“Put Me In Coach”

Win or not, school sports of any kind is fun and brings out the best in everybody. 

With all the talk of high school opening back up, it got me to thinking about sports.  As a former student athlete myself, I enjoyed that part of my high school experience – There is something very special about being on the field on a Friday or Saturday night and calling the plays to your teammates. After all of the hard work during those dreaded “2 a days” in the heat of the summer now the fun begins! There really is no substitution for the life lessons learned from competition.  Often times, the lessons learned from failure are as valuable as those from winning!!  And as a Dad, I REALLY enjoyed watching my girls “compete” on the ballfield. Watching them grow was an absolute pleasure.  I’m a huge supporter of “safe” sports for the kids, and hope things can work out this year for all of the student athletes to be able to participate-even if that means moving to later in the year.  With nearly 8 million children involved nationwide, it’s important they get a chance to “play” and compete at some point in the year!  I dug around the internet, and found some interesting statistics on sports participation, the most popular sports played and some amazing stats on those who are good enough to compete in college, and then the “super athletes” who go on to the pros. It’s important to remember, it’s not just the competition outcomes, or the future salaries – for most, it’s about comradery, leadership, teamwork, and just plain old FUN!  Enjoy, and thanks to stadiumtalk.com, NFHS and businessinsider.com for the numbers and info.  Here’s some fun music from John Fogerty to enjoy while you read.

  1. This fall’s high school enrollment will be approximately 16.89 million students in 20,000 public, private and charter schools.
  2. Nearly eight million students will plan to participate in high school athletics in the United States. High school sports participation has steadily increased over the past 30 years, with a small drop in 2018. The balance of students will also connect to in-school activities through music, drama, art, community service groups, debate, work and special interest groups, In the small town I live in, almost 50% of the student body is involved on a given Friday night!
  3. Studies show student athletes manifest stronger peer relationships, better attachment with adults, higher self-esteem, a closer sense of family, and participate more in volunteerism. They are less likely to engage in high risk behavior and have a greater sense of initiative, persistence and personal responsibility.
  4. The earliest sport in the history of the world, track (and field) is the #1 most popular high school sport in America with 1,093,621 total participants. Just as the Greeks of the first Olympics searched for answers to life’s biggest questions, the students of today will be the seekers of solutions for tomorrow – run Forest, run!
  5. One of the smallest HS sports, is Alpine Skiing with a total of 10,099 boys and girls participants in just 11 states (remember, snow is important here).  Teeth chattering cold, windy conditions and going straight down a giant slalom at 60+ MPH “may” have something to do with the numbers. Yikes!
  6. Moving indoors, the hottest and fastest growing HS sport – is esports.  Growing ten- fold each year, and now in over 1,200 high schools, esports is a competitive and fun place for the kids who don’t like to catch, kick, run or throw.  (Studies show over 500K people “watch” eports competitions, with more to come).
  7. Think competitive dance is a joke? Tell that to the 90-plus dance teams performing for the national HS championship at the University of North Texas in March 2020. Teams (which sometimes can have up to 75 members) will represent high schools, middle schools, colleges, even Japan, attracting over 10K kids nationwide.
  8. Also clocking in at the 10K participation number is archery. Popular in seven states, those who are expert marksmen and women with eagle eyes see a bow and arrow as the ideal tool to score points for their school.  Bring your own apples.
  9. Not just your grandparents’ Sunday afternoon backyard game, badminton, played by over 18,000 student athletes, became an official Olympic sport at the 1992 games in Barcelona. Elite players have speed, agility, strength and flexibility.
  10. If you’re a girl over 5 feet, or a guy taller than 5-foot-7, you’re probably out of luck.  Over 20,000 gymnastics athletes choose to flip, spin, jump, and dance their way into the record books with a combination of balance and awesome strength.
  11. Nearly 30,000 kids in 10 states (8 states for the girls) participate in HS weightlifting. Clean and jerk is not for the meek.  It’s serious lifting at its best and a small group of athletes dedicated to technique.
  12. Quite possibly the toughest sport in HS, about 44 thousand students participate in water polo. The intense contact sport is grueling mix of strength and endurance. (and you have to learn how to float…). Under the water tactics can make or break a victory.
  13. Field hockey, the fourth-most popular sport in the world with over 2 billion fans, doesn’t have quite the same mass appeal in America, but attracts over 60K HS kids to play. And for women, money talks—in the form of scholarships from over 250 colleges.
  14. Another 61K phenom that would make “The Dude” smile is bowling.  Enjoyed in 25 states, back in the day is was Saturday afternoon entertainment on the Wide World of Sports. As The Stranger (Sam Elliott) says, we can “take comfort in that, knowin’, he’s out there.”
  15. With over 165K boys and girls participating, this is one sport to cheer about.  Known as Competitive Spirit (the official name for cheerleading), participation has increased 38 percent since 2012 – maybe it’s all the Hollywood movies, this super competitive sport connects with the crowds.
  16. Nearly 215 thousand kids find their place on the lacrosse field.  A few years ago, it became America’s fastest-growing high school sport.  Now, one of the biggest challenges for athletic directors is finding qualified coaches to lead teams of boys and girls alike. (who chooses to be the goalie, anyway?)
  17. 223K student athletes nationwide know you don’t need to be the biggest, fastest or strongest to win on the golf course. Shrewd, calculating, and poised, the best golfers win between the ears and get to hone their skills to be used for years to come.
  18. Six boys high school sports are played in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. and Wrestling is one of them.  It’s man vs. man, man vs. self, blood and sweat — to develop leadership skills, sportsmanship and discipline. 21K of the 268K athletes are girls who you just know will be successful in life.
  19. About 850K HS athletes choose to play fastpitch softball and baseball. As Ron Shelton summed up in Bull Durham, “This is a simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball.” That’s why the old ballgame is played in 48 states and at over 17,000 high schools.  You’re killing me smalls!
  20. Coming in at 5th most popular, volleyball attracts over 500K athletes. A “must play” in California, the sport attracts more than 2,300 high schools in the state with 68,000 students setting and blocking. That’s a lot of serves and slams too!
  21. While less than 1 percent of any high school soccer players becoming national players, HS soccer attracts over 850K kids each year. With these numbers, one would hope that a US Men’s World Cup title is possible – as the women have proven time and again.  With so many kids playing, very few make it on to a college team.
  22. Basketball and Football round out the top spots, attracting over 1 million athletes each.  With concussions an issue, and skyrocketing college and pro salaries, time will tell if they will remain on top in the coming years. (tough to beat Friday night games under the lights and on the hardwood).
  23. After high school, only 480,000 will compete as NCAA athletes, and a very select few within each sport will move on to compete at the professional or Olympic level.
  24. The likelihood of a high school athlete playing a NCAA Sports in college is less the 3% (a bit higher for specialty sports like lacrosse and ice hockey).  And that number goes down as students progress through college.
  25. In contrast, the likelihood of an NCAA athlete earning a college degree is significantly greater – graduation success rates are 86% in Division I, 71% in Division II and 87% in Division III.
  26. Statistics show, of the nearly 500K NCAA athletes who compete in college, less than 2% of them go on to play professionally – with the biggest number going to baseball.

