50 More Random Sports Facts You Never Knew

Zack Pumerantz@z_pumerantzAnalyst IIIMarch 22, 2012

50 More Random Sports Facts You Never Knew

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    The intricate world of sports has yet to be fully understood or completely mastered, but it has always surprised and intrigued its inhabitants.

    The physical and passionate nature of the athletic domain has been shadowed by a vast collection of unique facts, an endless list of arbitrary, yet fascinating pieces of information regarding fields of play, competitions or historical backgrounds.

    There truly is no limit to what we have yet to learn about the wide world of athletics.

    Allow yourselves the chance to enhance your knowledge and take a look at 50 more random facts about sports that you never knew.

    Also featuring some elegant photography to please the eyes.

    Enjoy the refreshing taste.

50. An Abundance of Arrows

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    Archery is the national sport in Bhutan, a Buddhist country in Asia.

    Elephants beware of these world-class marksmen.

49. Gym Rats

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    "Each year, 30,000 people are seriously injured by exercise equipment."

    But only about 30 pieces of equipment are actually convicted.

48. Hole in None

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    "125,000 golf balls a year are hit into the water at the famous 17th hole of the Stadium Course at Sawgrass."

    Perhaps it's time for an underwater putting green.

47. Ruling the Hockey Crease

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    Before 1917, goalies (in hockey) were not allowed to fall to the ice to make saves or else they were penalized.

    Dominik Hasek made a brilliant career out of dropping to the ice.

46. Learning the Hands

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    There are 2,598,960 possible hands in a five-card poker game.

    As if it couldn't get any more complicated.

45. Running for Lives

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    "In 1970, 127 runners ran the NY Marathon. In 1998, 32,000 did."

    The good old baby boom.

44. Gone with the Wind

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    "Guinea Pig" or "Wind-Dummy" is a person who is set out to see if the wind is suitable for kitesurfing.

    Easily one of the most glamorous, respectable positions in all of sports.

43. Planning for the Future

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    The Houston Astrodome was the first baseball stadium to have a roof over its playing field.

    Everything is drier in Texas as well...no rain delays for these lucky fans.

42. The Name Game

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    "Bulgaria was the only soccer team in the 1994 World Cup in which all 11 starters' last names ended with the letters 'OV.'"

    Team unity perfected.

41. The Unfortunate Numbers

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    "22.8 percent of golfers are women."

    Not really loving that ratio with beauties like Natalie Gulbis and Anna Rawson perusing courses around the world.

40. A Tale of One Kingdom

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    "Norway has won the most medals (263) at the Winter Games."

    As the second-least densely populated country in Europe, Norway evidently offers its competitors plenty of room to hone and prepare.

    And it's certainly paid off.

39. Korfing Up the Ball

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    "Korfball is the only sport played with mixed teams, consisting of 4 men and 4 women."

    It's undoubtedly an internal battle every time.

38. Historical Balls

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    In 1986 yellow balls were used at Wimbledon for the first time to make them visible for the TV cameras.

    Just like short skirts were seemingly popularized the moment Anna Kournikova first approached the tennis court.

37. Spending Wisely

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    Americans spend more than $630 million a year on golf balls.

    At least it's not McDonalds.

36. Splitting Hairs

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    "No country in the Southern Hemisphere has ever hosted a Winter Games."

    We wouldn't want to disturb its tranquil environment.

35. Racket Makings

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    Catgut, used in the making of tennis racket strings, is made out of the intestines of various animals.

    But not cat—sorry for the scare.

34. Nature's Demands

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    "Gymnasiums were introduced in 900BC and Greek athletes practiced in the nude to the accompaniment of music. They also performed naked at the Olympic Games."

    That adds a bit of intrigue to the awe-inspiring competitions. We'd certainly have plenty more to analyze.

33. Trading Places

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    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, houses the largest collection of baseball cards: over 200,000.

    Looks like Thomas Crown was going after the wrong artifacts.

32. Patriotic Stats

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    "The United States has won more medals (2,189) at the Summer Games than any other country."

    Americans love the dripping atmosphere of the warm summer months.

31. The Missing Piece

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    "A total of 63 errors were made in the 1886 World Series."

    We'd like to believe gloves were permanently integrated shortly after.

30. Wooden Legacy

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    "Tiger Woods is the first and only athlete to have been named 'Sportsman of the Year' by magazine Sports Illustrated two times."

    He's next in line for role model of the year as well.

29. Knock on Wood

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    Michael Sangster of England served 154 mph in 1963 with a wooden racket.

    Take that, Andy Roddick.

28. Spring Training Gains Its Image

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    Spring training isn't called spring training because of the time of year it takes place. It has to do with the fact that the 1885 White Sox decided to practice in Hot Springs, Arkansas before the start of the season.

    Brilliant coaching...some might call it relaxation training, others a distraction, but we love it.

