83 (countries at the Summer Olympics in Rome in 1960)

The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius (at 1,281 meters or 10+3) in 1906 caused the Italian government to decline the offer of Rome hosting the Olympics in 1908.  Fifty four years (10+1) later Rome was given another chance and the eternal city hosted the Summer Olympics in 1960!  83 countries participated with 5,350 participants (4,738 men and 612 women).  With television, the whole world (10+7) could watch the athletic events where new world records and Olympic records were being set!

London ended up being the host of the Olympics in 1908, then 1948 and will again in 2012.  They are expecting 205 nations and having 300 events.  In 2012, there were will be hundreds (10+2) of statistics on each athlete and probably thousands (10+3) on the more famous ones.  The speed of the swimmers and sprinters will be measured to at least one hundredth of a second (10-2).  The distance of the runners will be carefully calculated to millimeters(10-3).

Each Olympics offers a chance to look at the best athletes in each field through the powers of 10 for both mental and physical endurance.  Each group of athletes is trying to achieve a different kind of number in the competition – gymnasts want high scores from the judges, long jumpers want the furthest distance, and sprinters want the shortest time.  All the athletes will be thinking of the goal of winning a gold medal at several powers of 10 – as individuals, their teams and their nations.

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