10 Things You May Not Know About the Winter Olympics

10 Things You May Not Know About the Winter Olympics

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1. Denver won—then rejected—the 1976 Winter Olympics.

In 1970, the International Olympic Committee selected Denver over three other candidates—Sion, Switzerland; Tampere, Finland and Vancouver, Canada—to host the 1976 Winter Olympics. As the projected costs and environmental impacts of the Olympics began to grow, however, so did public opposition. On Election Day in 1972, as President Richard Nixon swept to re-election, Colorado voters rejected a $5 million state bond issue to help pay for the Games. A week later, Denver stepped down as host of the Games, which were switched to Innsbruck, Austria, host city of the 1964 Winter Olympics.

2. Figure skating and ice hockey were originally part of the Summer Olympics.

Two of the most popular sports on ice actually made their Olympic debuts during the Summer Games, albeit at more seasonable times of the year. Back when Olympic programs stretched over the course of months, men’s, women’s and pairs figure skating were first held in October 1908 at the London Summer Games. Figure skating returned along with ice hockey in April 1920 as part of the Summer Olympics program in Antwerp. Both sports shifted to the Winter Olympics when they debuted in 1924.

3. Horses and dogs once participated in the Winter Games.

While equestrian events have been a long-time staple of the Summer Olympics, horses were also present at the 1928 Winter Games in the skijoring event in which competitors on skis raced each other as they were towed by riderless horses. Skijoring was a demonstration sport, so no medals were awarded, and the sport never returned to the Olympics. Canines, however, appeared during the 1932 Lake Placid Winter Games as part of the demonstration sport of sled dog racing.

4. A lack of snow required military intervention in 1964.

While much coverage has been given to the anomaly of holding the Winter Olympics in the subtropical resort city of Sochi, Russia, a lack of snow in normally frosty Innsbruck threatened the 1964 Games. Called to action, the Austrian army scaled nearby snow-capped mountains and carted more than 50,000 cubic yards of snow to the ski courses and 20,000 blocks of ice to the luge and bobsled tracks. The soldiers packed down the snow and ice with their hands and feet. (During the 1928 St. Moritz Winter Games, a freak heat spell drove temperatures up over 70 degrees by the end of the 50-kilometer cross-country race.)

5. Only one country has ever boycotted a Winter Olympics.

While the Summer Olympics was plagued by political boycotts during the Cold War, the same was not true of the Winter Games. However, Taiwan refused to participate in the 1980 Lake Placid Games after the International Olympic Committee prohibited it from being called the Republic of China in order to placate the People’s Republic of China, which was returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1952.

6. West and East Germany competed together on three occasions.

The two countries on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain competed together as the Unified Team of Germany in both the Winter and Summer Games in 1956, 1960 and 1964.

7. Norway has captured more gold than any other country.

Although it is a country of just five million people, a similar population to Colorado, Norway entered the Sochi Games with a record avalanche of 107 gold medals and 303 total medals. It is one of only three countries—including Austria and Liechtenstein—that has won more medals in the Winter Games than in the Summer Olympics.

8. Only one person has ever won gold in both the Winter and Summer Olympics.

American Eddie Eagan captured gold in the light-heavyweight boxing event at the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games, and a dozen years later he was a member of the four-man bobsled team that won at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Norway’s Jacob Tullin Thams, East Germany’s Christa Luding-Rothenburger and Canada’s Clara Hughes are the other three athletes to win medals in different sports in the Winter and Summer Olympics. Luding-Rothenburger achieved her feat in the same year by winning silver in the match-sprint cycling at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games just seven months after winning gold and silver medals in speed skating at the Calgary Winter Games. (Sweden’s Gillis Grafstrom won gold medals in the 1920 Summer Games and 1924 Winter Games but in the same event—figure skating.)

