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Mar 30, 2015
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Olympic Trivia & Fun Facts

  1. American Myer Prinstein finished runner-up in the 1900 long jump in Paris, despite not even showing up for the finals. Prinstein sat out the finals because it was against his beliefs to participate on Sunday. Qualifying jumps counted back then so he took second on the basis of those. As legend has it, he was so angry at eventual gold-medal winning jumper Alvin Kraenzlein for competing in the finals that he punched him in the face.

  2. The 1912 Greco-Roman wrestling match in Stockholm between Finn Alfred Asikainen and Russian Martin Klein lasted more than 11 hours. Klein eventually won but was too exhausted to participate in the championship match so he settled for the silver.

  3. Did you ever wonder why the official distance of a marathon was exactly 26 miles, 385 yards? In 1908, the marathon standard had been set at exactly 26 miles. However, at the Olympic marathon in London, it was decided that the royal family needed a better view of the finish line so organizers added an extra 385 yards to the race so the finish line would be in front of the royal box. And it's been that way ever since.

  4. The five interlocking rings of the Olympic flag symbolize the five continents of the world (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas) "linked together in friendship." Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin claimed that at least one of the rings' colors (blue, yellow, black, green, and red, along with the white background) was present in each country's national flag.

  5. World record, but no gold medal: In 1924, American Robert LeGendre shattered the world long jump record with a leap of 25 feet, four inches. However, the jump was part of the pentathlon competition and LeGendre could muster only a third-place finish overall. The actual long jump competition was won with a jump of 24 feet, five inches.

  6. Stella the Fella—Poland's Stella Walsh (Stanislawa Walasiewicz)—won the women's 100-meter race at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, becoming the first woman to break the 12-second barrier. When she was killed in 1980 as an innocent victim in a robbery attempt, an autopsy declared her to be a male.

  7. Danish rider Lis Hartel won the silver medal in the 1952 equestrian dressage event in Helsinki. Hartel suffered from an inflammation of the spinal cord known as poliomyelitis, which required her to be lifted on and off her horse each time.

  8. Before there was Kerri Strug, there was Japan's Shun Fujimoto. In the men's team gymnastics competition in 1976, he actually broke his kneecap while performing in the floor exercise. The following day, however, he needed a top-notch performance in the rings for Japan to secure the gold. With no pain killers, he performed a near flawless routine and stuck the landing, putting a tremendous amount of pressure on his injured knee. He grimaced in pain as he held his position for the judges, then finally collapsed in agony. Japan won the team gold by just four tenths of a point over the Soviet Union.

  9. And you thought they just used a match. Did you know that traditionally the Olympic flame in Olympia, Greece is rekindled every two years using the sun's rays and a concave reflective mirror? (Note: This year, cloudy skies prevented the "traditional" lighting.)

  10. In 1928, reportedly six of the eight entrants in the women's 800-meter race collapsed at the finish line in an "exhausted state." Poor training methods and the brutal Amsterdam sun were the two major causes of distress. That event was subsequently cancelled until 1960.

Infoplease

Provided by Infoplease—an authoritative, comprehensive reference website that offers an encyclopedia, a dictionary, an atlas, and several almanacs. Visit Infoplease.com to find more resources endorsed by teachers and librarians.

Highlights

Children's Choice Book Awards
We love books! Encourage students to vote for their favorite children's book, author, and illustrator of the year at Funbrain and Poptropica. Teens can make their picks too. Read the complete list of nominated books, as well as related activities, and get voting!

April Calendar of Events
April is full events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: April Fool's Day (begins 4/1), Passover (begins sundown 4/3), Easter (4/5), Name Yourself Day (4/9), Encourage a Young Writer Day (4/10), Library Week (4/12-18), Volunteer Week (4/12-18), Holocaust Remembrance Day (begins sundown 4/15), Poison Prevention Week (4/15-21), Earth Day (4/22), Tell a Story Day (4/27), International Jazz Day (4/30). Plus, celebrate Deaf History Month (3/15-4/15), Mathematics Education Month, National Poetry Month, and Youth Sports Safety Month!

Teaching with Comics: Galactic Hot Dogs
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guides to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series (chapters 1-4 and 5-8), as found on Funbrain.com, will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stories.

Poptropica Teaching Guides
Poptropica is one of the Internet's most popular sites for kids—and now it's available as an app for the iPad! It's not just a place to play games; each of the islands featured on the site provides a learning opportunity. Check out our teaching guides to four of Poptropica's islands: 24 Carrot Island, Time Tangled Island, Mystery Train Island, and Mythology Island.

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