So, it’s Friday, and it’s been a busy week for me, preparing for a legal hearing next week. The short version is that I am appealing the denial of my application for disability. I won’t go into all the details, but when you collapse in an epileptic seizure in the middle of your research lab, you tend to feel you should qualify as ‘disabled’.
But enough about that; I don’t know about you, but my wife and myself are going to spend much of next two weeks watching the Olympics. It’s fun, it’s interesting, and it’s patriotic. I suppose it doesn’t have quite the sort of competitiveness that arises when you are using the events as a proxy for a world war with an international adversary (aka, the Soviet Union), but since we might not even attend in that case, it’s probably all the better.
Anyway, I thought that to kick off the event, I would share some interesting facts about the game, as they get started. Enjoy these facts, and enjoy the games!
1. Greece both hosted the first modern Olympic Games, and earned the most medals during those Olympics.
2. The International Olympic Committee requires that gold medals require at least 6 grams of gold in the gold metal, which is the amount that is in the Sochi Olympic medals. (For comparison, 6 grams is about 0.2 ounces, or about one tenth the weight of a pea.)
3. The last gold medals composed entirely of gold were given out at the 1912 Olympic Games held in Stockholm, Sweden. (It was also the first Olympics to host Japan, while we’re covering interesting side facts.)
4. On the plus side, there is a lot more silver in the medals, both the silver and gold medals, which have same amount of silver contained within, 525 grams (about 18.5 ounces or the weight of ten peas).
5. There’s quite a bit of thought put into that Olympic symbol of the five rings. They represent the five regions of the world (Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; yes, North and South America are combined into one region), are positioned so that they are linked together ‘in friendship’, and each country in the world has one of the five colors of the rings (blue, black, green, yellow and red) on their flag.
6. Here’s a truly off-the-wall fact: The word ‘gymnasium’ is actually derived from the Greek word ‘gymnos’, meaning nude, making the literal meaning of gymnasium as a ‘school for the nude’. There is probably a joke or three to be made here about doing gymnastics in the nude to attract more viewers (particularly of when those hunky male gymnasts are up, if my wife is any indication), but as that’s a Summer Olympics event, I’ll let it pass.
7. Although it’s in Russia, a country known as being essentially a block of ice (that ‘Siberia’ isn’t anything to sneeze at), Sochi apparently has palm trees, and better weather right now than Pennsylvania. Granted, this isn’t too surprising given its location, but when you’re hosting the Winter Olympics, perhaps some more snow and ice would be a good thing…
8. Crazily enough, in spite of that whole aforementioned ‘known as being a block of ice’ thing, this is the first Winter Olympics held by Russia. They’ve held the Summer Games before, most recently (and most notably) in 1980, but not the Winter Games.
9. The mascots for these games are, I kid you not, a polar bear, a leopard, and a bunny. Which leads in nicely to my last point…
10. This is an actual, official icon from these Olympic Games:
Call me biased, but suddenly I’m a lot more confident about the United States’ ability to kick butt at these games.