Category Archives: Sports

The “Ice Bowl”: One of NFL’s Most Historic Games

 

A victorious Vince Lombardi is held above Lambeau Stadium

A victorious Vince Lombardi is held above Lambeau Stadium

Fun Facts About NFL’s “Ice Bowl”

 

Where and When?

January 1, 1967 at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

What was the significance of the game?

This was the 1967 National Football League Championship Game.  The winner of this would go on to play the winner of the American Football League (AFL) in Super Bowl II.

What was the final score?

Packers, 21, Cowboys, 17

What 2 famous future NFL Hall of Fame coaches were pitted against each other?

Tom Landry (Cowboys) and Vince Lombardi (Packers)

The Two Star Quarterbacks:  "Dandy" Don Meredith and Bart Starr

The Two Star Quarterbacks: "Dandy" Don Meredith and Bart Starr

The game became known as the “Ice Bowl” because the field was a sheet of ice and the air temperature at game time was -13 Fahrenheit. What extraordinary measure had been used to try to keep the field playable?

Warming it with an underground electric heating grid.  Packer coach Vince Lombardi had purchased a system of heating coils that were implanted six inches under the field. The coils were intended to keep the ground warm enough to ward off freezing. In “When Pride Still Mattered,” a biography of Lombardi, author Dave Maraniss suggested that the problem came about because of the tarpaulin covering the field. The warm air under the tarp formed condensation, which froze immediately upon exposure to the extremely cold air.

How did Cowboy receiver Bob Hayes help the Packer defense throughout the game?

He kept his hands in his pants. Varying accounts exist of whether Hayes kept his hands in his pants only when the Cowboys were running the ball, or for all plays for which he wasn’t the receiver. But whatever the account, Hayes was the Cowboys’ best receiver, he frequently kept his hands in his pants, and this would let the Packer defense know they didn’t need to worry about him for the play.

How cold were conditions that day?

All of these (CBS sportscaster Frank Gifford said, “I think I’ll take another bite of my coffee”, An official tore the skin off his lip when his metal whistle froze to it, The halftime show was cancelled when the marching band scheduled to play found that its instruments were unplayable). After several officials had problems with their whistles, the officiating crew stopped using them and relied only on voice commands. At least Gifford was in a broadcast booth, and the halftime musicians got to go home early.

Which uncharacteristic miscues by the Packers led to the first 10 points for the Cowboys?

Fumbles. The warm-weather Cowboys eventually adjusted to the cold better than the Packers did. After Green Bay had built a 14-0 lead on two Bart Starr passes to Boyd Dowler, the Cowboys’ George Andrie recovered a Starr fumble and ran it seven yards for the Cowboys’ first touchdown. Later in the second quarter, the Packers’ Willie Wood fumbled a punt and the Cowboys recovered, leading to a field goal that sent them into the warm locker room at halftime trailing only 14-10.

How did Cowboys’ halfback Dan Reeves figure in the touchdown that put his team ahead 17-14?

He threw a pass for the touchdown. Reeves, later a successful NFL coach, threw a 50-yard halfback option pass to Lance Rentzel in the end zone, giving the Cowboys a 17-14 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.

A month after the game, Vince Lombardi announced his retirement from coaching, making this the last game he coached in Green Bay. For what Packer player was this the last game he played in Green Bay?

Fuzzy Thurston. After playing for two seasons for the Baltimore Colts, Thurston played the remainder of his NFL career from 1959-67, for Green Bay. Hornung was picked up from Green Bay by New Orleans in the 1967 expansion draft, but retired before ever playing for the Saints. Kramer and Starr retired from the Packers and the NFL in 1968 and 1971 respectively. Besides Thurston, this was also the last game in Green Bay for receiver Max McGee and kicker Don Chandler, two other players who played vital roles in the Packers’ title teams.

The Packers won the game on Bart Starr’s quarterback sneak. The play called in the huddle was “31 Wedge.” As the “31 Wedge” play was written, who was intended to carry the ball?

Chuck Mercein. The play was designed to be a handoff to Mercein. This is another moment from the Ice Bowl for which accounts differ as to what actually happened. David Maraniss writes in, “When Pride Still Mattered”, that Starr fearing Mercein slipping before he could take the ball, decided to keep the ball himself but didn’t tell anyone else. Accounts by Jerry Kramer and others described Starr announcing a quarterback sneak in the huddle. No matter what though, as written in the Packers’ playbook, the “31 Wedge” play was designed to be a handoff to the fullback, who on that play was Mercein.

