Olympic trivia February 23

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2002

Saturday's TV listings

All times EST

MSNBC 10 a.m.-noon -- Figure skating: champions gala highlights.

NBC, 1:30-5:30 p.m. -- Hockey, men's bronze medal game. Speed skating: women's 5000.

NBC 8-11:30 p.m. -- Alpine skiing: men's slalom. Short-track speed skating: women's 1000; men's 500; men's 5000 relay. Bobsleigh: four-man, final 2 of 4 runs. Cross country: Men's 50K.

Today's Olympic lesson

Many American Olympians have been connected with food in some way during their careers.

The first pair of skis that biathlete Kristina Sabasteanski received were won in a raffle by her brother at a local fast-food restaurant. Biathlete Dan Campbell was once a bagel baker. The parents of Michelle Kwan run a Chinese restaurant in Torrance, Calif.

In order to lose weight, nordic combined skiier Todd Lodwick gave up hot tamales, Peppermint patties and Skittles. Speedskater Derek Parra eats a pack of Fig Newtons the night before every race. One of speed skater's J.P. Schilling's goals is to catch a world record tuna fish.

Stats and numbers

5,788,000: Approximate feet of toilet tissue that will be used at the Olympic Village during the Games.

Neat to know

The roots of biathlon date back to 3000 BC, which technically makes it the oldest of all Olympic winter sports.

Hair day

The most multi-colored hair of the Olympics probably belongs to Martin Rettl, the silver medalist in men's skeleton. He died his hair to represent the five colors of the Olympic flag plus the colors in the Austrian flags. He even had his hair cut into Olympics rings in the back.

Changing names

Figure-skating and short-track competitions are held at the Salt Lake Ice Center, which is actually the Delta Center, home of the Utah Jazz.

The name was changed for the Olympics because Olympic rules don't allow the competition venues to carry corporate names. Since Delta is a sponsor of these Olympics (the official airline), Olympic organizers have allowed the Delta name and logo to be seen on the outside of the arena.

Story time

There are actually three short stories today, each representing weird feats.

In 1984, Marja-Liisa Hamalainen of Finland, after winning her third Olympic gold medal in nordic skiiing, jumped over a fence to avoid Finnish reporters. The reporters jumped a fence also and a hot pursuit began. They finally caught the athlete and cornered her for comments.

In 1998 at Nagano, two-man bobsledders from Canada and Italy finished in a dead heat after 5,440 meters and four timed runs. The Canadian team of Pierre Lueders and David MacEarchern and Gunter Huber and Antonio Tartaglia of Italy were both awarded gold medals.

American freestyle aerialist Eric Bergoust wanted to be a stunt man or pilot when he grew up. As a youngster, he practiced for that by jumping off the chimney of his house and landing on mattress pads on the lawn below.

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