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Odyssey of Oddities
Steve Rushin
August 12, 1996
Seventeen days, 10,750 athletes and 197 nations produced a flurry of fascinating facts and figures
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August 12, 1996

Odyssey Of Oddities

Seventeen days, 10,750 athletes and 197 nations produced a flurry of fascinating facts and figures

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Continental Drifts
The first eight finishers in the men's 10,000 meters were African. Eleven of the 12 medalists in table tennis were Asian. The 12th was certainly not from Jamaica: The two-man Jamaican table-tennis team of Hyatt & Hylton (Michael and Stephen, respectively) opted for express checkout, losing all of its matches. The duo thus failed to live up to the legacy of a U.S. men's rowing pair that got silver in 1976: Coffey & Staines. (Olympic rings, indeed.)

They're Not Booing, They're...Oh, Wait a Minute, They Are Booing

The four best names to fail to make names for themselves in Atlanta were:

1) Hungarian badminton player Andrea Odor.

2) Slovakian wrestler Roman Kollar.

3) Hungarian gymnast Eszter Ovary.

4) South Korean shooter Boo Soon Hee.

Gone with the Wind...
...was the only thing set in Atlanta. On average, 9.25 track and field world records were established at each Olympics between 1968 and '80. From '84 to '96, that number shriveled to 2.25. Atlanta could conjure only two world records. As for swimming, the four world records of the Centennial Games are half as many as were set in Barcelona four years ago; they made Atlanta and Mexico City in '68 (also only four records) the hosts of the most unimposing pool parties in four decades.

Swifta, Higha, Stronga
The U.S. won the most medals (101), but the Yanks ranked 39th in medals per capita, with one for every 2,612,020 American citizens. India (one medal for its 936 million residents) finished dead last. The most densely decorated nation, with one medal for its 105,600 inhabitants, was Tonga, sport's newest powermonga.

Foulest Johns

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