2012 Summer Olympics

Here is a slew of info we have gathered for ya. Enjoy! – Justin

MARY POPPINS, MEET LORD VOLDEMORT: Rumors are flying about the secret plans for tonight’s opening ceremony ( July 27, 2012) of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. There’s word that Peter Pan may descend from Neverland, or that James Bond may jump out of a helicopter, or maybe both.

We do know that it will be a $41 million spectacle called “Isles of Wonder,” and Sir Paul McCartney will be just one of 10,000 people who will perform. Lord Voldemort and Mary Poppins are expected to drop in, too. For some reason, 70 sheep and some chickens, cows, goats and geese also will be at center stage at some point. TheU.S. delegation will, of course, be walking in the Parade of Nations.

If you want to catch the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics, tune in at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Friday, 7/27/12) on NBC, which has the broadcast rights.

CRAZY OLYMPIAN DIETS: Olympic athletes have it good. They HAVE to stuff themselves with junk food — out of fear that they’ll lose weight! Dr. Michael Joyner, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who conducts studies of endurance athletes, said that, “In your super-high-calorie-burning sports, like distance running, cycling or the triathlon, elite athletes can burn 15 or 20 calories a minute.” These workouts can burn 4,000 to 6,000 calories, which “have to be replenished if you want to train again the next day.” To refuel, dinner consists of things like a pound of pasta with olive oil (about 800 calories), a dozen eggs (840 calories), an entire cheese pizza (about 2,000 calories) and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s cheesecake-brownie ice cream (1,000 calories). These foods were described by dietitians and officials who work with Olympians as common training-table choices for elite endurance athletes, particularly men. Plus beer (about 150 calories a bottle). (NY Times)

10 MUST-WATCH OLYMPIC EVENTS (Men’s Health)

THE EVENT: Phelps vs. Lochte in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley
WATCH IT: July 28 at 2:30 p.m. ET*
THE BUZZ: In the first of four (likely) head-to-head swims, Michael Phelps — arguably the greatest swimmer in Olympic history — takes on teammate and rival Ryan Lochte, who is considered the new face of American men’s swimming. So who will prevail inLondon? It’s anyone’s guess. Lochte edged Phelps in this event during Olympic trials last month before losing to Phelps in their next three qualifying contests.

THE EVENT: Women’s Gymnastics Team Final
WATCH IT: July 31 at 11:30 a.m. ET*
THE BUZZ: These petite powerhouses are always fun to watch, and thisU.S. team should be the strongest in two decades. Anything but a gold medal would be disappointing. Keep an eye onAmerica’s two brightest 16-year-old stars, Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber. Either could also take home individual all-around gold.

THE EVENT: Usain Bolt Sprints for Another Gold in the 100m
WATCH IT: August 5 at 4:50 p.m. ET*
THE BUZZ: Jamaican Usain Bolt torched the world and Olympic records and humiliated his competitors en route to his gold medal win at the 2008 games. Three years after beating his own record with a time of just 9.58 seconds at the 2009 World Championships, everyone’s wondering if Bolt can strike again (and break the 9.50 barrier) in London.

THE EVENT: Missy Franklinin the 200m Backstroke
WATCH IT: August 3 at 2:30 p.m. ET*
THE BUZZ: The 17-year-old high school senior will likely be the first American woman to compete in seven different Olympic swimming events. The 200m backstroke is her strongest event and her best shot at gold — during the Olympic trials, she swam the fastest time in the world this year.

THE EVENT: Claressa Shields and the Debut of Women’s Boxing
WATCH IT: First Middleweight Matches, August 5 at 10:30 a.m. ET*
THE BUZZ: Women’s Boxing will make its Olympic debut inLondon, and so will 17-year-old Claressa Shields. TheFlint,Michigan native — who has been pounding women five and 10 years her senior — will compete in the middleweight division. Prepare to be surprised.

THE EVENT: The ‘Blade Runner’ Chases Gold in the 400m
WATCH IT: August 6 at 4:30 p.m. ET*
THE BUZZ: Dubbed the ‘blade runner,’ double-amputee Oscar Pistorius lost his legs from the knees down when he was 11 months old. After a lot of debate about whether his prosthetic legs give him an unfair advantage, Pistorius has been cleared to compete in the 400m for his nativeSouth Africa.