Next time you are watching a match, remember the odds of “making it” and enjoy the moments and future memories.  For those of you who “love the stats” here are the links:
http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/estimated-probability-competing-college-athletics
https://www.stadiumtalk.com/s/most-popular-high-school-sports-america-a68e565ca65541f7
https://www.businessinsider.com/odds-college-athletes-become-professionals-2012-2

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.
As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a

quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))  
Have fun!!

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The Fight

(top half – b&w photos)  Cacius Clay changes his name to Muhammed Ali and goes down at the hands of Joe Frazier.  (lower half from the color photo down)  Ali gets his revenge. Twice! Magazine covers of Cacius Clay, Muhammed Ali vs Smokin’ Joe Frazier and Muhammed Ali’s come-back.  Laila Ali is kissed by her father before one of her matches.

As a sports guy I have certain memories locked in my memory banks (this is a big deal just ask Jackie!) Great diving catches, final at bat home runs, crazy dunks, ridiculous golf shots, Olympic moments of greatness and more.  As a kid, I used to join my Dad and older brother  to catch Muhammed Ali fights.  I can’t say I saw all of them, but the ones I did see, I can remember the way he moved, jabbed, slid punches, and trash talked his opponents. Ask any boxing fan, and you’ll hear stories about the Ali fights – the “Thrilla in Manilla”and the “Rumble in the Jungle”.  Today is the nearly 50-year anniversary of the first Ali/Frazier fight, simple called – “The Fight”, when two unbeatens, Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier met in Madison Square Garden.  It was quite a show and set the stage for a number of rematches with the fighters trading the title of “champion”.  That was truly the “Golden Age” of boxing.  Enjoy, and thanks Wikipedia for this walk down memory lane and You Tube for the history.

Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, billed as Fight of the Century (also known as just “The Fight”), was the boxing match between undefeated WBC/WBA heavyweight champion Joe Frazier (26–0, 23 KOs) and undefeated The Ring/lineal heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali (31–0, 25 KOs), held on March 8, 1971.  Held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, it was the first time that two undefeated boxers fought each other for the heavyweight title

In 1971, both Ali and Frazier had legitimate claims to the title of World Heavyweight Champion. An undefeated Ali had won the title from Sonny Liston in 1964, and successfully defended his belt up until he had it stripped by boxing authorities for refusing induction into the armed forces in 1967.

In Ali’s absence, the undefeated Frazier garnered two championship belts through knockouts of Buster Mathis and Jimmy Ellis and was recognized by boxing authorities as the World Champion. Unlike Mathis and Ellis, Frazier was plausibly Ali’s superior, which created a tremendous amount of hype and anticipation for a match pitting the two undefeated fighters against one another to decide who was the true heavyweight champ.

Ringside seats were an unheard-of price at $150 (equivalent to $1,000 today) and each man was guaranteed $2.5 million dollars – a hefty sum in those days. In addition to the millions who watched on closed-circuit broadcast screens around the world, the Garden was packed with a sellout crowd of 20,455 that provided a gate of $1.5 million.

Prior to his enforced layoff, Ali had displayed uncommon speed and dexterity for a man of his size. He had dominated most of his opponents to the point that he had often predicted the round in which he would knock them out (“don’t lock the doors – he’ll be done in 4”). However, in the fight preceding the Frazier fight, Ali struggled at times during his 15th-round TKO of Oscar Bonavena, an unorthodox Argentinian fighter, prepared by Hall of Fame trainer Gil Clancy.

Frazier was known for his outstanding left hook and a tenacious competitor who attacked the body of his opponent ferociously. Despite suffering from a serious bout of hypertension in the lead-up to the fight, he appeared to be in top form as the face-off between the two undefeated champions approached.

The fight held broader meaning for many Americans, as Ali had become a symbol of the anti-establishment war movement during his government-imposed exile from the ring, while Frazier had been adopted by the more conservative, pro-war movement. The match had been dubbed “The Fight” and gripped the nation. “Just listen to the roar of this crowd!” thundered Burt Lancaster, the color man. “The tension, and the excitement here, is monumental!”

The bout was noted for its general appeal with non-boxing and non-sport fans holding an impassioned rooting interest in one of the fighters. Mark Kram from Sports Illustrated at the time wrote:

The thrust of this fight on the public consciousness is incalculable. It has been a ceaseless whir that seems to have grown in decibel with each new soliloquy by Ali, with each dead calm promise by Frazier. It has magnetized the imagination of ring theorists and flushed out polemicists of every persuasion. It has cut deep into the thicket of our national attitudes, and it is a conversational imperative everywhere—from the gabble of big-city salons and factory lunch breaks rife with unreasoning labels, to ghetto saloons with their own false labels.

