Olympic trivia for February 22

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2002

Friday's TV listings

All times EST

MSNBC 1-7 p.m. -- Hockey, men: semifinal, Canada vs. Belarus. Curling, men: gold medal game, Canada vs. Norway.

NBC 4-5 p.m. -- Speed skating: men's 10,000.

CNBC 6-9 p.m. -- Hockey, men: semifinal, U.S. vs. Russia.

NBC 8-11:30 p.m. -- Figure skating: champions gala. Alpine skiing: women's giant slalom. Bobsled: four-man, first 2 of 4 runs. Nordic combined: sprint, cross country.

Today's Olympic lesson

Training techinques for Olympic sports are different from what you might think.

During the summer, aerial skiiers and ski jumpers practice with with special swimming pools. Bobsledders practice like sprinters in track. The key is developing more fast-twitch fibers, which get the nerves in gear so they can tell the muscles to move. A bobsledder has to go from a hard sprint to calming his muscles once he jumps into the sleigh.

Strength training helps for a speed skater. When a skater pushes off the ice, he wants a certain percentage of his fibers, called motor units, ready to fire. The best ones prepare about 90 percent of those fibers.

Participants in luge do a lot of situps on what looks like a large rubber beach ball. That improves control of the torso muscles, important in guiding a sled down ice.

--High tech--

There are about 5,300 computers and servers in use at various Olympic sites, including 500 used by NBC in its telecasts.

--Neat to know--

When a ski jumper is at the top of the ramp, he is not looking at the bottom. He is looking to the side at his coach, who is gauging wind conditions.

The coach signals him when to go. Even though the dropoff appears great, the jumper is usually no much more than 10 to 15 feet from the surface.

--Pop quiz--

Who was the youngest medalist ever at the Winter Olympics? (Answer Sunday).

(Yesterday's answer: Canadian bacon, chicken salad, roast beef, egg plant and pop tart are freestyle skiing terms).

--Story time--

In a preliminary hockey match in 1992, Canada and Germany ended regulation tied 2-2 and the scored remained that way after a five-man shootout. It went to a sudden death shootout.

Eric Lindros scored for the Canadians. Faced with a must-score situation, Peter Draisaiti tried to sneak the puck through goalie Sean Burke's legs. The puck landed right on the line. While the crowd waited breathlessly, it remained about an inch short of crossing the lines, which the rules require it to do to be a goal.

Maybe Draisaiti ought to take up curling.

--Name game--

Match the initial with the country it respresents: UZB (Answer Sunday).

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