In the famous photograph of Bart Starr’s winning touchdown, Chuck Mercein can be seen with both hands in the air. He later said that he was not signaling a touchdown. Why did he say his hands were in the air?

To show that he did not push Starr. It would have been illegal to assist Starr by pushing him, so Mercein threw his hands in the air as if to say “look ref, no hands!”

What was later shown to have happened on Starr’s touchdown that could have changed the game’s outcome?

Jerry Kramer was offside. In a frame by frame analysis of that play, Kramer can be seen lifting his hand while the ball remains on the ground awaiting the snap. Even Kramer wrote “I wouldn’t swear that I wasn’t actually offside on the play.” Many Packer fans argue though that Donnie Anderson made it into the end zone on the previous play (the officials spotted the ball about two feet outside the end zone though). In fact, Jethro Pugh, the Cowboy blocked to make room for Starr’s score, supported this theory, saying that most of the Cowboys thought Anderson had scored.

The dramatic ending of the game helped provide the name of the book that Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap wrote, based on Kramer’s diary of the season. What was the book’s title?

Instant Replay. The replays of Starr’s touchdown, and of Kramer’s block on the play, helped make Kramer much more of a celebrity than linemen usually get to be. “Instant Replay” was released the following year and became one of the best-selling sports books in history. In the locker room after the game, Kramer dissuaded center Ken Bowman, also instrumental in the block, from joining him on camera for a television interview. Kramer argued that he was old and that Bowman’s day of glory would come. Little did Bowman realize how rare such recognition is for a center, or that after that season’s Super Bowl, he would play in exactly one more playoff game in his career.

VIDEO:  The Story of the Ice Bowl

Special thanks to funtrivia.com and wikipedia.com

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Ice Hockey and The Stanley Cup: Canada’s Official Sport and the Game’s Ultimate Prize

Modern-day Ice Hockey

Modern-day Ice Hockey

Fun Facts About Ice Hockey and The Stanley Cup

The Origin of Hockey

Ancient hockeyHockey has been played in some form or other for 100s of years. It is thought to be 1 of the earliest sports in the world, and was played by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, and Arabs.

Hurling, a sport very similar to hockey, is known to have been played during the first millennium BC in Ireland, and other similar types of sports were adopted by other Europeans in the Middle Ages (5th century to 15th century). In pre-Columbian times (before the 16th century) Native South Americans also played a game much the same as hockey. The name hockey, thought to have been adapted by the English from the French word hoquet (shepherd’s crook), was 1st given to the sport in the eighteenth century but was not in common usage until the nineteenth century.

Ice Hockey

The modern game of ice hockey was invented in the mid-1850´s by British soldiers based in Canada. Rules were set by students at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, in 1879, and many amateur clubs and leagues were organized in Canada by the late 1880´s. The game is believed to have been 1st played in the USA in 1893. By the beginning of the twentieth century the sport had spread to England and other parts of Europe. The modern game developed in Canada, and nowadays is very popular in North America and East Europe.

The NHL is the most important league in the world; this National Hockey League comprises teams from the United States and Canada, but for many years almost all NHL players Canadians. The winning team of this competition is awarded the Stanley Cup trophy. Ice Hockey became an Olympic sport in 1920 and is 1 of the most popular events at the Winter Olympics.

The Stanley Cup

“I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup, which would be held from year to year by the leading hockey club in Canada. There does not appear to be any outward sign of a championship at present, and considering the interest that hockey matches now elicit, I am willing to give a cup which shall be held annually by the winning club.”

So mused Lord Stanley of Preston in 1892, at a sports banquet in Ottawa. The following year Canada’s governor-general was true to his word, purchasing a silver bowl for $50 and naming it the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. Hockey folks went with a less formal designation, the Stanley Cup.

The first winner was a Montreal team that finished atop the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada, considered the best league going at the time. But in its early years, the prize was not exclusive to one hockey league, nor was it meant to be. It was a challenge cup, changing hands in much the same way as a boxing title. Contenders issued challenges, and the champions held the Cup for as long as they could fend off all comers. Independent trustees ensured that legitimate challenges were met on a regular basis.

