Sunday, February 16, 2014

Some Winter Olympics Facts and Trivia


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The first winter Olympics were held in 1924 at Chamonix, France.

10,004 people paid to watch the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix.

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No Winter Olympics has ever been held in the Southern Hemisphere.

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The first Winter Olympics saw 16 nations compete in 16 events.

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Winter Olympics have 7 categories of sports, namely biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing.

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The last time Summer and Winter Olympics were held in the same year was in 1992. The Summer Olympics were held in Barcelona, Spain and the Winter Games were in Albertville, France.

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USA has hosted the most number of Winter Olympics with 4. It is followed by France with 3.

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Norway has won the most medals at Winter Olympics with a total of 303. The Norwegians also have a record 107 Winter Olympics gold medals.

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There have been four deaths at Winter Olympics. Two lugers and two skiers, both died during practice sessions.

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Artificial snow was first used during Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, USA in 1980.

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Norwegian cross country skier, Bjorn Daehli has won the most medals at Winter Olympics. In the three Winter Olympics he has competed, Daehli has won 12 medals including 8 gold medals.

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Cross country skier Raisa Smetanina (USSR) is the winningest woman medalist, taking 10 medals (four gold; five silver; one bronze).

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American athlete, Eddie Eagan is the only person in Olympic history to have one gold medals at both Summer and Winter Olympics.  He won a summer gold in 1920 in boxing and a winter gold in 1932 in the 4 man bobsled.

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The opening ceremony of the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, USA was organized by Walt Disney.

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Great Britain won the Gold at the Curling event at the 1924 Winter Games, although it wasn’t recognized until 2006, 82 years later.  This was because the Glasgow Herald filed a claim on behalf of the families of the team that the sport had been an official category and not a demonstration sport.

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Sochi Facts and Trivia . . . 

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Most expensive ever

Sochi is an all-time bank-buster, costing a staggering $51 billion – enough to pave the town’s streets in caviar, and more than four times its original budget of $12 billion.


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Winter warmer

Sochi isn’t halfway up a mountain; it’s actually a subtropical resort town where temperatures rarely drop below 12 C. Events that need snow – like, nearly all of them – will be staged an hour’s drive away in the Krasnaya Polyana mountains. Sochi is the warmest city to ever host Winter Olympics. It is also the longest city in Europe, spanning over 90 miles along the shores of the Black Sea.


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BMW bobsleds

The luxury car maker knows a bit about speed, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that they’ve constructed the USA team’s carbon-fibre wrapped bobsled. No word on whether it could do donuts in the Olympic village car park.


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Going for gold

When you win gold in Sochi, you’ve really won silver. That’s because 2014 winners’ medals contain 516 grams of silver and just six grams of gold. But the $122,000 Russia’s pledged to each winner might soften the blow.


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Richest athlete

Rad US snowboarder Shaun White has an estimated worth of $20 million, mainly earned from various pre-Sochi endorsements – including Red Bull.


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Out of this world

Olympians winning gold medals on February 15 will be rewarded with gold medals made of Chelyabinsk meteor fragments. Why? The date is exactly a year after the space rock crashed into a lake in the Ural Mountains in central Russia.

70kg chunk of the Chelyabinsk meteorite pulled from Lake Chebarkul in Russia’s Ural Mountains 

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Torch travels

The Sochi Olympic torch has covered more kilometres than a Qantas pilot. All up, 14,000 people carried the flame, using many modes of transportation, over 65,000 kilometres for 123 days across 2900 cities and villages. The torch also went into space on board the International Space Station..



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Strong words

The Olympic motto is “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, which means “Faster, Higher, Stronger” for those who didn’t get their Masters in Latin.


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Stadium of light

The roof of the Fisht Stadium, built especially for these games, is covered in more than 30,000 LEDs, which flash different colours at night. At Sochi, it’ll be home to the hockey matches, before being used as a venue for football’s 2018 World Cup.



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Women ski-jumpers

Twelve new events debut at Sochi, including, after much lobbying, the women’s ski jump. Until recently, females were discouraged from taking part in the sport because it was (falsely) believed the hard landings would damage their uterus,

Germany’s varina Vogt wins the Olympic gold in the first Women’s Ski Jump event

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Maria Sharapova

Sochi has been home to the tennis star, Maria Sharapova. She moved to the Russian town when she was 2 and played tennis in a local park.


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Mascots

Mascots for the Sochi Winter Olympics are a polar bear, a hare and a leopard.

Sochi 2014 XXII. Olympic Winter Games / XI. Paralympic Winter Games

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Competing countries
88 countries will take part in Sochi Olympics. Some nations will make their debut, including Zimbabwe and Paraguay.

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Jamaican Bobsled Team

The Jamaican two-man bobsled team will be taking part at Sochi, the first time it has qualified since the 2002 Salt Lake Games, despite trying in 2006 and 2010. From a news item:

. . . 46-year-old Winston Watts, back at the Games after a 12-year absence, and brakeman Marvin Dixon, the Jamaican duo seeking to summon the spirit that inspired "Cool Runnings", the Hollywood movie based on the exploits of their ground-breaking predecessors from the 1988 Calgary Games. The team needed an Internet campaign to help raise the initial funds to finance their trip to Russia which produced about $80,000, with more cash flowing in from sponsors and their federation. The campaign had such success that Watts and Dixon had to plead with their fans to stop sending money, fearing they would be damned as greedy opportunists if they didn't call a halt. True to their roller-coaster build-up to Sochi, the Jamaican duo then arrived without their luggage and equipment, lost in transit between New York's JFK and the host city.



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