Todays TV highlights

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2002

Editors: All times EDT

Today's TV highlights

NBC, 4-5 p.m.: snowboard (men's halfpipe); luge (men's singles)

NBC 8-11:30 p.m.: Figure skating, pairs long program; women's downhill; snowboad, men's halfpipe final; luge, men's singles final; speed skating, men's 500 meters.

MSNBC, 1-4 p.m.: biathlon.

CNBC, 6-midnight: men's hockey, curling

Medals and a gathering place

Most Olympic medals are awarded during the evening at Olympic Medals Plaza, a popular place to party in downtown Salt Lake. The event is free but by ticket only -- 20,000 are available each night and the supply hasn't met the demand. Saturday night, with the Dave Matthews band as special entertainment, free tickets were being scalped for anywhere between $25 and $100.

Stats and numbers

99: percent chance that Olympic skiers will eventually have ACL problems.

Today's lesson

Utah is Mormon country, the home base for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Estimates are that 63 percent of the population of Utah is affiliated with the Mormon Church.

The Mormons, who have a mild-mannered, compassionate image today, originally were a renegade religion, as rugged and as resourceful as the West itself. Because of religious persecution, the Mormons moved westward in the mid-1800s, mainly from Illinois, Ohio and Missouri.

When the leader of the Mormon migration, Brigham Young, reached a basin area near the Great Salt Lake, he reportedly said, "This is it!" and the group settled there. The Mormon Temple, which furnishes some of the background on the TV telecasts of the 2002 Winter Olympics, was built on the spot proclaimed by Young.

Before moving toward the mainstream in the religious tapestry of America, the Mormons had a history as colorful and as wild as the West itself. We'll examine a few of their unique stories the next few days.

The famous choir

Featured at the opening ceremonies was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, one of the best-known choral groups of America. It has 320 members, all non-paid, who go through extensive testing and auditions. They sign on for terms of up to 20 years.

Neat to know

The Mormon Tabernacle was built out of leftover granite from the Temple. Mormons claim it was one of the first recycling programs in the United States.

Just curious

Is Afghanistan represented at these Olympics? Obviously, Afghan athletes have recently been extremely limited in places to practice. Afghanistan has been part of both the Winter and Summer Olympics in the past but was suspended by the International Olympic Committee in 1999 because of the ruling Taliban's reported human rights violations and treatment of women.

Pop quiz

How many times have the Winter Olympics been held in the United States? (Answer Tuesday). Sunday's answer: The last Winter Games were held in Nagano, Japan.

Story time

America had to wait 50 years for its only medal in ski jumping. At the first Winter Olympics in 1924, the U.S.'s Anders Haugen had the longest leap of the day. But style (how you look as you jump) counts in ski jumping and the judges marked him down and awarded him fourth place.

But 50 years later, somebody with not a whole lot to do discovered that the scorekeeper had messed up on the match on the points and Haugen actually finished third. At age 80, he finally received the bronze medal he deserved.

Name game

Can you recognize the Olympic country by its initials? AUT. (Answer from yesterday) GRE is Greece, the founding country of the Olympic movement.

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