse at the sailing, which got us to thinking … how do they get the boats over there?

Rachel Morgan
Probably swimming because the Americans are doing the best in that.

Olympic Game HistoryOn April 6, 1896, the Olympic Games, a long-lost tradition of ancient Greece, were reborn in Athens 1,500 years after being banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I. At the opening of the Athens Games, King Georgios I of Greece and a crowd of 60,000 spectators welcomed athletes from 13 nations to the international competition.In Athens, 280 participants competed in 43 events, covering track-and-field, swimming, gymnastics, cycling, wrestling, weightlifting, fencing, shooting and tennis. All the competitors were men, and a few of the entrants were tourists who stumbled upon the Games and were allowed to sign up. The track and field events were held at the Panathenaic Stadium, which was originally built in 330 B.C. and restored for the 1896 Games. Americans won nine out of 12 of these events. The 1896 Olympics also featured the first marathon competition, which followed the 25-mile route run by a Greek soldier, who also brought news of a victory over the Persians from Marathon to Athens in 490 B.C. A Greek, Spyridon Louis, won the first marathon at the 1896 Athens Games. In 1924, the marathon was standardized at 26 miles and 385 yards.The first recorded Olympic Games were held at Olympia in the Greek city state of Elis in 776 B.C., but it is generally accepted that the Olympics were at least 500 years old at that time. The ancient Olympics, held every four years, occurred during a religious festival honoring the Greek god Zeus. In the eighth century B.C., contestants came from a dozen or more Greek cities and by the fifth century B.C. from as many as 100 cities from the Greek empire.Initially, Olympic competition was limited to foot races, but later a number of other events were added, including wrestling, boxing, horse and chariot racing and military competitions. The pentathlon, introduced in 708 B.C., consisted of a foot race, the long jump, discus and javelin throw, and wrestling. With the rise of Rome, the Olympics declined. In 393 A.D., the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, abolished the Games as part of his efforts to suppress paganism in the Roman Empire.With the Renaissance, Europe began a long fascination with ancient Greek culture, and in the 18th and 19th centuries, some nations staged informal sporting and folkloric festivals bearing the name “Olympic Games.” However, it was not until 1892 that a young French baron, Pierre de Coubertin, seriously proposed reviving the Olympics as a major international competition that would occur every four years. At a conference on international sport in Paris in June 1894, Coubertin again raised the idea, and the 79 delegates from nine countries unanimously approved his proposal. The International Olympic Committee was formed, and the first Games were planned for 1896 in Athens, the capital of Greece.Pierre de Coubertin became the IOC president in 1896 and guided the Olympic Games through its difficult early years, when it lacked much popular support and was overshadowed by worldwide fairs. In 1924, the first truly successful Olympic Games were held in Paris and involved more than 3,000 athletes, including more than 100 women, from 44 nations. The first Winter Olympic Games were also held that year.In 1925, Coubertin retired. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the foremost international sports competition. At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, more than 10,000 athletes from 200 countries competed, including nearly 4,000 women. In 2004, the Summer Olympics returned to Athens, with more than 11,000 athletes competing from 202 countries. In a proud moment for Greeks and an exciting one for spectators, the shot put competition was held at the site of the classical Games in Olympia.Source:

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