Some cool/weird things I learned about the Olympics

[source: Esquire magazine, August 2012]

1901: Sumner Paine's shooting medal keeps him out of prison: Accused of trying to shoot his wife's lover, Paine was released when police learned of his medal and realized he'd missed intentionally.

1912: George S. Patton, future general of the U.S. Army, competes in the first modern pentathlon.

1936: American sprinter Helen Stephens wins gold in the women's hundred-meter, only to be accused of being male.  A subsequent examination confirms her to be female.  Her rival, silver medalist Stella Walsh of Poland, will reportedly be found to have testes when she is autopsied in 1980.  A few years after the Games, Dora Ratjen of Germany, who finished fourth in the women's high jump, will admit to being a man, start living as one, and change her name to Heinrich.

1948: At age seventeen, American Bob Mathias wins the decathlon–after only four months of training[!!!]

1948, 1952: Karoly Takacs, a world pistol-shooting champion from Hungary whose dominant right hand was shattered by  grenade in 1938, teaches himself to shoot with his left, then earns gold medals in the next two Olympics.

1960: When his team issued shoes that don't feel right Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila runs the marathon barefoot, and wins.

1980: The U.S. leads a boycott of the Moscow games, leaving only eighty nations to compete.  The women's field hockey competition is reduced to two teams, the USSR and Zimbabwe, which cobbled together a team in less than a week.  Zimbabwe wins.

1988: Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux abandons his second-place position in a race to rescue an injured competitor.

1988: When live doves are released during the opening ceremonies, many are burned alive by the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

No comments:

Post a Comment