If you thought you knew it all — think again

February 14, 2010|By Chris Erskine | Tribune Olympic Bureau

VANCOUVER - Some things you (probably) didn't know about the Winter Games:

•Olympic Village athletes do their own laundry.

•To be included, a sport must be practiced in at least 25 nations.

•Torch bearers, who paid $350 for the propane devices, were able to keep them when they were done.

• NBC's Olympic fanfare is called "Bugler's Dream." Its conductor? John Williams. It's composer? Leo Arnaud.

•Twenty-three U.S. team members are parents - six moms, 17 dads.

•Nearly 40 percent of participating athletes are women.

•How steep is the men's downhill course? Its vertical drop is greater than the combined heights of the Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building.

•To demonstrate how icy downhill courses are, TV analyst Billy Kidd once glided down part of a run in hockey skates

•In a recent poll, almost 60 percent of Vancouver residents said that the Olympics were a waste of money that could've gone to more important things.

•83 percent said the Olympics are designed to benefit the rich.

•Vancouver is sometimes referred to as "Vansterdam" for its live-and-let-live views on marijuana.

• Eric Heiden, winner of five gold medals, is the team doctor for the U.S. speedskaters. His father, Jack, was an orthopedic surgeon.

•Figure skaters' blades are a mere .15 inches thick, or about the diameter of a pencil eraser.

•Six U.S. athletes have ties to the military; five are bobsledders.

•At 463 pounds, the four-man sled weighs more than twice that of an average refrigerator.

•American half-piper Shaun White was named for world champion surfer Shaun Tomson.

•Among the many ways the torch traveled on its 106-day journey: aboard a Zamboni.


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