9. It took 82 years for a British curling team to receive gold medals.

Great Britain won the curling event at the inaugural 1924 Winter Olympics, although the competition was not stiff. Only four teams competed, and two were from the same country—Sweden. Curling did not return to the official program of the Winter Games until 1998. For decades, curling was considered to have been a demonstration sport at the 1924 Winter Olympics. However, in 2006 the International Olympic Committee ruled that the sport had indeed been part of the official program, and it upgraded the curling team’s gold medals from demonstration to official status.

10. Two men’s hockey teams from the United States arrived at the 1948 Games.

Talk about awkward. Two teams, backed by rival hockey associations, arrived at the 1948 St. Moritz Winter Games claiming they were the rightful squad to compete for the United States. The team backed by the American Hockey Association, which included professionals, was ultimately recognized as the official American team, while the strictly amateur squad sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union and the United States Olympic Committee sat on the sidelines and even booed their compatriots from the stands.

Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Labor Day

Time and Life Pictures / Getty Images

One of the most time-honored fashion traditions is to retire your white clothes after Labor Day. Historians think this maxim stems from class divisions at the turn of the century when lightweight clothes were a symbol of the leisure classes. Back then, Labor Day marked the time the affluent returned from vacation, packed away the summer clothes and went back to school and work. While there's a practical reason for the rule — white clothes dirty easily thus making them ill-suited for heavy autumn rains and winter slush — those who carried the rule through the decades had a less than practical reason for doing so. Indeed, as the years went by, traditionalists and nouveau riche alike continued to eschew winter whites throughout the 20th century in order to remain acceptable in high society. But where there's a rule, there is always a rule breaker: Coco Chanel flouted the custom as early as the 1920s, and today many people have moved toward a seasonless wardrobe, wearing white in all seasons — tradition be damned.

Figure Skating Is Very, Very Expensive

Parents of figure skaters pay about $75 to $100 an hour for private figure skating lessons, and the cost of an hour of practice at an ice arena ranges from $5 to $25. Serious competitive figure skaters usually skate two to four hours a day and take at least one private lesson a day.

In addition to ice time and lessons, figure skating competitions, equipment, travel, costumes, and music add to the above costs.

10 peculiar things you didn't know about the Indy 500

The Indianapolis 500 is one of the oldest and greatest motor sports events in the entire world, capturing the attention of diehard racing fans and once-a-year viewers a like.

The first Indy 500 was back in 1911, so with more than a century of history, it’s hard to keep track of every detail and quirk related to the race and the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway where it’s held. So here are 10 peculiar lesser-known facts about the race.

1. There are six years in history without an Indy 500

It doesn’t take a math wiz to realize the race starting in 1911 but Sunday being the 105th running doesn’t add up. In 1917 and 1918 and later from 1942 to 1945 they did not have an Indy 500 because or World War I and World War II. But picking back up in 1946, there has since never been a break in the event known as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Will Power after winning the 2018 Indy 500 (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

2. The largest margin of victory was more than 13 minutes

Understandably, this one goes way back. Without the racing technological advancements made in the last 100 or so years, race cars were far more spread out compared with drivers now winning races by fractions of a second. So in the 1913 Indy 500, a man named Jules Goux “edged” out another guy named Spencer Wishart by 13 minutes and 8.40 seconds.

For what it’s worth, the slimmest margin of victory was .043 seconds in 1992.


2019 Indy 500: Every driver's choice of celebratory milk

3. The difference between the fastest and slowest average speed is incredible

Along the same lines, the average speeds have drastically changed. But they’re also one of the best and simplest gauges for just how monumental developments in racing have been since the early days of the Indy 500.

The fastest average winning speed and the slowest average winning speed are separated by 102 years. Ray Harroun won the 1911 Indy 500 with a 74.602-mile per hour average speed, while Tony Kanaan — who qualified 16th for Sunday’s race — won in 2013, averaging 187.433 miles per hour. That’s a 112.831-mile per hour difference.

