More than 100 years ago, a French sports journalist suggested the idea of organizing a 6-day cycling race to the editor of a local newspaper to boost sales – because he couldn’t think of any other idea. That race was called Tour de France – it’s now the most prestigious bicycle race in the world.
When the Pope visited Arizona in 1987, 75,000 attended mass at a local university’s stadium. The name of the stadium and the image of the mascot had to be covered because their mascot is the devil holding a pitchfork and the stadium’s name was Sun Devil Stadium.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Lithuanian basketball team couldn’t afford to participate in the 1992 Olympics, so the Grateful Dead funded the team’s expenses, and the team wore tie-dye uniforms.
A 3,100-mile ultramarathon takes place around a single Queens NYC block. Runners have 52 days to run the route 5,649 times during which many experience out-of-body hallucinations. Only 43 people have ever finished.
2000 Olympics gold medal winner, swimmer Antony Ervin decided to retire at 22. It didn’t go so well, as he begun abusing drugs. However, in 2011 he got back into swimming, and at the 2016 Olympics became the oldest swimmer to win a gold medal.
Some marathon runners elect to have their toenails permanently removed. Their level of running causes friction on the toes and results in toenails routinely becoming damaged and detached. To circumvent chronic nail wounds, some people just get rid of them entirely.
A maximum-security prison in Uganda has a soccer league (run and played by prisoners), with an annual soccer tournament. The tournament is taken very seriously; they have a uniforms, referees, cleats, and a 30-page constitution. The winning team gets prizes such as soap, sugar, and a goat.
When the 1980 US hockey team was playing the USSR in a pre-Olympics exhibition, it was revealed during the game that a Soviet player had a gun under his jersey. The “player” was a KGB agent used to prevent players from defecting to the West.
During the 1936 Berlin Olympics, two Japanese pole vaulters who tied for second place refused to participate in a tie-breaker. Upon returning to Japan, they cut their medals in half and fused them to one another so each athlete ended up with a half-silver, half-bronze medal.