In later years, as professionalism swept the game, it was accepted that the Stanley Cup could not remain exclusive to amateur teams. The Stanley Cup officially turned pro in 1910, when the National Hockey Association took possession of it. But it was not until 1926 that the National Hockey League emerged indisputably as the top league in North America, effectively taking control of the Cup. That control was formalized in an agreement signed with the Cup trustees in 1947.

Special thanks to CollegeSportsScholarships.com and About.com

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Howard Cosell: One-time Lawyer Turned Sportscasting Legend

Howard Cosell

Howard Cosell

Fun Facts About Howard Cosell

  • Howard Cosell was a legendary American sports journalist, who actually made sports speak. A lawyer by profession but a sports journalist by choice, Howard Williams Cosell was born on 25th March, 1918. For Howard, Jackie Robinson was the major source of inspiration.
  • He was born in North Carolina but grew up in Brooklyn. Very early in his life his parents, mother Nellie and father Isidore, made it very clear to him that they want him to be a lawyer later in his life. For achieving the same goal, he first graduated in English from New York University. After getting his degree in English, he attended the School of Law at the University of New York and eventually earned his degree.
  • In 1941, Cosell joined the state bar of New York. When the United States of America fought during World War II, he joined the Army Transportation Corp. While there, Cosell was quickly promoted to the grade of Major. At that point, Cosell was the youngest cadet to become a major. Soon after the conclusion of the war, Cosell decided to practice law. He chose Manhattan to begin a practice in Union Law, and among the list of his clients were very famous actors and sportspeople, such as Willie Mays.
  • He soon came to realize that his true calling in life was sports commentary after hosting the Little League for over 3 years and he decided to leave Law for once and for all by pursuing broadcasting as a career.
  • Cosell with Muhammad Ali
    Cosell with Muhammad Ali

    He was asked by Robert Pauley to get sponsorship if he wanted a show weekly on ABC Radio. He surprised Pauley by getting sponsorship from his relative and Pauley gave him a show. In time, he would become a prominent personality on television, yet he never stopped working on radio. His popularity reached its zenith when he covered Muhammad Ali. Cosell was famous for narrating the facts ‘As it is like’ and his sense of style and facts actually changed the entire sports broadcasting industry. Unlike other reporters, Howard always involved a bit of intellectualism in his commentary and thus was able to give his personal analysis on the game instantly.

  • In 1970, the executive producer of ABC Sports hired Cosell a a commentator for Monday Night Football. Above and beyond Monday Night Football, Howard was also one of the commentators when ABC broadcast the Olympics. Cosell lent his voice to many other sports related shows on ABC. His colorful aura and idiosyncratic voice, is known, admired and remembered even today.
  • After a 14 year run, Howard Cosell retired from “Monday Night Football” on December 14th, 1984.
  • He got married in 1944 to Mary Abrams. Mary died in 1990 and Howard after the demise of his beloved wife, was seen only a few times in public. After 4 years, in 1995 Cosell also died due to heart embolism.

Special thanks to www.livetvcenter.com

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Chewing Gum: Food, Fad and Fashion for Over 9000 Years

Gumballs

Fun Facts About Chewing Gum

  • Chewing gum is some kind of flavored and sweetened rubber material for chewing.

  • Chewing gum is the world’s most common habit. This habit dates back to ancient times.
  • The world’s oldest piece of chewing gum is 9000 years old! Recently archaeologists found three wads of 9000 year old chewed birch resin on the Swedish island of Orust. After detailed examination by dental experts, they concluded that this piece of resin was chewed by young person (a caveman teenager).
  • The first commercial chewing gum was made and sold in 1848. by John Bacon Curtis. He called his chewing gum the State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum. John B. Curtis and his brother (to some sources John B. Curtis and his father John Curtis) came up with the practical idea of how to make and sell spruce gum as a chewing gum. They experimented with spruce tree resin and made a sticky, rubbery material which could be chewed. Then they added flavor to the gum and paraffin for soft and rubbery feel.
  • On July 27, 1869, Amos Tyler received the first patent in the United States for chewing gum. However, Tyler never sold his gum commercially.
  • An Ohio dentist, William Finley Semple was honored for this work using the first patent to manufacture chewing gum from December 1869. Main ingredients in Semple’s gum formula were charcoal and chalk.
    William Finley Semple, 1889 - 1969
    William Finley Semple, 1889 – 1969
  • In 1869, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna told his idea of chicle to Thomas Adams. Adams tried to make toys, masks, and rain boots out of chicle, but neither of his products were commercially successful. In 1869 he simply added flavor to the chicle! That was the first step for creating world’s first modern chewing gum! The first mass marketed chewing gum was called Adams New York Chewing Gum. In the 1870s, Adams & Sons sold “Sour Orange” flavored gum as an after dinner candy. In 1871 Thomas Adams patented a machine for the manufacture of gum. That year Adams created a licorice-flavored gum called Black Jack. However, all the these gums had one big problem, they could not hold flavor.
  • The problem with holding flavor was not fixed until 1880, when William White combined sugar and corn syrup with chicle. For better taste he added peppermint extract. He found out, that peppermint stayed in the gum during chewing for much longer than other flavors. He called his first peppermint flavored gum Yucatan gum.
  • The Fleer Brothers first gum invention:  Chiclets
    The Fleer Brothers first gum invention: Chiclets