UPDATE: The 2021 Indy 500 broke the record for fastest race with an average speed of 190.690 miles per hour.

4. The Yard of Bricks goes beyond the physical track

The track in the early 1900s was paved with bricks, but all that’s left of it is a 36-inch wide strip that cuts across the front stretch of the 2.5-mile oval. It’s why the track is nicknamed the Brickyard. But the Yard of Bricks goes beyond the track’s inside barrier and cuts across the infield, which you can see in the beginning of this video:

Cars weren’t on track today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be.

Take a drone ride around @IMS via our friends at @IndyCaronNBC!#ThisIsMay | #Indy500 pic.twitter.com/GC5EpF7l03

&mdash Indianapolis Motor Speedway (@IMS) May 21, 2019


The 2019 Indy 500's biggest underdog has a wild story

5. The brick kissing tradition was started by a NASCAR driver

The Indy 500 is far from the only race held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and NASCAR started making an annual stop to the historic track in 1994, which means this tradition isn’t as old as you’d guess either. Race winners celebrate in a variety of ways, but they and their teams and families line up on the Yard of Bricks and kiss them for iconic photos. And although it’s a given now at the Indy 500, it started in NASCAR.

The tradition of “kissing the bricks” was started by NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett. After his Brickyard 400 victory in 1996, Jarrett and crew chief Todd Parrott decided to walk out to the start-finish line, kneel and kiss the Yard of Bricks to pay tribute to the fabled history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The team joined them for a group kiss on the bricks, and an Indianapolis tradition was born that Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 winners have followed since.

Crew chief Todd Parrott and Dale Jarrett kiss the bricks in 1996. (AP Photo/Phil Meyers)

6. Only 9 women have ever competed in the Indy 500

The number is disappointing for a sport where men have no physical advantage over women. Pippa Mann is the only woman in the 2019 Indy 500, and Simona de Silvestro was the only woman in the 2021 race. And for the first time since the 1999 race, no women competed in the 2020 Indy 500.

Danica Patrick retired in 2018 after her eighth Indy 500 start, and she holds many of the records for women in the event, including highest start (fourth, 2005), highest finish (third, 2005) and most laps led in a single race (19, 2005).

Janet Guthrie was the first to qualify and compete in it in 1977, and her best finish was ninth in 1978. Other women to compete in the Indy 500 are Lyn St. James (1992-1997, 2000), Sarah Fisher (2000-2004, 2007-2010), Milka Duno (2007-2009), Ana Beatriz (2010-2013), de Silvestro (2010-2013, 2015, 2021) and Katherine Legge (2012-2013).

Danica in 2018. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


Racing trailblazer Janet Guthrie reflects on Indy 500 and sexism in motor sports

7. The Andrettis are the only ones to have four family members compete in the same Indy 500

And they did it twice. According to IMS, Mario, Michael (son of Mario), Jeff (son of Mario) and John (nephew of Mario) all competed in the 1991 and 1992 Indy 500s. Five total members of the Andretti family have competed in the iconic event, and Marco, who is Michael’s son and Mario’s grandson, is starting from the 10th position Sunday.

However, the Andretti Curse might be a real thing. Mario is the only member of the family to ever win it, and that was back in 1969. As the racing world celebrates the 50th anniversary of his victory, it’s impossible to forget the the family is 0-for-68 since then. Marco came close but finished second in 2006.

“I don’t know what it is, I don’t know if I believe in curses, but there’s something weird going on when you have 73 Andretti starts and one win,” Michael Andretti told the Associated Press.


Marco Andretti to Dale Earnhardt Jr. about Indy 500 dangers: 'I do respect the speed'

8. Tony Stewart is the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles of the Memorial Day Double

The Memorial Day Double is a daunting task. It’s when drivers race in the Indy 500, which starts midday, in Indiana and then fly to Charlotte for NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 that evening. Only four drivers have ever attempted it: John Andretti, Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch. And Stewart is the only one to drive every mile. Busch did it most recently, but after impressively finishing sixth in the Indy 500 — his one and only IndyCar Series event — he lost his engine and only finished 271-of-400 laps in the Coke 600.