On the evening of the match, Madison Square Garden had a circus-like atmosphere, with scores of policemen to control the crowd, outrageously dressed fans, and countless celebrities, from Norman Mailer and Woody Allen to Frank Sinatra, who, after being unable to procure a ringside seat, took photographs for Life magazine instead. Artist LeRoy Neiman painted Ali and Frazier as they fought. Movie star Burt Lancaster served as a color commentator for the closed-circuit broadcast.

The fight was sold out, and broadcast by closed circuit, to 50 countries in 12 languages via ringside reporters to an audience estimated at 300 million, a record viewership for a television event at that time. Riots broke out at several venues as unresolvable technical issues interrupted the broadcast in several cities in the third round. The veteran referee for the fight was Arthur Mercante, Sr. saying after the fight, “They both threw some of the best punches I’ve ever seen.”

On both closed-circuit and free television, the fight was watched by a record 300 million viewers worldwide – a record 27.5 million viewers on BBC1 in the United Kingdom, about half of the British population. It was also watched by an estimated 54 million viewers in Italy, and 2 million viewers in South Korea – all WAY before cable, the internet and cell phones.

The fight itself exceeded even its promotional hype and went the full 15-round championship distance. Ali dominated the first three rounds, peppering the shorter Frazier with rapier-like jabs that raised welts on the champion’s face. In the closing seconds of round three, Frazier connected with a tremendous hook to Ali’s jaw, snapping his head back. Frazier began to dominate in the fourth round, catching Ali with several of his famed left hooks and pinning him against the ropes to deliver tremendous body blows.

Ali was visibly tired after the sixth round, and though he put together some flurries of punches after that round, he was unable to keep the pace he had set in the first third of the fight. At 1 minute and 59 seconds into round eight, following his clean left hook to Ali’s right jaw, Frazier grabbed Ali’s wrists and swung Ali into the center of the ring; however, Ali immediately grabbed Frazier again until they were once again separated by Mercante.

Frazier caught Ali with a left hook at nine seconds into round 11. A fraction of a second later, Ali fell with both gloves and his right knee on the canvas. Mercante stepped between Ali and Frazier, separating them as Ali rose from the canvas. As round 11 wound down with Frazier staggering Ali with a left hook, Ali stumbled and grabbed at Frazier to keep his balance before bouncing forward again until the fighters were separated by Mercante at 2:55 into the round. Ali spent the remaining 5 seconds of round 11 making his way back to his corner.

At the end of round 14 Frazier held a lead on all three scorecards (by scores of 8–6–0, 10–4–0, and 8–6–0). Early in round 15, Frazier landed a left hook that put Ali on his back. Ali, his jaw swollen grotesquely, got up from the blow quickly, and managed to stay on his feet for the rest of the round despite several terrific blows from Frazier.

A few minutes later the judges made it official: Frazier had retained the title with a unanimous decision, dealing Ali his first professional loss.

Frazier would surrender his title 22 months later, when on January 22, 1973, he was knocked out by George Foreman in the second round of their brief but devastating title bout in Kingston, Jamaica.

Ali biographer Wilfrid Sheed wrote of the fight:
Both men left the ring changed men that night. For Frazier, his greatness was gone, that unquantifiable combination of youth, ability and desire. For Ali, the public hatred he had so carefully nursed to his advantage came to a head and burst that night and has never been the same. To his supporters he became a cultural hero. His detractors finally gave him grudging respect. At least they had seen him beaten and seen that smug look wiped off his face.

Unknown Fact:  The fight provided cover for an activist group, the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, to successfully pull off a burglary at an FBI office in Pennsylvania, which exposed the COINTELPRO operations that included illegal spying on activists involved with the civil rights and anti-war movements. One of the COINTELPRO targets was Muhammad Ali, which included the FBI gaining access to his records as far back as elementary school.

Click here to learn how Smokin’ Joe got his nickname.

AND SOME COOL VIDEOS…

  1. Watch this five minute video of Newsday’s remembrance of Muhammed Ali.
  2. Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier I: Round 15 (Knockdown.)
  3. Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier II
  4. Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier III – Oct. 1, 1975 – Entire fight – Rounds 1 – 14 + Interview
  5. The Fight of the Century Explained

 


 

Buzzer Beater

(top to bottom) Arike Ogunbowale takes the inbound, one bounce, puts it up, total swish at the buzzer, jubilation! 

It happened again.  This time is was a for the national college women’s basketball championship – a last minute shot when Arike Ogunbowale lofted a high, arcing jumper over Mississippi State’s Victoria Vivians. Basketball experts might call it an off-balance, half-shot leaner, (Notre Dame fans would surely call it a “prayer”), but nonetheless, the shot was perfect, this time with a tenth of a second remaining. It completed another come-from-behind run for Notre Dame that seemed unlikely, culminating with a trophy presentation at Nationwide Arena.  Last minute heroics are sprinkled throughout sports history, along with fun terms like “buzzer beater” that make up the jargon-laced pastime.  Around here at KHT, we have our own terms, like when a job is “hot” (needs to get out the door), a “batch”, (when we fill our ovens with work), and the ultimate PIA ones!  (Yes, we have our saves too!). Fortunately, my team is fantastic and we often “crush it”!  I could go on for a while but won’t. For our blog this week, I found some fun slang (see how well you know your stuff) and exciting links to You Tube game and match-ending footage.  Enjoy!

See the amazing Arike Ogunbowale shot HERE.
See two minutes of the game then the amazing Arike Ogunbowale shot HERE.