27. Fully Prepared for the Descent

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    "In 1975 Junko Tabei from Japan became the first woman to reach the top of Everest."

    We've been trying to push the amazing essence of sushi for a while now...finally we have statistical proof that it is the greatest edible creation.

26. The First Tee-off

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    Dr. George F. Grant received U.S. patent number 638,920 on December 12, 1899 for the golf tee. His creation would eliminate the "physically taxing...and messy" aspect of setting up a ball on wet dirt.

    Our laundry machines are quite thankful.

25. Unlikely Beginnings

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    Karate first started in India and spread to China before reaching Japan in the 1600s.

    Perhaps martial arts would be a stellar addition to any cricket match.

24. The History of Substance Abuse

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    Olympic testing of athletes for anabolic steroids began in 1976.

    Steroid use was a trend that never truly faded.

23. Improving the Diamond

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    "Bill Veeck, former owner of the Cubs, hired midgets to serve food in the stands. His reasoning was that no fans would have their views of the field blocked."

    And he's remembered best for sending one to the plate.

22. Gridiron Monikers

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    "Because of a football's resemblance to an olive, the Chinese often call the American game of football 'olive ball.'"

    Quite the demented olive, though.

21. Power and Precision on the Green

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    "The longest drive ever is 515 yards. The longest putt ever is a monstrous 375 feet."

    We're ready for Happy Gilmore to take the stage.

20. The Science of Pole-Vaulting

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    A pole vaulter, when he lands, may absorb up to 20,000 pounds of pressure per square inch on the joints of his tubular thigh bones.

    Precise wording makes that sound much more intense.

19. Hardwood Victory

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    "According to manufacturer Spalding, the average lifespan of an NBA basketball is 10,000 bounces."

    It's an improvement from a baseball, which has a lifespan of seven pitches. Disgraceful.

18. An Actor's Past

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    Robert Redford attended the University of Colorado on a baseball scholarship.

    But he was evidently more of a natural with a bottle of suds than he was with the bat, as he allegedly lost his scholarship due to inebriation.

17. Racing Mysteries

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    Racecar driver Lee Petty once left a pitstop and did a full lap with his son Richard still on the hood.

    The experience surely made Richard Petty the brilliant driver he would soon become.

16. The Strange World of Baseball

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    A Portsmouth, Ohio law ranks baseball players with "vagrants, thieves and other suspicious characters."

    Yeah, that pretty much sums up baseball right there.

15. A Promising Start

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    "Fidel Castro was once a star baseball player for the University of Havana."

    Perhaps football could have offered a better anger release.

14. Ali Stings Across the World

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    "[Muhammad Ali] won his heavyweight championships on three continents: North America, Asia and Africa."

    We weren't sure butterflies could float that far.

13. Texturous Changes

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    Before 1850, golf balls were made of leather and were stuffed with feathers.

    At least the feathers would help the ball fly.

12. Golf's Monetary Issues

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    "...300 million balls are lost or discarded in the United States alone, every year."

    We've finally solved the financial crisis.

11. Slick in Every Aspect

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    Elvis Presley was a black belt in karate.

    There were certainly hints during his memorable performances...

10. Kicking and Screaming in History

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    Brazil is the only country to have played in every World Cup soccer tournament.

    Their fans are quite appreciative.

9. Victory Munch

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    The ancient Greeks awarded celery to winners of sports events.

    No calories...so that's how they kept their competitors in peak physical shape.

8. Mastering Martial Arts

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    Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido, once pinned an opponent using only a single finger.

    Soon enough, grasshopper, you will find your Zen.

7. Remembering a Toy's Ability

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    Around the 16th century the Yo-Yo was used by Filipino tribesmen to stun invading marauders.

    Uh, isn't it still used for that?

6. Pyramid Proclivities

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    There are more head and spinal injuries from cheerleading than all other high school and college sports combined.

    Can't say that's surprising.

5. Health Issues in Crunch Time

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    Scientists have found evidence that heart attacks increase significantly for people who watch penalty shootouts.

    So, basically, we live for the moment that kills us.

4. Not Calling These Signals

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    Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has been struck by lightning twice in his life.

    But the hairless wonder of the world has the phenomenal scalp to withstand any such force. Perhaps the clouds have had enough of his brother's obnoxious football analysis too (yeah, we feel that).

3. What a Babe

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    Babe Ruth once hit 125 home runs in an hour during batting practice.

    It's all about the beer and hot dogs.

2. Gridiron Intricacies

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    The huddle in football was formed due a deaf football player who used sign language to communicate and his team didn't want the opposition to see the signals he used and in turn huddled around him.

    But most teams have yet to master the art of listening to their quarterback.

1. The Legendary 44

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    When Henry Aaron hit his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth's record, the pitcher who served it up was Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers. They were both wearing No. 44.

    Ah, the curious oddities of the baseball world. Watch out for that drool creeping down the side of your mouth.


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