9. The Borg-Warner Trophy is massive

(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

Of more mainstream sports, the Stanley Cup probably comes to mind as the biggest trophy out there. But the Borg-Warner blows that away. Including the base, the trophy is 64.75 inches (5 feet, 4.75 inches) tall and weighs about 110 pounds. Probably a big reason why you don’t actually see exhausted winning drivers lift it over their heads too often. Also without the base, it’s still 52 inches.

10. It also has the winners’ faces sculpted into it

(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

Regardless of what you may think about the Borg-Warner’s style or size or racing in general, it’s decidedly awesome to have an image of your face engraved on a historic trophy — even if the final product doesn’t resemble the real thing too closely.

Although the trophy was first unveiled in 1936, there are 102 faces on it with the winners from years prior still added to it. More about the faces via Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

Four-time champions A.J. Foyt (1961, ‘64, ‘67, ‘77), Al Unser (1970, ‘71, ‘78, ‘87) and Rick Mears (1979, ‘84, ‘88, ‘91) are the only drivers to have their faces appear more than three times on the trophy. Mears is the only one of those three to have a new likeness rendered for each of his four victories. Tom Sneva (1983) is the only champion who appears on the trophy wearing his eyeglasses, by his request.

10 Facts About Snow That Might Surprise You

Whether you are singing about snow or hoping that summer would come back, winter storms are on the way in the not too distant future.

Here are 10 things you may not know about wintery precipitation.

1. It Has Snowed as Far South as San Diego and Miami . and Hawaii

The city of San Diego has had numerous reports of snow flurries, accumulating to a trace on two occasions. Los Angeles has recorded accumulating snow on three occasions, including up to 2 inches in 1932.

Brownsville, Texas, recorded 1.5 inches of snow on Christmas Day 2004. This is that city's only measurable snowfall dating back to 1895.

In 1977, it snowed in Miami and Homestead, Florida, dusting cars and palm trees in tropical Dade County. This was not a measurable amount, and the history books list this snow as a trace. Key West has never seen snow.

You might also be surprised to learn that Hawaii sees snow every year, and even more so, that snow can fall in Hawaii in any month. As you would expect, the snow that falls in Hawaii is confined to its highest elevations, including Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island along with Haleakala on Maui Island.

2. It Can Snow at Temperatures Well Above Freezing

It has snowed at over 40 degrees on numerous occasions, at the surface. Theoretically, according to ScienceBits.com, it can snow up to around 46 degrees.

For snow to occur at temperatures above 40 degrees, the humidity has to be very low, because as snow falls, the flakes evaporate and cool. Evaporation is more efficient when it is dry.

3. Snow Is a Mineral

According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center, snow is a mineral because it is a naturally occurring solid, inorganically formed, and has a definite chemical composition.

4. Snowflakes as Large as Dinner Plates?

Individual snow crystals are small, but sometimes they stick together and create a much larger snowflake.

5. In the Lower 48, Colorado Holds the Record for Most Snow to Fall in a 24-Hour Period

Silver Lake, Colorado, received 75.8 inches of snow in a 24-hour period back in 1921.

Elsewhere in the United States, Alaska received 78 inches in 24 hours at Mile 47 Camp in north-central Alaska in 1963.

6. Not Every Windy Snowstorm Is a Blizzard

According to the National Weather Service, blizzard conditions are met when sustained winds of 35 mph or greater last for three hours or more, and visibility is reduced by falling or blowing snow to less than a quarter-mile frequently for the same period of time.

7. Snow Isn't Always White

Snow is actually translucent and reflects upward of 90 percent of light that reaches the surface of the snow. Very little light is absorbed in snow, and no particular colors are absorbed more than others. This is the reason snow appears bright white, especially as it is falling.