    In 1880, Henry and Frank Fleer experimented with chicle from sapodilla tree. Fleer brothers made cubes of the chicle substance and overlayed the cubes with sweet material. They called their invention “Chiclets”.

  • Frank Fleer was also the inventor of the world’s first bubble gum called Blibber-Blubber gum. However, that gum was too sticky to enjoy, and never sold well.
  • In 1888, Thomas Adams’ chewing gum, Tutti-Frutti, was the first chewing gum that was sold from a vending machine. The very first chewing gum vending machine was located in one of the New York City subway stations.
  • 1891 William Wrigley Jr founded Wrigley Chewing Gum. Existing companies offered similar products that were much more popular, than gums from Wrigley’s. One day in 1892, Mr. Wrigley got the idea of offering two packages of chewing gum with each can of baking powder. This offer was a huge success! His first two brands were Lotta and Vassar. Juicy Fruit gum came next in 1893, and Wrigley’s Spearmint was introduced later that same year.
  • Wrigley's Doublemint Gum:  a Wrigley/Fleer collaboration
    Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum: a Wrigley/Fleer collaboration

    In 1914 William Wrigley and Henry Fleer added mint and fruit extracts to a chewing gum with chicle. This is how Wrigley’s Doublemint, popular brand was created. The Wrigley Company was rapidly becoming an international success. Wrigley brands became known the world over. The first factories were established in United States and soon. Wrigley’s Doublemint factories were established in Canada (1910), Australia (1915), Great Britain (1927) and New Zealand (1939).

Double Bubble Logo

Fleer spinoff: Double Bubble

  • In 1928, an accountant for the Fleer gum company Walter Diemer attempted to make a new rubber product, but he accidentally founded bubble gum, that was not sticky. He called it Double Bubble. Double Bubble this gum was based on original Frank Fleer formula.
  • In 1951, the Topps Company reinvented the popularity of bubble gum by adding baseball cards to a package, replacing their previous gift of a single cigarette. Children and parents loved this.
  • Some sources indicate that today there are 115 companies that are manufacturing chewing gum, located in 30 countries (41 of them in the United States only!). In many stores that sell chewing gum, you can find more than 30 different brands of it!

  • More than 100,000 tons of chewing gum is consumed every year.
  • Every year over 374 trillion sticks of chewing gum are made.
  • The average person chews over 300 sticks of gum each year!
  • In the next 5 years, over 1 million metric tones of chewing gum will be produced.
  • The Chewing Gum Industry is profitable market. The world’s chewing gum industry is estimated to be worth approximately US $19 billion.
  • Assuming each piece of gum is chewed for 30 minutes, that is 187 billion hours of gum-chewing per year.
  • In the beginning, chewing gums were made only by hand! Today almost all gum is made by machine.
  • Most chewing gum is purchased between Halloween and Christmas.
  • Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.
  • Humans are the only animals on earth that chew gum.
  • Even astronauts chew chewing gum! Only problem is disposal… so they have to swallow them…
  • The bubble gum art of Maurizio Savini
    The bubble gum art of Maurizio Savini

    Over the last 10 years, Maurizio Savini, an Italian artist, has been creating sculptures using thousands of pieces of chewing gum!