Test Your Sports Slang Knowledge

  1. Nutmeg
  2. Frozen Rope
  3. 5 Hole
  4. Sparkplug
  5. Catch a Crab
  6. Lettuce
  7. Stinger
  8. Ace
  9. Pepper
  10. Juiced
  11. Kayo
  12. Facial
  13. Pine rider
  14. Bean-ball
  15. Haymaker
  16. Six Pack
  17. Chunk
  18. Dirty Air
  19. Irons
  20. Gong Show

How many did you get?
Scroll down to see the definitions.
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KHT Sports Slang/Trivia Answers

  1. Nutmeg- A nutmeg (or tunnel, nut, megs, megnuts, panna, brooksy), is a playing technique used chiefly in association football (soccer), but also in field hockey, ice hockey, and basketball. The aim is to kick, roll, dribble, throw, or push the ball (or puck) between an opponent’s legs (feet). A nutmeg cannot be called (or counted) if the ball touches an opponent’s legs on the way through
  2. Frozen Rope- A baseball line drive, or basketball free throw, or shot from the floor with little/no arc.
  3. 5 Hole- The “five-hole” is a nickname for the space between a goaltender’s legs in ice hockey. If a player scores by shooting the puck into the goal between the goaltender’s legs, he is said to have scored “through the five-hole,” or to have “gone five-hole.” The nickname can also be used in basketball, when a player throws a bounce pass that goes through a defender’s legs. This expression comes from Canadian five pin bowling.
  4. Sparkplug- There are many things coaches and managers look for when picking the players for their respective teams. One thing often overlooked is the high energy guy – the sparkplug of the team. “Spark plugs” are people who help their team stay energized game after game, night after night.
  5. Catch a Crab- A crab is the term rowers use when the oar blade gets “caught” in the water. It is caused by a momentary flaw in oar technique – and it has happened to anyone who has ever rowed. A crab may be minor, allowing the rower to quickly recover, or it may be so forceful that the rower is ejected from the boat
  6. Lettuce – I don’t have this problem!!- Lettuce is the term used by hockey and lacrosse players to describe the look of their helmut hair, just after a game.  Debates abound between lettuce, and “flow”, the natural outcome of long hair, heavy sweat and of course, a good mullet cut.
  7. Stinger- stingeralso called a burner or nerve pinch injury, is a neurological injury suffered by athletes, mostly in high-contact sports such as ice hockey, rugby, American football, and wrestling. The spine injury is characterized by a shooting or stinging pain that travels down one arm, followed by numbness and weakness. Many athletes in contact sports have suffered stingers, but they are often unreported to medical professionals.
  8. Ace  – My team is full of these.- A clean first serve in tennis that is not touched.  Also, a nickname for a very good player.
  9. Pepper- To pepper, two players face each other separated by a distance of 5–20 feet (2–6 meters). Distances vary based upon the players’ preference. Player 2 starts by hitting or tossing a volleyball to player 1. Player 1 then passes the ball back to player 2 starting the drill.
  10. Juiced- Often the term used to describe an athlete that has used strength or performance enhancing drugs.  Also, a slang word for when a baseball bat has been altered, to initiate more power, as in a “juiced bat”.
  11. Kayo- In Boxing: To put out of commission. From the boxing phrase “knockout” (knock unconscious), abbreviated “K.O.” and pronounced and often written as “kayo” or “kayod”.
  12. Facial- In basketball, when you slam dunk the ball so hard that the defensive player standing beneath the goal gets a ball hard in the face. Often this happens to the unfortunate 12th man that is playing during mop-up time in a blowout game.
  13. Pine rider- In most any sport, a nickname for a player who never gets to see action in a game and is sitting on the “pine” bench.
  14. Bean-ball- Beanball is a colloquialism used in baseball, for a ball thrown at an opposing player with the intention of striking him such as to cause harm, often connoting a throw at the player’s head (or “bean” in old-fashioned slang). A pitcher who throws beanballs often is known as a “headhunter”
  15. Haymaker- A powerful forceful punch. The word usually used in boxing, or when fighting breaks out in a match/game. It is often referenced when a person/player swings with full force, twisting his waist and shoulders round before turning back unleashing a mighty blow! (it comes from how hay used to be harvested by swinging a scythe, since the punch resembles the same motion and level of power).
  16. Six Pack – Nope!- Often called “six-pack abs” (abdominal muscles). Someone who has a flat, muscular stomach is said to have a “six pack” or “six pack abs”. The next time you see a person with a flat, in shape stomach, count the firm muscles just above the belly button. You will see three muscles on one side and three on the other, thus referred to as a “six pack”
  17. Chunk – Yup!- Most often used in golf, it is when a player catches more of the ground than the ball, and “chucks” the earth, reducing distance and spin.  Players who did not hit their intended target and come up short will say, “I chunked it”.
  18. Dirty Air  – Yup!- A car racing term, clean air is the undisturbed air that flows over a car, allowing for the wings and body to get the maximum amount of downforce. Dirty air, on the other hand, is disturbed air from a car in front. This means that the amount of air coming into contact with the car following behind another car is less, which reduces downforce and impacts performance.
  19. Irons- While you might thing golf, it is also a horse racing slang term for the stirrups.
  20. Gong Show- A hockey slang term, started in Canada and in recognition of the popular TV show, when a game gets out of hand, and becomes unpredictable, as in “this game’s become a Gong Show”.

 


 

Those Famous Five Rings

(top three photos) In 2011, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge announces Pyeongchang as the winning city for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games; There’s nothing like a map to show where exactly Pyeongchang, South Korea is located; The slopes at night. Magical. (montage of images) The events are all exciting and so much fun to watch; (bottom right) Britain’s Ethel Muckelt won the bronze medal for singles figure skating at the very first Winter Olympics in 1924. My, how fashions have changed.