THE EVENT: Allyson Felix in the 200m
WATCH IT: August 8 at 4 p.m. ET*
THE BUZZ: In one of the most controversial finishes in Olympic-trial history, Allyson Felix was granted the third and final American slot in the 100m sprint after her friend Jeneba Tarmoh conceded the race. (Felix and Tarmoh finished in a dead heat for third place, which prompted Olympic officials to schedule an ill-conceived runoff until Tarmoh conceded.) Though Felix probably won’t win the 100m, she is one of the favorites in the 200m. She’s won nine gold medals in the 200m in world competition, but has finished in second place at the last two Olympics — both times to Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown.

THE EVENT: U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Heads for Gold
WATCH IT: Next game is July 28 at 12 p.m. ET*
THE BUZZ: After winning gold in Beijing, the U.S. Women’s soccer team will look to repeat in London — this time with header-extraordinaire Abby Wambach on the field. Wambach missed the 2008 games with a broken leg, and her team fell just short of winning last year’s World Cup when it lost in the final toJapan.

THE EVENT: U.S. Men’s Basketball Shoots for the Repeat
WATCH IT: First game starts July 29 between 4 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET*
THE BUZZ: With arguably the best center and point guard in the world out with injuries, can the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team repeat as world champions? The loss of both Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose will hurt. But Coach Mike Krzyzewski will try to ride an impressive crop of stars including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Paul to another gold-medal finish.

THE EVENT: U.S.Men’s Water Polo On a Mission
WATCH IT: Gold Medal Game, August 12 at 10:50 a.m. ET*
THE BUZZ: The U.S. hasn’t won a gold medal in men’s water polo since 1904. The team was favored to win gold inBeijing, but came up just short and took home silver. Can the Americans come through inLondon?

LONDON OLYMPICS TRIVIA (Guy-Sports.com)

Olympic cities (not countries) are chosen by secret ballot, so we’re not sure howLondonbeatParisfor the 2012 Summer Olympics. Some blame French President Jacques Chirac, who insultedBritainbefore the vote by saying, “AfterFinland, it’s the country with the worst food.”France’s bid wasn’t getting British support anyway, butFinlandhad two IOC members, and some speculate that they were swing votes in the 54-50 outcome.

At the 1948 games inLondon, the English national anthem, (God save the King) was played only three times: at the opening and closing ceremonies and when Princess Elizabeth arrived at the stadium for the first time. This was 477 times fewer than the German anthem had been played in the 1936 games held inBerlin.

The first Paralympic Games was held atLondonin 1948. The name “Paralympics” comes from the words “Parallel” and “Olympics”.

The reason the extra yards were added to the running distance of the marathon to make the total length a rather strange figure of 26 miles and 385 yards was because of the rather whimsical demand of Queen Alexandra of Great Britain, who demanded, in 1908, that the marathon should end below the royal box at London’s White City Stadium, which added the extra 385 yards.

The only Olympian ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was Philip Noel-Baker ofGreat Britain, who won the silver in the 1500 metres in 1920.

The only female competitor not to have to submit to a sex test at the 1976 Summer Olympics was Princess Anne of theUK, who was competing as a member of theUKequestrian team. As the daughter Queen Elizabeth II, such a test was seen as inappropriate.

The Olympics of 1904 were appointed toChicago. However,St. Louisblackmailed the IOC with the threat to organise a competing series of sport events if the Games would not instead be held inSt. Louistogether with their World’s Fair. The IOC gave in, andChicagostill wait for their chance to host the Olympics.

The gold medals won by British runners Harold Abrahams in the 100 meters and Eric Liddell in the 400 in the Paris 1924 Olympics were chronicled in the 1981 Academy Award-winning film ‘Chariots of Fire.’

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION

How far back can you go naming the citites that have hosted the summer Olympics?

A: Rio de Janeiro 2016
London 2012
Beijing 2008
Athens 2004
Sydney 2000
Atlanta 1996
Barcelona 1992
Seoul 1988
Los Angeles 1984
Moscow 1980
Montreal 1976
Munich 1972
Mexico City 1968
Tokyo 1964
Rome 1960
Melbourne 1956
Helsinki 1952
London 1948
Berlin 1936
Los Angeles 1932
Amsterdam 1928
Paris 1924
Antwerp 1920
Stockholm 1912
London 1908
St Louis 1904
Paris 1900
Athens 1896

SYMBOLS AND REASONS TO WATCH THE OLYMPICS

The winter Olypmics haved arrived. Here’s some insightful info and some reasons to watch the games.