  • Today almost 35% of chewing gum is manufactured by Wrigley Company.
  • Chewing gum stays in stomach usually a day or two after we eat it – not seven years as you may have heard.
  • When children swallow gum one of the biggest dangers is the risk of choking. Children under the age of six should not be given chewing gum (especially no bubble gum).
  • Many dentists now widely recommend chewing sugar free gum to their patients.

 

Special thanks to www.chewinggumfacts.com

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The Cincinnati Red Stockings: Baseball’s First Professional Team

The Cincinnati Red Stockings, 1869

The Cincinnati Red Stockings, 1869

Fun Facts About the Cincinnati Red Stockings


  • The team was organized by businessman, Harry Wright, who also played center field for the team and managed the defensive positioning, which was something that typically wasn’t done at that time.
  • The team got their name from their uniform, consisting of knickerbockers with flashy crimson hosiery.
  • Harry Wright’s younger brother George Wright, played shortstop for the Cincinnati red-stockings and later the Boston Red Stockings. He is reputed to have been the best player of that era.
  • The Red Stockings featured ten men on salary for eight months from March 15th to November 15th.
  • The Cincinnati Red Stockings won their first game on May 4th, 1869 by a score of 45-9. They then went on to go 57-1 (wins-tie), touring the U.S. playing teams from Boston to San Francisco, something that had not been done before.
  • The following year, they won another 24 straight games before finally losing 8-7 in 11 innings against the Brooklyn Atlantics on June 14th. After their first loss, attendance declined substantially and they were disbanded the following year despite only losing 6 games all season.
  • After the Cincinnati Red Stockings were disbanded as a professional club, Harry Wright was hired by Ivers Whitney Adams to organize a new professional club in Boston with the first professional league. In 1871, he then put together the Boston Red Stockings, bringing over three of the members of the former Cincinnati Red Stockings.
  • The Cincinnati Red Stockings have no connection with the 1876-1880 and 1882-present day Cincinnati Reds other than being from the same town and inspiring those club’s names.
  • The Boston Red Stockings eventually became the Boston Braves, which are now the Atlanta Braves. The Boston Red Sox were not established until 1901.
  • The Cincinnati Red Stockings continue today as a vintage baseball team, playing the game of baseball as it was back in 1869: rules, uniforms, etc.

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The Olympics: The Thrills of Victory, the Splendor of Pageantry and the Pride of Nations

The Olympic Flame burns brightly during the Opening Cermony

The Olympic Flame burns brightly during the Opening Ceremony

Fun Facts About the Olympics

 

  • The early Olympic Games were celebrated as a religious festival from 776 B.C. until 393 A.D., when the games were banned for being a pagan festival (the Olympics celebrated the Greek god Zeus).
  • In 1894, a French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin, proposed a revival of the ancient tradition, and thus the modern-day Olympic Summer Games were born.
  • Opening day of the first modern Olympic Games was in Athens, Greece on April 5th, 1896.
  • Women were first allowed to participate in 1900 at the second modern Olympic Games.
  • The first opening ceremonies were held during the 1908 Olympic Games in London.
  • During the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, the procession of athletes is always led by the Greek team, followed by all the other teams in alphabetical order (in the language of the hosting country), except for the last team which is always the team of the hosting country.
  • Created by Pierre de Coubertin in 1914, the Olympic flag contains five interconnected rings on a white background.

    The Olympic Flag

    The Olympic Flag

  • The five Olympic rings represent the five major regions of the world – Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceana, and every national flag in the world includes one of the five colors, which are (from left to right) blue, yellow, black, green, and red. The colors of the rings were chosen because at least one of them appeared on the flag of every country in the world.
  • The Olympic flag was first flown during the 1920 Olympic Games.
  • In 1921, Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games, borrowed a Latin phrase from his friend, Father Henri Didon, for the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius (“Swifter, Higher, Stronger”) to be used as the Olympic motto.,
  • Pierre de Coubertin wrote an oath for the athletes to recite at each Olympic Games. During the opening ceremonies, one athlete recites the oath on behalf of all the athletes. The Olympic oath was first taken during the 1920 Olympic Games by Belgian fencer Victor Boin.
  • The Olympic Oath states, “In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.”
  • Pierre de Coubertin got the idea for the Olympic Creed from a speech given by Bishop Ethelbert Talbot at a service for Olympic champions during the 1908 Olympic Games. The Creed reads: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
  • The Olympic flame is a practice continued from the ancient Olympic Games. In Olympia (Greece), a flame was ignited by the sun and then kept burning until the closing of the Olympic Games.

