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Your lifestyle, your quirk
There are plenty of weird things going on at the Olympics, even without counting some of those outfits at the opening ceremony. Here are some quirky bits of trivia from the London 2012 Olympic Games that you can wow your friends with.
The Aquatics Center sits on what was once a prehistoric settlement. Archaeologists completed digs at the five sites for the main Olympic buildings in 2008. Four skeletons believed to be about 3,000 years old were found below where the Aquatics Center now stands. Both male and female skeletons were found in separate graves believed to be from the Iron Age. Before finding the skeletons, archaeologists also found a Roman coin, Roman river walls, WWII gun emplacements, and a full 19th century boat in the area.
According to AOL Sports News, there are panic rooms built specifically for VIP attendees in case they had to escape if a terrorist attack occurs during the opening ceremony. The number of panic rooms is undisclosed, likely for security reasons.
Before it was taken over by athletes, Olympic Park was occupied by newts. About 2,000 Great Crested Newts were relocated to a nature preserve during the construction of the park. The newts were living near the Eastway Cycle Circuit in Stratford (East London), which has been turned into the Velopark for cycling events. Before the London Development Agency could get permission to begin work on the Velopark, they had to show that they planned for the newts’ safety. They have a new home in an existing pond that was enhanced with wooden logs and foliage.
There are 10,000 temporary toilets between Olympic Park and the Athletes Village. There probably still won’t be enough to prevent lines, because 8.8 million tickets were issued for various events, plus there are 10,500 athletes. While 10,000 may not seem like a lot when compared to those numbers, US News and World Report notes that there are enough temporary toilets in Olympic Park to serve the entire population of Malta.
Police estimate 67,000 phones will be stolen during the Olympics. An average two-week period sees about 50,000 stolen phones in London, so the extra thefts will be a result of the extra people and opportunities presented by the crowds.
Anyone who tries to streak at the Olympics will face a harsh fine. Those who choose to run naked through an event can expect to pay about $31,000 (U.S.) in fines. Why so much? Organizers want to prevent streakers promoting companies who aren’t official sponsors. They may have company names or logos painted on their skin, or wear temporary tattoos of the company that pays them, not the Olympic Committee. Streakers wearing Golden Palace temporary tattoos disrupted the 2004 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Winter Games. Sponsors pay a lot of money to have their logos tied with the Games, so to protect their investments, officials will come down hard on nude runners.
The New Zealand rowing team is so afraid of catching an illness that they are staying in a bed and breakfast to avoid germs floating around the Athletes Village. They met with a hospital spokesperson about avoiding germs before they left for New Zealand. They are using plenty of hand sanitizer, avoiding air dryers in public bathrooms (according to team member Matthew Trott, they just suck, heat, and bake “crap air” on your hands), and using special three-finger techniques to open doors. Why are they so concerned about illness? Back at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, single sculler Mahe Drysdale became ill a week before the Games and finished with a bronze despite being favored for gold. Not wanting a repeat, the rowing team has become germaphobic.
There are bound to be more strange facts as the Games continue, but these strange nuggets should have you entertaining friends and colleagues as the athletes compete and Olympic fever grows more infectious.