In fact, naturally accumulating snow can appear blue or even pink. Just like in glaciers, deep snow can attain a deep blue hue as red light gets trapped in deeper pockets of snow. The deeper the snow is, the bluer it can become.

In some higher terrain, snow can be pink due to algae that grows there.

8. Snowflakes Can Be the Same

In 1988, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found two identical snow crystals. Similar results have been produced in laboratories. Did we really think that of the infinite amount of snow produced around the world each year, no two flakes are identical? That seems improbable.

9. There Are Many Forms of Snow

When we think about snow, most of us think of the beautiful dendrites. According to snowcrystals.com, there are at least 35 types of snowflakes.

To see some of these types, check out the slideshow below.

10. The Biggest Snowball Fight Was in .

Saskatoon, Canada. More than 7,600 winter warriors came out to throw snow at each other on Jan. 31, 2016.

The Royal Gold Medal for architecture is awarded annually since 1848, by the Royal Institute of British Architects on behalf of the British monarch, in recognition of an individual&rsquos or group&rsquos substantial contribution to international architecture.

In 1999, Barcelona became the first and only city, to this date, to receive this honor &ndash instead of an individual architect. And it goes without saying that it is well deserved.

It&rsquos not surprising why many travelers say the city&rsquos architecture is among their favorite things about Barcelona.

Also, if you want to check out some of the most popular buildings in the city, don&rsquot miss seeing these 10 iconic buildings in Barcelona by Gaudí.

6 Hoskins Was Actually Meant To Be A New Version Of Bucky Barnes

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier introduced plenty of new characters, and two of the most exciting ones were the pair tasked with becoming the new Captain America and Battlestar, John Walker and Lemar Hoskins. Both were portrayed extremely well by Wyatt Russell and Clé Bennett, but there was a key difference between the comic book version and the MCU version of Battlestar.

In the comics, Lemar Hoskins was meant to serve as a new version of Bucky alongside the new Captain America. This obviously didn't happen in the show but still adds another layer to the Sam-Bucky dynamic, given that Bucky was chosen as Cap's main wingman rather than Falcon.

5 Madripoor Is On The Back Of A Giant Dragon

While many fans may not believe it, Madripoor actually is located on the back of a giant dragon. Some comics say the island is on the dragon’s head, some say it’s on its back regardless, the location is actually on a dragon. Underneath the water, the dragon Madripoor is on top of is as huge as its own continent.

At one point in the comics, that dragon was even awoken by the Hand — which already exists in the MCU. As such, some audience members who are familiar with the comics are wondering if the dragon might make an appearance in the franchise at some point.

7. There Are 29 Different Species of Dormice

Various species of dormice can be found all around the world, from the African savannah to the British Isles. Although most are golden-brown in color and have distinctive fluffy tails and brown eyes, their physical characteristics can vary based on which part of the world they inhabit. Some are large, some small, some appear to have dark masks around their eyes. One of the rarest of the 29 species is the elusive and little-known mouse-tailed dormouse, hailing from Bulgaria and Turkey.

7 We Don't See Everything They Find

One of the big rules of Alone is that contestants are allowed to use anything they find. This means if they find some trash while foraging or something floats up onto the bank of their camp it’s fair game to use for whatever they like, but we don’t always see what they find. Allan Kay says, In my area, I found lots of rope, bits of netting, glass and plastic bottles intact with lids. I even found some tubing and a yellow hard hat, which I used to carry gravel from the seashore to line my fire pit.” Other items become more for comfort than of function. Sam says an item he found that sticks out in his head was a retro-looking float that he was able to use as a stool during his stay on the island.

10 Cool Facts About the Olympics Kids Will Love

Everybody loves the Olympics, right? Well, if you’re a kid who would rather be watching cartoons, maybe not. But the good news is there’s a lot more to the Olympics than meets the eye. If you’re looking to turn the games into a spectator sport for the whole family, why not educate your kids about the Olympics’ history, mascot and more? We’ve rounded up 10 facts about the Olympics kids of all ages will be sure to dig &mdash and parents will likely learn from too.