 

Get the current local time in Pyeongchang HERE

See NBC’s full coverage schedule HERE

Check out the official Winter Olympics website HERE

 

Now that I’ve finally settled down from the exciting Super Bowl finish, one of my favorite events kicked off this week – the Olympic Games, hosted in Pyeongchang, South Korea, about 80 miles (125 kilometers) east of Seoul and about 60 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea.  Jackie and I especially love the Winter Olympics – from the opening ceremony all the way to the final events.  With the time change this year, we’ll be able to see many of the events live.  Not only do I like the main sports like side by side downhill skiing and luge (what are those people thinking???) but I also find myself glued to the television, hoping to see if the Canadian skip can “soft rock a draw turn-in kizzle kazzle hammer off the hack to tuck just inside the 6-footer back end to blank the Ukrainians (not bad, eh?). I also love to watch the young bucks tackle the half pipe and do those insane triple flips off the super free-style ramps.  For my trivia buffs, and those who want to be the “Cliff Klaven’s” in the room when it comes to Olympic trivia, here you go.  Special thanks to History.com, CNN and Wikipedia for the goodies.  (before you start, email me if you know what the five rings stands for….)

 

  1. The Olympic Games, which originated in ancient Greece as many as 3,000 years ago, were revived in the late 19th century and have become the world’s preeminent sporting competition.
  2. The first written records of the ancient Olympic Games date to 776 B.C., when a cook named Coroebus won the only event–a 192-meter footrace called the stade (the origin of the modern “stadium”)–to become the first Olympic champion. However, it is generally believed that the Games had been going on for many years by that time.
  3. Legend has it that Heracles, son of Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene, founded the Games, which by the end of the 6th century B.C had become the most famous of all Greek sporting festivals.
  4. The ancient Olympics were held every four years between August 6 and September 19 during a religious festival honoring Zeus. The Games were named for their location at Olympia, a sacred site located near the western coast of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece. Their influence was so great that ancient historians began to measure time by the four-year increments in between Olympic Games, which were known as Olympiads.
  5. After 13 Olympiads, two more races joined the stade as Olympic events: the diaulos (roughly equal to today’s 400-meter race), and the dolichos (a longer-distance race, possibly comparable to the 1,500-meter or 5,000-meter event). The pentathlon (consisting of five events: a foot race, a long jump, discus and javelin throws and a wrestling match) was introduced in 708 B.C., boxing in 688 B.C. and chariot racing in 680 B.C. In 648 B.C., pankration, a combination of boxing and wrestling with virtually no rules, debuted as an Olympic event.
  6. Participation in the ancient Olympic Games was initially limited to freeborn male citizens of Greece; there were no women’s events, and married women were prohibited from attending the competition.
  7. After the Roman Empire conquered Greece in the mid-2nd century B.C., the Games continued, but their standards and quality declined. In one notorious example from A.D. 67, the decadent Emperor Nero entered an Olympic chariot race, only to disgrace himself by declaring himself the winner even after he fell off his chariot during the event.
  8. The first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. In the opening ceremony, King Georgios I and a crowd of 60,000 spectators welcomed 280 participants from 13 nations (all male), who would compete in 43 events, including track and field, gymnastics, swimming, wrestling, cycling, tennis, weightlifting, shooting and fencing.
  9. The 1896 Games also featured the first Olympic marathon, which followed the 25-mile route run by the Greek soldier who brought news of a victory over the Persians from Marathon to Athens in 490 B.C. Fittingly, Greece’s Spyridon Louis won the first gold medal in the event. In 1924, the distance would be standardized to 26 miles and 385 yards.
  10. All subsequent Olympiads have been numbered even when no Games take place (as in 1916, during World War I, and in 1940 and 1944, during World War II). The official symbol of the modern Games is five interlocking colored rings, representing the continents of North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. The Olympic flag, featuring this symbol on a white background, flew for the first time at the Antwerp Games in 1920.
  11. The Olympics truly took off as an international sporting event after 1924, when the VIII Games were held in Paris. Some 3,000 athletes (with more than 100 women among them) from 44 nations competed that year, and for the first time the Games featured a closing ceremony.
  12. The Winter Olympics debuted in 1924 as well, including such events as figure skating, ice hockey, bobsledding and the biathlon.
  13. According to the IOC, the host city is responsible for, “…establishing functions and services for all aspects of the Games, such as sports planning, venues, finance, technology, accommodation, catering, media services etc., as well as operations during the Games.” Due to the cost of hosting an Olympic Games, most host cities never realize a profit on their investment. To mitigate these concerns the IOC has enacted several initiatives, agreeing to fund part of the host city’s budget for staging the Games, limiting the qualifying host countries to those that have the resources and infrastructure to successfully host an Olympic Games without negatively impacting the region or nation, and finally, requiring cities bidding to host the Games to add a “legacy plan” to their proposal. (if you’ve watched the news, Brazil’s Olympic Village, infrastructure, housing and stadiums are in shambles and abandoned)

If you really want to impress your friends, here is the long history and trivia of the winter games … I now hold the gold medal world record for the longest Olympic trivia blog post J … did you know:

  1. A predecessor to the Olympic games were the Nordic Games, organized by General Viktor Gustaf Balck in Stockholm, Sweden in 1901. Balck was a charter member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a close friend of Olympic Games founder Pierre de Coubertin.
  2. The 1916 Games, which were to be held in Berlin, Germany as a winter sports week with speed skating, figure skating, ice hockey and Nordic skiing was planned, but cancelled after the outbreak of World War I. The first Olympics after the war, the 1920 Summer Olympics, were held in Antwerp, Belgium, and featured figure skating and an ice hockey tournament.
  3. The Games proved to be a success when in France more than 250 athletes from 16 nations competed in 16 events. Athletes from Finland and Norway won 28 medals, more than the rest of the participating nations combined.
  4. Moritz, Switzerland, was appointed by the IOC to host the second Olympic Winter Games in 1928. The opening ceremony was held in a blizzard while warm weather conditions plagued sporting events throughout the rest of the Games.  Sonja Henie of Norway made history when she won the figure skating competition at the age of 15, and became the youngest Olympic champion in history, a distinction she held for 70 years.
  5. The next Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid, New York, was the first to be hosted outside of Europe. Seventeen nations and 252 athletes participated. This was less than in 1928, as the journey to Lake Placid was long and expensive for most competitors, who had little money in the midst of the Great Depression. Virtually no snow fell for two months before the Games. Eddie Eagan of the United States, who had been an Olympic champion in boxing in 1920, won the gold medal in the men’s bobsleigh event to become the first, and so far only, Olympian to have won gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
  6. World War II interrupted the holding of the Winter Olympics. The 1940 Games had been awarded to Sapporo, Japan, but the decision was rescinded in 1938 because of the Japanese invasion of China. The Games were then to be held at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, but the 1940 Games were cancelled following the German invasion of Poland in 1939. Due to the ongoing war, the 1944 Games, originally scheduled for Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy, were cancelled too.
  7. In 1948, St. Moritz became the first city to host a Winter Olympics twice. Twenty-eight countries competed in Switzerland, but athletes from Germany and Japan were not invited. Controversy erupted when two hockey teams from the United States arrived, both claiming to be the legitimate U.S. Olympic hockey representative. The Olympic flag presented at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp was stolen, as was its replacement.
  8. The Olympic Flame for the 1952 Games in Oslo, was lit in the fireplace by skiing pioneer Sondre Nordheim, and the torch relay was conducted by 94 participants entirely on skis. Norwegian athlete Hjalmar Andersen won three gold medals in four events in the speed skating
  9. In 1944, Cortina d’Ampezzo was selected to organise the 1956 Winter Olympics (the first games to be televised). At the opening ceremonies the final torch bearer, Guido Caroli, entered the Olympic Stadium on ice skates. As he skated around the stadium his skate caught on a cable and he fell, nearly extinguishing the flame. He was able to recover and light the cauldron. The Soviet Union made its Olympic debut and had an immediate impact, winning more medals than any other nation.
  10. The IOC awarded the 1960 Olympics to Squaw Valley, USA, an undeveloped resort in 1955 and built up at a cost of US $80,000,000.The opening and closing ceremonies were produced by Walt Disney, and these Olympics were the first to have a dedicated athletes’ village, the first to use a computer (courtesy of IBM) to tabulate results, and the first to feature female speed skating events.
  11. The Austrian city of Innsbruck was the host in 1964. Although Innsbruck was a traditional winter sports resort, warm weather caused a lack of snow during the Games and the Austrian army was asked to transport snow and ice to the sport venues. Soviet speed-skater Lidia Skoblikova made history by sweeping all four speed-skating events. Her career total of six gold medals set a record for Winter Olympics athletes.  Luge was first contested in 1964, although the sport received bad publicity when a competitor was killed in a pre-Olympic training run.
  12. Held in the French town of Grenoble, the 1968 Winter Olympics were the first Olympic Games to be broadcast in color. There were 37 nations and 1,158 athletes competing in 35 events. Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy became only the second person to win all the men’s alpine skiing events. The organizing committee sold television rights for US $2 million.
  13. The 1972 Winter Games, held in Sapporo, Japan, were the first to be hosted outside North America or Europe. Three days before the Games IOC president Avery Brundage threatened to bar a number of alpine skiers from competing because they participated in a ski camp at Mammoth Mountain in the United States, reasoning that the skiers had financially benefited from their status as athletes and were therefore no longer amateurs. Eventually only Austrian Karl Schranz, who earned more than all the other skiers, was not allowed to compete.
  14. The 1976 Winter Olympics had been awarded in 1970 to Denver, US, but the voters of the state of Colorado voted against public funding of the games by a 3 to 2 margin. The IOC turned to offer the Games to Vancouver-Garibaldi, British Columbia, but a change in provincial government did not support the Olympic bid, so the offer was rejected. Despite only having half the time to prepare for the Games, Innsbruck accepted the invitation to replace.  Two Olympic flames were lit because it was the second time the Austrian town had hosted the Games.
  15. In 1980 the Olympics returned to Lake Placid, which had hosted the 1932 Games, where the first boycott of a Winter Olympics took place, when Taiwan refused to participate after an edict by the IOC mandated that they change their name and national anthem because China wanted to use the same. American speed-skater Eric Heiden set either an Olympic or world record in each of the five events he competed in, breaking the record for most individual golds in a single Olympics (both Summer and Winter). Hanni Wenzel won both the slalom and giant slalom and her country, Liechtenstein, became the smallest nation to produce an Olympic gold medalist. And of course, in the “Miracle on Ice” the American hockey team comprised of college players and coach Brooks beat the favored seasoned professionals from the Soviet Union, and then went on to win the gold medal.
  16. Sarajevo, Yugoslavia hosted the games in 1984. The Games were well-organized and not affected by the run-up to the war that engulfed the country eight years later.  Host nation Yugoslavia won its first Olympic medal when alpine skier Jure Franko won a silver in the giant slalom. British free ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, skating to  Ravel’s Boléro, earned the pair the gold medal after achieving unanimous perfect scores for artistic impression.
  17. In 1988 the Canadian city of Calgary hosted the first Winter Olympics to span 16 days. New events were added in ski-jumping and speed skating; while future Olympic sports curling, short track speed skating and freestyle skiing made their appearance as demonstration sports. East German Christa Rothenburger won the women’s 1,000 metre speed skating event. Seven months later she would earn a silver in track cycling at the Summer Games in Seoul, to become the only athlete to win medals in both a Summer and Winter Olympics in the same year.
  18. The 1992 Games were the last to be held in the same year as the Summer Games. Political changes of the time were reflected in the Olympic teams appearing in France: this was the first Games to be held after the fall of Communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Germany competed as a single nation for the first time since the 1964 Games; former Yugoslavian republics Croatia and Slovenia made their debuts as independent nations; most of the former Soviet republics still competed as a single team known as the Unified Team, but the Baltic States made independent appearances for the first time since before World War II.  At 16 years old, Finnish ski jumper Toni Nieminen made history by becoming the youngest male Winter Olympic champion.
  19. In 1986 the IOC had voted to separate the Summer and Winter Games and place them in alternating even-numbered years. This change became effective for the 1994 Games, held in Lillehammer, Norway, which became the first Winter Olympics to be held separately from the Summer Games. American skater Nancy Kerrigan was injured in an assault planned by the ex-husband of opponent Tonya Harding.  Both skaters competed in the Games, but the gold medal was controversially won by Oksana Baiul, becoming Ukraine’s first Olympic champion (Kerrigan won silver).
  20. The 1998 Winter Olympics were held in the Japanese city of Nagano and were the first Games to host more than 2,000 athletes. The men’s ice hockey tournament was opened to professionals for the first time, and women’s ice hockey made its debut (the United States won the gold). Tara Lipinski of the United States, age 15, became the youngest female gold medalist in an individual event ever.  New world records were set in speed skating because of the introduction of the clap skate.
  21. The 2002 Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, US, the first to take place since the September 11 attacks of 2001, which meant a higher degree of security to avoid a terrorist attack. The opening ceremonies of the games saw signs of the aftermath of the events of that day, including the flag that flew at Ground Zero, NYPD officer Daniel Rodríguez singing “God Bless America”, and honor guards of NYPD and FDNY German Georg Hackl won a silver in the singles luge, becoming the first athlete in Olympic history to win medals in the same individual event in five consecutive Olympics.  Canada achieved an unprecedented double by winning both the men’s and women’s ice hockey gold medals.
  22. The Italian city of Turin hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics, the second time that Italy had hosted the Winter Olympic Games. South Korean athletes won 10 medals, including 6 gold in the short-track speed skating events. Sun-Yu Jin won three gold medals while her teammate Hyun-Soo Ahn won three gold medals and a bronze. In the women’s Cross-Country team pursuit Canadian Sara Renner broke one of her poles and, when he saw her dilemma, Norwegian coach Bjørnar Håkensmoen decided to lend her a pole. In so doing she was able to help her team win a silver medal in the event at the expense of the Norwegian team, who finished fourth. Claudia Pechstein of Germany became the first speed skater to earn nine career medals. Years later she tested positive for “blood manipulation” and received a two-year suspension and was precluded her from competing in Vancouver.
  23. The 2010 Winter Olympics went to Vancouver, the largest metropolitan area to host. Over 2,500 athletes from 82 countries participated in 86 events. The death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in a training run on the day of the opening ceremonies resulted in the Whistler Sliding Centre changing the track layout on safety grounds. The games were notable for the poor performance of the Russian athletes and President Dmitry Medvedev called for the resignation of top sports officials immediately after the Games.
  24. Sochi, Russia, was selected as the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the first time that Russia hosted a Winter Olympics. Over 2800 athletes from 88 countries participated in 98 events. The Games were the most expensive so far, with a cost of £30 billion (USD 51 billion). Following their disappointing performance at the 2010 Games, and an investment of £600 million in elite sport, the host nation initially topped the medal table, taking 33 medals including 13 golds.  However Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian national anti-doping laboratory, subsequently claimed that he had been involved in doping dozens of Russian competitors for the Games, and that he had had the assistance of the Russian Federal Security Service in opening and re-sealing bottles containing urine samples so samples with banned substances could be replaced with “clean” urine. A subsequent investigation concluded that a state-sponsored doping program had operated in Russia from “at least late 2011 to 2015” across the “vast majority” of Summer and Winter Olympic sports.  As of 23 December 2017, the IOC Disciplinary Commission has disqualified 43 Russian athletes and stripped 13 medals, knocking Russia from the top of the medal table, and putting Norway in the lead.

And as they say… after all this… “let the games begin!”

 

 


 

OVERTIME

(top row left) In the first season of Gordie Howe’s incredible hockey career, the Detroit Redwings played for a record six overtimes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs semifinals. (top row middle) At the 1931 US Open, Billy Burke needed four full rounds to defeat George Von Elm in what remains the longest playoff in the history of golf. (top row right) In the 1936 World Table Tennis Championship, the match lasted 59 hours. And it took over two hours for the first point to be scored. My neck is sore just thinking about watching that match. (row two) In the 1912 Olympics, Estonian wrestler Martin Klein (right) grappled for nearly 12 hours against Alfred Asikainen in the semi-finals. He was so exhausted he couldn’t wrestle in the final but Estonia still loved this guy so much they honored him with his image on their postage stamp. (row three l to r) An epic game of chess in 1989 took over 20 hours only to finish in a stalemate. Really?? See all the moves in 16 minutes HERE. (16minutes, 46 seconds) And it took over two hours for the badminton final at the 1997 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland to be decided. Watch the whole match HERE. (2 hours, 30 minutes)  (row four l to r) So, sometimes these overtime matches are too much for the fans — and the players at a long Texas Rangers game. (row five left) These folks waited four long years to get to the 2012 Olympics…for a nap. (row five right) The Kansas City Royals knocked off the Oakland Athletics 9-8 in an extra-innings Wild Card game to advance to the next round of the 2014 MLB Playoffs but this guy missed Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer’s 12th inning triple that would ultimately win it. (row six left) In 2014 a courtside seat in front of cheerleaders couldn’t keep this guy awake during a long Sixers game. (row six right) This guy was fast asleep in the fourth inning of a 2014 Red Sox/Yankees game apparently because these teams are really bOOOOOORing. See the awesome TV commentary HERE. (1 minute, 42 seconds)  (bottom) Not even a 2009 playoff game against his arch rival Eagles could keep this guy awake. Perhaps his tailgating session went into overtime??

 

It happened again.  The “big college game” was an epic battle between two powerful teams, evenly matched, and tied at the end of regulation. So, to determine a winner, the contest went into what we know as “overtime”. For me, “overtime” at the office is sort of normal.  Unlike most work crews, who track their time hourly, business owners like me, sales staff, and management typically spend more time than the traditional 8 hour day.  Add to this the 24/7 use of cell phones, email and instant messaging, a “regular work day, designed at the turn of the century, seems like a thing of the past.  With my crazy habit of coming into the office super early, I think I invented a new time of the day … “undertime” – it’s my time when I can organize my thoughts, reshuffle what’s on my day’s agenda, and address those wonderful PIA (pain in the @#$) Jobs! you send our way. I love it, and find it’s just the way I roll. I also get to play my favorite music really loud and sing along without getting reported to HR! In our KHT way, here are some fun facts and trivia about extra-long contests, and a bit about the history of the workday and overtime.  Enjoy, and special thanks to electro-mech.com, Wikipedia, MSN.com and replicon.com.

CRAZY SPORTS CONTESTS

  1. During the 2010 Wimbledon Championship, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played out a first round match of epic proportions. The American and the Frenchman were at it for 11 hours and five minutes – a mammoth 183 games across three rain-interrupted days of absorbing tennis. Isner eventually triumphed 6–4, 3–6, 6–7, 7–6, 70–68 in what is the longest match in tennis history.
  2. In baseball, the 1981 game between the Rochester Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox, in Rhode Island at the Red Sox stadium broke the record. It started at 7 pm and continued until 4:07 AM, lasting 32 innings. Oddly, the game was stopped and it didn’t start back up again for two months. It was not only the longest game in baseball history, but set the record for 60 total strikeouts, 219 total at-bats, and 14 at-bats by a single player in a game.
  3. Basketball also has its own record, set on January 6, 1951 between the Rochester Royals and the Indianapolis Olympians. While the score was 73-75, the game had six overtimes, lasting 78 minutes, (which equates to two basketball games)! Both teams, combined, had only 23 shot attempts during overtime, which is less than an average team would take in a quarter. During this game, there wasn’t any shot clock, which slowed the scoring chances.
  4. March 24, 1946 set a hockey record between the Detroit Red wings and the Montreal Maroons for the Stanley Cup Playoffs semifinal round. In the 1st game, the score was tied at ‘0’, and that led into overtime. The rule in playoffs in hockey is that games cannot end in a tie, so the teams must continue to play until someone wins. In this case, both teams played for six overtimes. Lasting 176 minutes; which is three times the duration of the average hockey game.
  5. American football also has its records. On December 25, 1971, the Miami Dolphins were playing the Kansas City Chiefs at what became the longest football game in the NFL history. The game duration was set at 82 minutes, 40 seconds; seven minutes longer than any other NFL game played. The Miami Dolphins finally won at a score of 27-24, and I am sure the attending fans were quite relieved.
  6. During their 1938/39 tour of South Africa, England played five test matches. Wally Hammond’s men won the third test, but the other four finished as draws. The last match of the series was a timeless Test (meaning the match would go on until a winner was decided) but even after 12 days (two of which were rest days) there was no result in sight and the England team had to leave in order to ensure they caught their boat back home! In full disclosure, still not sure about the whole “futbol” thing!
  7. Shiso Kanakuri, the father of Japanese marathon-running, took 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds to finish the marathon he started at the 1912 Olympics. Kanakuri went “missing” from the race after suffering from exhaustion and never finished. Years later, Swedish authorities invited him to the celebrations commemorating 55 years since the Stockholm Olympics and requested him to finish the race he couldn’t all those years ago. The affable runner duly obliged.
  8. Peter Rasmussen and Sun Jun played out an epic 124 minute badminton final at the 1997 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. In the end, the Dane triumphed 16-17, 18-13, 15-10 over his Chinese opponent to be crowned world champion.
  9. In 1912, Martin Klein, an Estonian who fought for the Russian empire at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics in Sweden, grappled for an astonishing 11 hours and 40 minutes against the then reigning world champion Alfred Asikainen in the semi-final, before winning what remains the longest wrestling match in history. Klein was so exhausted after the clash that he had to forfeit the final match against Swedish wrestler Claes Johansson and settle for the silver medal.
  10. At the 1931 US Open, Billy Burke vs. George Von Elm, Burke needed 72 holes (four full rounds) to defeat Von Elm in what remains the longest playoff in the history of golf. At the time, there was no provision for sudden death, something that is part of the game now, meaning that the Burke-Von Elm battle will remain hard to beat.
  11. Highlighting the 1936 World Table Tennis Championship in Prague, the match between Alex Ehrlich and Paneth Farcas lasted 59 hours, and it remains the longest table tennis match in history. In this epic battle, the first point itself lasted an unbelievable two hours and 12 minutes.
  12. In 2015, two 11-a-side teams from Testlands Support Project (a Southampton charity), in Southampton, 36 players played out a marathon 101-hour long match last summer to set a world record for the longest football( SOCCER FOR FOLKS LIKE ME!) match ever played, and it was all done to raise money for charity. The players took breaks to get physiotherapy, food and sleep on their way to the record books.
  13. In 1893, Andy Bowen and Jack Burke played out a marathon bout that lasted 111 rounds – each round was three minutes long – that lasted seven hours and 19 minutes until the referee called “no contest” after both men were too dazed and tired to continue.
  14. Ivan Nikolic and Goran Arsovic Belgrade played out an epic game in Belgrade Yugoslavia in 1989 that lasted 269 moves and took 20 hours and 15 minutes: it ended in a stalemate. At the time, the chess governing body FIDE had modified the fifty-move rule to allow 100 moves to be played without a piece being captured in a rook and bishop versus rook endgame, which allowed the match to go on for so long. FIDE has rescinded the rule since, meaning that the Nikolic-Arsovic record will be hard to surpass.

ON THE WORKFRONT

The concept of “overtime” as we understand it existed long before the word came into being. When the U.S. began tracking workers’ hours in 1890, it found the average workweek for a full-time manufacturing worker to be a staggering 100 hours! The inception of overtime results from the tireless efforts of labor organizations, like the National Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who simply wanted to curtail the long working hours of the average American worker.  We should all be careful pining for a return of the “good old days”