    The ceremonial lighting of the Olympic Flame

    The ceremonial lighting of the Olympic Flame

  • The flame first appeared in the modern Olympics at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam.
  • The flame itself represents a number of things, including purity and the endeavor for perfection.
  • In 1936, the chairman of the organizing committee for the 1936 Olympic Games, Carl Diem, suggested what is now the modern Olympic Torch relay. The Olympic flame is lit at the ancient site of Olympia by women wearing ancient-style robes and using a curved mirror and the sun. The Olympic Torch is then passed from runner to runner from the ancient site of Olympia to the Olympic stadium in the hosting city. The flame is then kept alight until the Games have concluded. The Olympic Torch relay represents a continuation from the ancient Olympic Games to the modern Olympics.
  • The Olympic Hymn, played when the Olympic Flag is raised, was composed by Spyros Samaras and the words added by Kostis Palamas. The Olympic Hymn was first played at the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens but wasn’t declared the official hymn by the IOC until 1957.
  • The last Olympic gold medals that were made entirely out of gold were awarded in 1912.
  • The Olympic medals are designed especially for each individual Olympic Games by the host city’s organizing committee. Each medal must be at least three millimeters thick and 60 millimeters in diameter. Also, the gold and silver Olympic medals must be made out of 92.5 percent silver, with the gold medal covered in six grams of gold.
  • Host Greece won the most medals (47) at the first Olympic Summer Games in 1896.
  • James B. Connolly (United States), winner of the hop, step, and jump (the first final event in the 1896 Olympics), was the first Olympic champion of the modern Olympic Games.
  • The winter Olympic Games were first held in 1924 (in Chamonix, France), beginning a tradition of holding them a few months earlier and in a different city than the summer Olympic Games.
  • Beginning in 1994, the winter Olympic Games were held in completely different years (two years apart) than the summer Games.
  • Norway has won the most medals (263) at the Winter Games.
  • The United States has won more medals (2,189) at the Summer Games than any other country.
  • Up until 1994 the Olympics were held every four years. Since then, the Winter and Summer games have alternated every two years.
  • The first Olympics covered by U.S. television was the 1960 Summer Games in Rome by CBS.
  • No country in the Southern Hemisphere has ever hosted a Winter Games.
  • Three continents – Africa, South America, and Antarctica – have never hosted an Olympics.
  • A record 202 countries participated in the 2004 Olympic Summer Games in Athens.
  • Only four athletes have ever won medals at both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games: Eddie Eagan (United States), Jacob Tullin Thams (Norway), Christa Luding-Rothenburger (East Germany), and Clara Hughes (Canada).
  • Speed skater Bonnie Blair has won six medals at the Olympic Winter Games. That’s more than any other American athlete.
  • Nobody has won more medals at the Winter Games than cross-country skier Bjorn Dählie of Norway, who has 12.
  • Larrisa Latynina, a gymnast from the former Soviet Union, finished her Summer Olympic Games career with 18 total medals—the most in history.
  • In order to make the IOC an independent organization, the members of the IOC are not considered diplomats from their countries to the IOC, but rather are diplomats from the IOC to their respective countries.
  • When choosing locations for the Olympic Games, the IOC specifically gives the honor of holding the Games to a city rather than a country.
  • The United States Olympic Committee established the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983 to recognize outstanding American Olympic athletes, however, a plan to build a hall has been suspended due to lack of funding.
  • The first marathon: In 490 BCE, Pheidippides, a Greek soldier, ran from Marathon to Athens (about 25 miles) to inform the Athenians the outcome of the battle with invading Persians. The distance was filled with hills and other obstacles; thus Pheidippides arrived in Athens exhausted and with bleeding feet. After telling the townspeople of the Greeks’ success in the battle, Pheidippides fell to the ground dead. In 1896, at the first modern Olympic Games, held a race of approximately the same length in commemoration of Pheidippides.
  • During the first several modern Olympics, the marathon was always an approximate distance. In 1908, the British royal family requested that the marathon start at the Windsor Castle so that the royal children could witness its start. The distance from the Windsor Castle to the Olympic Stadium was 42,195 meters (or 26 miles and 385 yards). In 1924, this distance became the standardized length of a marathon.
  • Because of World War I and World War II, there were no Olympic Games in 1916, 1940, or 1944.
  • Tennis was played at the Olympics until 1924, then re-instituted in 1988.
  • In 1960, the Winter Olympic Games were held in Squaw Valley, California (United States). In order to bedazzle and impress the spectators, Walt Disney was head of the committee that organized the opening day ceremonies. The 1960 Winter Games Opening Ceremony was filled with high school choirs and bands, releasing of thousands of balloons, fireworks, ice statues, releasing of 2,000 white doves, and national flags dropped by parachute.
  • Though Russia had sent a few athletes to compete in the 1908 and 1912 Olympic Games, they did not compete again until the 1952 Games.
  • Motor boating was an official sport at the 1908 Olympics.
  • Polo was played at the Olympics in 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924, and 1936.
  • The word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek root “gymnos” meaning nude; the literal meaning of “gymnasium” is “school for naked exercise.” Athletes in the ancient Olympic Games would participate in the nude.
  • The first recorded ancient Olympic Games were held in 776 BCE with only one event – the stade. The stade was a unit of measurement (about 600 feet) that also became the name of the footrace because it was the distance run. Since the track for the stade (race) was a stade (length), the location of the race became the stadium.
  • An Olympiad is a period of four successive years. The Olympic Games celebrate each Olympiad. For the modern Olympic Games, the first Olympiad celebration was in 1896. Every four years celebrates another Olympiad; thus, even the Games that were cancelled (1916, 1940, and 1944) count as Olympiads. The 2004 Olympic Games in Athens was called the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad.
  • The Summer Olympic sports are archery, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, canoe / kayak, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, gymnastics, handball, judo, modern pentathlon (shooting, fencing, swimming, show jumping, and running), mountain biking, rowing, sailing, shooting, soccer, swimming, synchronized swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, track and field, triathlon (swimming, biking, running), volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, and wrestling.
  • The Winter Olympic sports are alpine skiing, biathlon (cross-country skiing and target shooting), bobsled, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hocky, luge, Nordic combined (ski jumping and cross-country skiing), skeleton, ski jumping, snowboarding, and speed skating.

VIDEO:  “The Olympic Hymn” by Spyros Samaras

VIDEO:  “The Olympic Anthem”, a.k.a, “Bugler’s Dream” by Leo Arnaud

Special thanks to www.factmonster.com and www.about.com

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Parachuting and Skydiving: Thrills, Chills and One Big Adrenaline Rush

 

Amazing Facts About Parachuting and Skydiving

  • DaVinci sketched the design for the first parachute in 1485

    Leonardo DaVinci's Original Parachute Design

    Arian Nicholas' jump in DaVinci replica chute

  • Leslie Irvin made the first parachute jump and free-fall on April 19th, 1919
  • On June 26, 2000–over 500 years later , Adrian Nicholas jumped an exact replica of it…and it worked!
  • The replica chute was built under the watchful eye of Dr. Martin Kemp, a Oxford University DaVinci expert. It was made of wood, canvas and rope. Its weight was 187 pounds. it was jumped from a balloon at 10,000 feet. Nicholas road it to 7,000 feet when he cut away from it and used a traditional parachute for landing.
  • Benjamin Franklin, an early proponent of airborne warfare, while serving in Paris, was so enthused by the success of hot air balloons in 1784 that he posed this interesting military question. “Where is the prince who can afford to cover his country with troops for its defense as that ten thousand men descend from the clouds might not in many places do an infinite deal of mischief?”. He was to describe what Airborne is all about….back in 1784.
  • The first proposed plan to drop the U.S. 1st Infantry Division from a Handley-Page Bomber on the German controlled city of Metz was devised by a young officer on General Billy Mitchell’s staff named Lewis H. Brereton . He presented the plan to General Billy Mitchell who supported it and took it to General “Black Jack” Pershing. The time was October 1918 and the armistice was less then 3 weeks away. General Pershing shelved the idea. The 1st Infantry was to be the first to use Airborne!
  • “Phantom” Airborne Divisions of WWII. These are official U.S. Army Airborne Divisions that existed on paper. They had personnel wear these patches around and in towns. The object was to convince the spies in England that the American had had more Airborne Divisions than they really had. It worked.

    6th Airborne

    6th Airborne

    9th Airborne

    9th Airborne

    18th Airborne

    18th Airborne

    21st Airborne

    21st Airborne

    135th Airborne

    135th Airborne

  • The highest parachute jump was from the very edge of space itself, almost 102, 800 feet above the earth. This drop included a free fall lasting more than an incredible 4 1/2 minutes, during which Captain Kittinger reached a falling speed of 714 miles per hour before his parachute finally opened at 18,000 feet.
  • The lowest parachute use was submerged 10-20 feet. A British navy flyer, LT. Bruce Mackfarlane had an engine failure on takeoff, leading to an immediate ditching off the carrier HMS Albion. Surprisingly, he survived the water impact and was coherent enough to clearly recall seeing the water close over the canopy, and begin to darken as the aircraft began to descend into the depths. His training instincts took over and he yanked the canopy jettison handle with his left hand, and immediately fired the seat with his right. At this point, his memory becomes understandably blurred, but he recalls tumbling free of the seat, still underwater. He had the presence of mind to release his chute and activate his life vest. (He surfaced aft of the carrier, almost directly under the ‘Angel’ rescue helo, which had moved into a hover over the disturbance in the water from his aircraft splash. The helo crew reported seeing his aircraft pass in two pieces along either side of the hull of the carrier. This indicates that if the pilot had delayed his attempt to escape a few seconds later, he would likely have been killed when the bow of the ship sliced his bird in half. LT Mackfarlane is not the only aviator to have such an experience.
  • The lowest recorded combat jump is the German paratroopers (Fallschirmjager) when then jumping into Crete (WWII). The Fallschirmjager jumped from 250 feet.
  • The lowest mass tactical jump was performed by the 1st Battalion (ABN), 509th Infantry executed the lowest altitude mass parachute jump in history exiting the aircraft a 143 feet in England during June 1942 rehearsals.
  • The longest combat airborne operation: 1-509th spearheaded the Allied invasion of North Africa. The longest Airborne operation occurred 8 November 1942. After a C-47 flight of over 1600 miles from England, the battalion seized Tafarquay Airport in Oran.
  • The most jumps made by one person in a single 24 hour period was by Michael Zang. Mr. Zang broke the world record on 20 May 2001 at 1705 hours (5.:05pm) by completing 500 jumps in 24 hours. That is 21 jumps per hour or one jump every 2:45 minutes from 2100 feet. Mike did this event to get money for children in his program called JUMP4KIDS.
  • To show that anyone from any age can sky dive, a 92 year old man sporting artificial knees did a solo jump in Cleveland, Ohio. He weighed a mere 105 pounds, had fake knees, and a hearing aid. He leaped at 3,500 feet. The oldest tandem skydiving jumper was a 100 year old in October 1999. A woman at the age of 90 wanted to dive for her birthday to prove that age is just a number. She jumped from 12,000 feet.
  • The largest formation of jumpers took place on 6 February 2004, Takhli, Thailand 357-way – was completed on the 7th attempt of jumping and flew for exactly 6 seconds.
  • Four-year-old skydiver: in a leap into the record books, four-year-old Toni Stadler became the youngest person to skydive! The tandem parachute jump took place at the Cape Parachute Club, 25 miles north of Cape Town, South Africa, on Oct. 27, just five days before Toni’s fifth birthday. The youngster was strapped to jumpmaster Paul Lutge’s chest as they leaped out of their single-engine plane 10,000 feet above the earth, freefalling for half a minute before opening the parachute.
  • You don’t have to worry about the free fall creating that “heart attack-inducing” roller coaster drop feeling. The feeling is actually one similar to floating and the air resistance creates a degree of support. Free falling is like a human being taking flight. The air flow is constant and allows for aerial maneuvers that are a lot of fun.
  • Approximately 2 million parachute jumps occur annually. The average number of fatalities is 35 and that is less than 1% of the jumps that take place.
  • There is really no age requirement, but it is suggested that individuals be around the age of 18. It is also important that the sky diver is in reasonably good health.
  • The jolt by the parachute is not painful and you can use the parachute controls to steer it to your desired landing spot. That way, if you somehow get off course, you can put yourself back on course.
  • The landing is a soft landing. You gently land on your feet and step like you’re stepping off of a curb.
  • It takes about 10 to 15 jumps before a student can jump without their instructor. Some may require more jumps than that before they are secure enough to take on the sky solo.
Special thanks to www.parachuting.com and www.beembee.com

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