As the greatest athletes in the world make their way to Pyeongchang, South Korea, this month for the Olympics’ 2018 incarnation, here are a few fun facts to share with your kids before the opening ceremony takes place on Feb. 9.

1. The first modern Olympics took place in 1896

The Olympics themselves have been around for a really long time &mdash written records in Greece date the games back to 776 B.C., but it’s believed they had even been going on for years before that date. Athletic competitions took place every four years near Olympia, Greece, during a religious festival honoring Zeus. But after these ancient Olympic Games faltered, the idea was revived in 1896 in Athens, and the event featured around 280 athletes (all male, booo) who hailed from 13 countries and competed in 43 events.

2. The five interlocking rings of the Olympic flag represent the “five” continents

Yep, we were confused too. The Olympic flag’s rings, which first flew at the 1920 Antwerp Games, represent “the five continents” of America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. The North and South American continents are represented by one ring, and Antarctica misses out since its frosty inhabitants (mostly scientists and penguins) haven’t put together an Olympic team…Yet.

3. The U.S. has won the most medals throughout all of Olympic history

There’s got to be something about economic privilege behind this, right? But anyway, the United States’ nearly 2,800-medal total does lag behind Norway when it comes to overall medals awarded during the Winter Olympics. How will Team USA fare this year? Only time will tell.

4. The Olympics has a mascot

This year, it’s a cute white tiger named Soohorang. The white tiger has been considered Korea’s guardian animal, which makes it the perfect choice for Pyeongchang. Also, “Sooho” means “protection” in Korean, and the other part of his name, “rang,” comes from the middle letter of the Korean word for “tiger.”

5. This is the second time South Korea has hosted the Olympics

The Olympics are returning to South Korea for the first time since 1988, when the Summer Games were held in Seoul.

6. Gold medals aren’t solid gold &mdash not by a long shot

1912 was the last time solid-gold medals were awarded to Olympic athletes. Nowadays, though, the medals contain a mere fraction of the gold content of those early editions. In fact, today’s gold medal is mostly silver with about 6 grams of gold plating.

7. Women were first allowed to participate in the Olympics in 1900

The first Olympics were dudes-only, but women have been working their way into &mdash and winning &mdash events since then. But it’s been a slow process. Women weren’t allowed to participate in volleyball and luge until 1964, and we couldn’t participate in weight lifting until 2000, believe it or not. As for female boxers? They weren’t allowed to compete in their sport in the Olympics until 2012. Damn, Olympics, get with it!

8. The Olympic torch is well-traveled

Although the route varies depending on the year’s host country, the well-known tradition of the Olympic torch remains much the same this year as it works its way through 17 cities and provinces across South Korea. Each host country is responsible for designing its torch, and it must remain lit in all weather conditions.

9. Five athletes have won medals at both the Summer & Winter Games

It’s a huge milestone to win an Olympic medal &mdash and winning more than one is an even greater feat. But winning a medal at both the Summer and Winter Games? Truly unusual. Out of the thousands of Olympic athletes, only five have done so. Among the five are two Americans: Eddie Eagan (boxing and bobsled, both gold) and Lauryn Williams (relay gold, 100-meter silver and bobsled silver).

10. The Pyeongchang Olympics will take place across 13 different venues

It’s not uncommon for host cities to renovate or create new buildings for the Olympic Games, and this year, Pyeongchang has built six new venues from the ground up &mdash and has refurbished seven others specifically for the Games.

And there you have it: 10 fascinating facts that will make the Olympics more fun for viewers of all ages &mdash as if they weren’t already the most fun thing ever. May the best (wo)man win.

Image: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

Watch the video: Ten Strange Facts About The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics