When the 2012 Olympic games wraps up on Sunday, I'll have watched about 196 hours of athletic competition. Here are 8 things I've learned along the way:
1. What is an Amanar?
Named after a Russian gymnast who performed the move in 2000, the Amanar is the highest scoring, most dangerous vault. Here's how it's done: The gymnast first does a roundoff onto the board, then does a back handspring (or a back handspring with a full twist) onto the table and a flip off the table, usually with a twist. Only a handful of gymnasts can do it. When it's done well, it's an awesome thing to see. When it's not, well, it can be ugly.
WARNING: Do not try this at home.
2. What are those fluorescent yellow shoes the runners are wearing?
As a major sponsor of these Olympics, it's not surprising to see their products used. These shoes are Nike's Zoom Victory model, which says they are "incredibly lightweight, with a snug and secure fit. They are available at Amazon.com for $79, which makes them a bargain to boot.
WARNING:The bad news is ,they're so inexpensive, the old ladies will be wearing them at the mall, The good news is, you'll be about to find grammie in the dark if she get's lost.
3. Just exactly what are the gymnast spraying on the bars?
It's just plain water. It mixes with the rosin they use and creates friction, thus keeping them from slipping off the bars.
WARNING: I have a few ideas for this mix, but use your imaginations.
4. What Do the Olympic Rings represent?
The five rings symbolize the continents which sends athletes to the games. The colors (blue, yellow, black, green and red), represent the flags of the countries which participate.
WARNING: Do NOT use the Olympic rings for anything, anytime, anywhere. The IOC will know. And they won't be happy.
5. What about those little remote control cars on the infield of athletic events?
No, they're not there for entertainment. They're used to transport discuses and javelins back to the athletes. They are mini Minis- made now by BMW (another big sponsor), but have a history steeped in English tradition. Plus they are so much fun to watch!
6. Is the gold medal actually gold?
Sadly, not so much. The gold medals contain just over 1% gold, and the rest is 92.5% silver and 6.16% copper. The medals are worth $644. But they are priceless to the athletes.
'WARNING: Makes you wonder what the silver medals are made of.
7. What's that crazy tape so many athletes are wearing?
It's Kinesio tape, which, according to the manufacturer, "helps with keeping muscles taunt, and improves circulation to injured parts, as well as helping muscle fatigue and lactic acid build up". Plus it looks pretty coo!
WARNING: Studies have shown that Kinesio tape is about as helpful as the titanium necklaces that MLB players sometimes wear. But they do have a placebo effect and won't hurt you.
8. And finally…..do swimmers really pee in the pool?
Sadly yes. 'Nuf said.
WARNING: Don't even THINK about peeing in my pool!