Fun Facts that Bring the Olympics into Our Homes

Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Corrie Pikul

During the 2010 winter Olympics, two Canadian friends of mine had the great fortune of scoring tickets to some of the events in Vancouver. They later emailed me about sitting close enough to Johnny Weir's family to make conversation, and about how they could practically feel the ice chips in Apolo Ohno's wake as he zoomed to victory in the speed-skating finals. Oh, Canadians! How I envied them! I'm sure I'll feel the same way about the Brits next month as I watch the London summer games...from my apartment far, far away in Brooklyn.

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Lucky for me, The National Institute of Standards and Technology has put together a neat list of Olympic Fast Facts that help make the games feel a little closer to home. For example, you know the balance beam on which gymnasts flip, run, tumble and leap? It's about the width of a novel--a paperback, no less--like those strewn all over my bedroom. And the 10 meter high dive platform? Somersault-piking off that is similar to diving off the roof my three-story apartment building.

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Okay, so these pieces of Olympic trivia may not be the same as finding as a golden ticket to the games buried in the bottom of a Wheaties box, but they'll remind me of the athletes and events every time I open a book, or climb the stairs of my walk-up, or pass a pickup truck (it's the same width as the diving board).

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