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First Olympics Flag Went Missing For 77 Years And You'll Go Mad After Knowing The End

Pranks are funny, right? But what if someone does a prank on you and never reveal it. How awesome would that be? Or not if you don't like pranks. 

Well, this guy, Hal Haig Prieste played a prank on International Olympics Committee in 1920, and they didn't even know who did that to them. This prank can even be considered as one of the best and longest-lasting one in the history of pranks.

So, how was this prank played? 

From the title, it is clear that I'm talking about the Olympics flag which went missing. Let's open the history books and find out.

First Olympics Flag Went Missing For 77 Years And You'll Go Mad After Knowing The End

First Olympics Flag Went Missing For 77 Years And You'll Go Mad After Knowing The End

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  in History & Culture

This is how it started.

This is how it started.

The Summer Olympics were being held in Belgium in the city of Antwerp. At the end of the Olympics Games, the flag suddenly went missing.

Fast forward to 1997.

Fast forward to 1997.

At a U.S. Olympics Committee banquet, a reporter was interviewing a long-retired athlete named Hal Haig Prieste about the 1920 Games. Prieste was 100 or 101 years old at the time of the banquet and was reminiscing about his time as an Olympian when the reporter told him that the original flag went missing at the Games he participated in 77 years earlier. 

During the interview, the reporter happened to mention the missing flag to Prieste, who then shocked everyone by stating, "I can help you with that. It's in my suitcase."

During the interview, the reporter happened to mention the missing flag to Prieste, who then shocked everyone by stating, “I can help you with that. It’s in my suitcase.”

On further asking, Prieste revealed the whole story behind the missing flag.

It all started when Prieste - a platform diver took the dare.

It all started when Prieste - a platform diver took the dare.

Challenged by his friend - the swimmer Duke Kahanamoku, Prieste climbed up a 15-foot flagpole at the end of the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, and stole the official flag.

He then folded it and put it in the bottom of his suitcases, where it remained some 77 years until he decided to reveal he had it at the dinner.

In the above image, you can see Duke Kahanamoku - The gold medal winner in the 100-meter freestyle and, later, the man generally credited with popularizing surfing.

On asking why he finally revealed this.

On asking why he finally revealed this.

He said, "I thought I ain't going to be around much longer – it's no good in a suitcase… I won't be able to hang it up in my room."


When told that he would be giving the flag to Juan Antonio Samaranch, the I.O.C. president.

When told that he would be giving the flag to Juan Antonio Samaranch, the I.O.C. president.

He said, "'I ain't going to be around long. I had it a long time. A lot of my friends have seen it. You can't be selfish about these things. It's no good to me. I can't hang it in my room. People will think more of me by giving it away than by keeping it.''

Prieste returned the flag to the International Olympics Committee (IOC) three years later during the 2000 Olympics. Prieste and flag both were in good shape during that time. 

IOC also gave Prieste a plaque thanking him for "donating" the flag that he had stolen from them all those years ago.

Finally in 2001, Prieste died.

Finally in 2001, Prieste died.

And the world will never forget this Olympian.

Source: New York Times, Now I Know

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