The Olympic Rings
Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic Games, designed the Olympic Rings as a symbol to encourage world unity. The five rings represent the five continents, however the colors do not correspond to specific continents. The rings are interlaced to show the university of Olympism and the meeting of the athletes of the world during the Olympic Games.
Coubertin first presented the rings in a flag in June 1914 in Paris at the Olympic Congress. Due to the First World War, the flag and its five rings were not displayed in an Olympic stadium until 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium.

The Medals
The medals — gold, silver, and bronze — represent the highest levels of athletic achievement at the Games. The design of the medal varies with each Olympic Games and they are the responsibility of the host city’s organizing committee. Olympic medals must be at least 60 millimeters in diameter and at least three millimeters thick. Gold and silver medals must be made of 92.5 percent pure silver; the gold medal must be gilded with at least six grams of gold.

Torch & Flame
One of the most enduring symbols of the Olympic Games is the Olympic flame. The flame made its first appearance at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games and since then the lighting of the flame has become a major focal point of every Opening Ceremonies. The concept of lighting a flame for the duration of the Games comes from the ancient Greeks, who used a flame lit by the sun’s rays at Olympia – the site of the original Olympic Games.

REASONS TO WATCH THE WINTER OLYMPICS

Yahoo Sports has some pretty compelling reasons…

• Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, or as you can call him, the Snow Leopard. Kwame is Ghana’s first Winter Olympian, and will be competing in Alpine skiing. How easy is he to love? “No problem. Choo, choo, I’m the train which never stops,” he was quoted as saying. How did he get his nickname? Kwame is being sponsored by an online poker site, and any extra money he makes will be donated to save endangered snow leopards from extinction.

• Go to Sports Illustrated, find pictures of Lindsey Vonn, and smile. She’s the world’s best Alpine skier, she is American and she is absolutely beautiful, and not in that “she’s an athlete so she is pretty for an athlete” kind of way. Nope, this is “she walks in a bar and your buddy is going to nudge you” hot. But it isn’t her looks that might make her a star. Vonn could win four gold medals in Vancouver. Now that’s hot.

• You think NASCAR is fast? Take one night to watch skeleton. Seriously. For all the talk about obscure sports in the Olympics, the fact that people actually practice (and become good) at skeleton is insane. It’s like how Jerry Seinfeld used to joke about the luge, only tougher, faster and with more risk.

• He was the face of American sports in Turin, and Apolo Ohno will again be competing for medals in speedskating with the flash that has made him a face to remember. He might be 27, but he is still skating well, and needs one more medal to beat Eric Heiden for most by an American man. How is the outlook? In trials, Ohno won the finals in the 500 meter, the 1000 meter and the 1,500 meter, although he came in second in time trails to J.R. Celski in the 1,000 meter.

• For Shaun White and his continued dominance in snowboarding. If you didn’t watch the X-Games, you missed White’s brutal practice crash that even left White in awe after watching his face catch the edge of the halfpipe. White will have tricks in his bag for this event, and anytime he’s in the air, your television should be tuned in.

• For the curling. Did you know it’s becoming more popular? There are 154 curling clubs in the United States, and like adult kickball, it’ll be gaining popularity. Also, like modern art, curling is one of the few sports people at home on their couch can look at and think to themselves, “Heck, I could do this.” That is, until you try and play it.

• To actually utter these words for the first time in years: “I’m watching NBC, and I like it!”

• To watch Roberto Carcelén, the first Winter Olympian from Peru. He will be competing in cross-country skiing, but his story on how it all worked out is probably the best you’ll hear from Vancouver. Carcelén was planning on running a marathon in the United States, and decided to get online to meet some people before heading to America. Instantly, he met Kate, and the marathon was history. They met in March of 2003, were married in July, and Kate introduced Roberto to skiing. After watching the ’06 Winter Olympics, Carcelén vowed to become the first Peruvian in the Winter Games.

• Talk about pride… India’s Shiva Keshavan is the only Olympian from the populous country, but wasn’t going to be able to compete because his sled broke and he didn’t have the scratch to fix it. No worries. Five Indian businessmen heard about the luger’s troubles, tossed in $10,000 each and now he is in the field in Vancouver.

• To see Bode Miller drop the crazy act and just ski. Miller is competing in all five Alpine events in Vancouver, even though, you know, he hasn’t even trained for two of them. Call him what you will, Miller will be a big draw at Vancouver.

• To see Canada  win gold in hockey.

• To make fun of the American’s outfits for the Opening Ceremony