The Pryor Times

Opinion

February 12, 2014

Who’s defeat was agony?

PRYOR, OK — Q: During the credits of ABC's "Wide World of Sports," the visual during the phrase "the agony of defeat" was of a man falling off a ski jump. Who was he? What happened to him? -- B.V., Elmira, N.Y.

A: The featured man is Vinko Bogataj, a Yugoslav ski jumper. The accident happened during the Ski-flying World Championship in West Germany on March 7, 1970.  He did not suffer any serious injuries from the mishap and lives and coaches in Slovenia.  

During the Cold War era, contact with the outside world was limited; for many years Bogataj had no idea he was a cult icon in the United States. It was no wonder that he was surprised when ABC Sports invited him to the show's 20th anniversary party in 1981. In attendance were many notable sports figures, including Muhammad Ali, asking for his autograph. It wasn't until then that Bogataj learned of his celebrity.

Q: How many times have the Winter Olympics been held in the U.S.? -- M.L., Canton, Ohio

A: The Winter Olympics have been held in the United States four times. The Games were held in Lake Placid, N.Y., in 1932 and 1980. In 1960, Squaw Valley, Calif., hosted the games; in 2002, Salt Lake City had them.

Q: What was the last year that the Winter and Summer Games were held in the same year? -- O.N.F., Montclair, N.J.

A: In 1992, the Summer Games were held in Barcelona and the Winter Games were in Albertville, France. The next Winter Olympics were held in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway.

Q: Which athlete has won the most Winter Olympic medals? How many? -- G.L.C., Seattle

A: Bjorn Daehlie of Norway won eight gold medals and four silver medals as a cross-country skier, giving him the record for both the most medals won and the most gold medals won.  

The most decorated American Winter Olympian is short track speedskater Apolo Ohno, who won a total of eight medals: two gold, two silver and four bronze. Speedskater Bonnie Blair is the most decorated female American Winter Olympian.

Q: My ultimate thrill as a skier was skiing the moguls. I never understood why there were called that. Do you know? -- J.V.N., Brattleboro, Vt.

A: The word "mogul" comes from the Austrian word "mugel," which means "small hill" or "mound."

Q: In one of the many Winter Olympics trivia lists I have read, it claims American skier Lindsey Vonn once won a cow as a prize. I could accept this had it been when she was very young participating in local competition. -- M.U., Madison, Wisc.

A: Vonn received a cow as one of her prizes after she won her first gold medal at the World Championships at Val D'Isere, France, in 2005. The cow's name is Olympe. The cow wasn't actually the prize, it was part of a promotional stunt by a local cheese manufacturer, which was expecting Vonn to trade the cow for a check. Vonn told the manufacturers to keep the check and give her the cow. Olympe resides in Kirchberg, Austria, with her two offspring.

Q: Who was the youngest individual Olympic gold medalist at the Winter Games? How about the oldest? -- T.H., Tacoma, Wash.

A: American figure skater Tara Lipinski brought home the gold at age 15 years, 255 days at the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan.  

The oldest competitor to win a gold medal is Scottish curler Robin Welsh in 1924 at the Games in Chamonix, France. Welsh was 54 years, 101 days old when he won.

There is a fun twist to this answer, though. The oldest man to receive a Winter Olympics medal was Anders Haugen (1888-1984), who was 83 years old when he received his medal. The Norwegian-American got his ski jump bronze medal in 1974, 50 years after he competed in the 1924 Games, when a scoring error was discovered.

(Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA@gmail.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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