10 Fun Facts About The Winter Olympics

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,

Curling, Figure Skating, Ice Hockey, Snowboarding, and Ski Jumping — oh my! I don't know about you, but I am an Olymp-addict — and I can never get enough of the Winter Olympic Games! 

Here are some fun, crazy, and intriguing facts about the Winter Olympics.

1. The very first Winter Olympic Games was held in 1924 in Chamonix, France

Officially called the "I Olympic Winter Games", or Les Iers Jeux olympiques d'hiver in French, the competitions were held at the foot of the famous Mont Blanc and Haute-Savoie between January 25 and February 5, 1924. It was held in the same year as the Summer Olympic Games, which continued until 1992. 

2. There are 15 official Winter Olympic sports

There are multiple events within each category, but there are only 15 main events. They are: 

  • Alpine Skiing 
  • Biathlon
  • Bobsleigh
  • Cross Country Skiing 
  • Curling
  • Figure Skating
  • Freestyle Skiing
  • Ice hockey
  • Luge
  • Nordic Combined 
  • Short Track Speed Skating
  • Skeleton
  • Ski Jumping 
  • Snowboard
  • Speed Skating 

3. Norway has won the most medals of ANY other country at the Winter Games

There are 10 countries that rise to the top as having the most medals, they are: 

  • Norway: 329
  • United States: 282
  • Germany: 228
  • Austria: 218
  • Soviet Union: 194
  • Canada: 170
  • Finland: 161
  • Sweden: 144
  • Switzerland: 138
  • Russia: 124

Note: The medal counts are correct as of February 7, 2018. 

4. The Winter Games held in Nagano in 1998 were interrupted because of too much snow! 

5. The Olympic medals are always designed by the host country and represent cultural elements of the country

According to the Olympic website, the medals for the 2018 Winter Olympics "range in weight from 586 grams for the gold medal to 493 grams for the bronze... They are the work of celebrated South Korean designer Lee Suk-woo, who incorporated Hangeul – the Korean alphabet and the foundation of Korean culture – into their design through a series of consonants symbolising the effort of athletes from around the world, who will come together as one to compete at PyeongChang 2018. In total, 259 sets of the medals have been made."

6. Runners do not actually pass the torch

It's true! During the torch relay, runners do not actually pass the torch that they are carrying. Only the flame is passed and each runner is allowed to keep their torch!

7. The wall's of the halfpipe in Halfpipe Snowboarding are 22 feet high! 

8. The most expensive Olympic Games cost $51 billion

At $51 billion, the 2014 Sochi Olympics are the most expensive Olympics (summer or winter) EVER.

9. There is NO talking in the bobsled during a race

For real. 


10. The five rings of the Olympic flag symbolize the five significant continents

The rings are interconnected to symbolize the friendships created during international competition, The colors were chosen because at least one of them appears on the flag of every country in the world! 

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10 Fun Facts About The Winter Olympics
Fun Facts About The Winter Olympics

Reads For The Road: "The Wave" by Susan Casey

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,

I will be the first to admit that the science section of any bookstore can be a bit intimidating.

Most of the books there are by someone with "Ph.D." after their name and are written in a language that may as well be Greek to me. 

Luckily, Susan Casey writes in a language that I have no problem understanding. 

Waves are not measured in feet and inches, but in increments of fear
— Buzzy Trent, Surfer

In The Wave, Casey (an author, journalist and former editor-in-chief of O, The Oprah Magazine), takes readers with her as she travels the globe trying to learn the dangerous secrets of the ocean and the elusive ship-swallowing, hundred foot wave.

Her book moves between the unbelievable world of professional surfers — who use experience, instinct, and lessons learned by ancient cultures in order to read the water — and the scientific world, that tries to predict the disturbing wave activity of our ailing planet, using equations and logic. 

Fascinating, terrifying, exciting, enlightening, and unbelievable — this read is a ride into a world that will give you a newfound respect for the people that are a part of it. 

Well worth venturing into the science section!

Quiz: Which Book Should I Read Next?

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,

which book should I read next quiz

Is your New Year's resolution to read more? Are you looking for something interesting to read on your next trip? Or, have you just finished a book and want to try something new? 

Take our quiz below to see which book you should read next! 

Looking for more great ideas?

Check out The Anthrotorian's Book Reviews in 25 words or less! (Tip: If you click the book title, it will take you to the full review.) 

Reads For The Road: "The Witches of New York" by Ami McKay

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,

This is one of those books that weaves you into its spell and has such interesting and dynamic characters that you are heartbroken when the story ends because you so badly want to continue to be a part of their lives. 

Yup, it's a page-turner. 

Ami McKay's third book (she is also the author of the bestselling novels The Birth House and The Virgin Cure), The Witches of New York takes place in 1880, two hundred years after the Salem witch trials.

It is a time when some still believe in the supernatural, others find truth in science, and then there are those that think the only way to live is under the rules of strict religious practices. The narrative follows three magical women who are figuring out their power in this world, and the people that move in and out of their story. 

It is an enchanting tale that is equally maddening in the historically unfair treatment that they face as women, and delightful when they discover their power and use it to protect each other. 

This is a fantastic read, perfect for the plane or a day at the beach!  

Reads For The Road: "The Improbability of Love" by Hannah Rothschild

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,

When Annie finds and purchases a small, dingy painting hiding in the corner of a junky antique shop, she has no idea that it is about to expose her to some of Europe's darkest secrets — if you are hunting for the perfect beach read that is smart, entertaining, and well-written I've found it! 

Don't let the title of this book fool you (I was almost fooled), The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild is not a sappy romance. Though there is a romantic element running through the book, the title is actually the name of the painting that various storylines in the novel revolve around.

With a focus on Annie who, by no choice of her own, is single and living alone in London, the narrative is beautifully woven around the lives of multiple different fascinating characters who all play a part in the re-discovery of a famous work of art. The story will take you into the minds of these characters, who are all going through some major life changes, and into the depths of London's secret art and auction-house world. 

Rothschild is a talented writer who does a great job of creating complex and unique identities for her characters — there are one or two in this book that I would love to meet! 

And, of course, there is a travel element in the story, which offers some beautiful descriptions of one of my favourite parts of travelling — spontaneity and the realization that there are so many different ways to live in the world. 

The chatter of boys playing cricket in the street drifted up through the open window; a tea seller called out; strange birds rose above the honking cars and bicycle bells; a broom scraped rhythmically in the passage outside her room. Annie lay there, her mind blank and her emotions strangely abated. This abandonment of time felt almost wicked; a new and entirely foreign thought occurred to her — perhaps there were other ways to live.
— page 142 of "The Improbability of Love"

It is definitely a page-turning work, and a lovely summertime indulgence!

10 Things That Are Illegal In Singapore

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,

Singapore is known for having very strict laws and a zero-tolerance policy, which is why the country has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. 

But some of the things that are considered illegal are, well, kind of normal — especially to a visitor. Avoid getting fined or arrested by NOT doing the following ten things.  

1. Chewing Gum

Yup, you read that right. It is against the law to buy, sell, or chew gum. In fact, according to the Singapore Customs website, it is prohibited to even bring it into the country unless it is "oral dental and medicated gum [approved] by the Health Sciences Authority."

2. Smoking & Tobacco Products

A lot of countries now heavily monitor where people are allowed to smoke, but in Singapore, it is prohibited in basically any public place. In other words, don't smoke unless you are locked in a room by yourself. 

According to the Singapore Customs website, it is also prohibited to bring in chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, shisha, smokeless tobacco products, dissolvable tobacco, topical products like Nicotine patches, and basically anything else that could possibly contain nicotine or tobacco of any kind.

3. Nudity

Not only is it illegal be nude in public, you can be fined up to $2,000 and be put in jail for up to three months if you are nude in your own home and someone catches a glimpse of you through the window! 

According to the government website, “Any person who appears nude in a public place; or in a private place and is exposed to public view, shall be guilty of an offense.” Make sure the curtains are closed before changing into your pajamas! 

4. Spitting

If you are caught spitting in a public place expect a fine of about $1,000!

5. Littering

Dropping anything on the ground (even by mistake) can lead to fines of between $300 to $1,000 for first-time offenders. This includes birdseed and bread crumbs too, so don't even think about feeding the birds! 

6. Vandalism 

This is a serious offense in the country but doesn't just refer to the destruction of property or graffiti. Hanging posters advertising a concert, banners for a festival, or flags is also prohibited. Penalities include fines and even jail time in more extreme cases.

7. Drugs

This isn't a surprise, right? Drugs are illegal in most countries. But Singapore takes things up a notch.

The country's police are authorized to run a random drug test on both locals and visiting foreigners WHEREVER THEY WANT TO. If you are in the country and you test positive, even if you didn't take the drugs in Singapore, you're looking at some serious jail time.  

8. Jaywalking

Unless you are in a marked crosswalk, DO NOT CROSS THE STREET.

Police are authorized to give you a $20 fine on the spot, a $1,000 fine that you will have to pay later, or up to three months in jail — it is the individual officer's decision which one you get. So ya, use a crosswalk. 

9. Connecting To Someone Else's WiFi 

Using a Wifi signal, even if it is an open signal, is considered hacking unless you have permission to use it. This is a serious offense that is punished with a $10,000 fine and even jail time.

10. Drinking or Eating On The Metro

Eating or drinking anything (even water) on the public transit system is prohibited and, you guessed it, will result in a fine if you are caught. 

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