Book talks for readers at Chisago Lakes Middle School.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gold Medal for Weird by Kevin Sylvester

The Olympic Games held in Beijing this past summer were tremendous. Michael Phelps was amazing. So were some of his close finishes. I think in one of the races, it was said that he won by a fingernail. Besides bringing out the best, the Olympics also sometimes brings out the bizarre.

Back in the summer of 2004, I witnessed probably one of the most bizarre incidents in sports that I have ever seen. The summer Olympics were in Athens that year and I was watching the marathon run on TV. A runner from Brazil, Vanderlei de Lima, had the lead with just a few miles to go. As the stadium came in to sight, where the runners would reach the finish line, the Brazilian runner was probably thankful that he was so near to completing the grueling 26 mile race and about to earn the gold medal for his country when all of a sudden a fan from the crowd tackled him. The man was wearing a protest sign. This same man had a year earlier run out into the middle of a grand prix automobile race as well. Before nearby spectators could pry off the man, de Lima had lost his lead but amazingly was still able to win the bronze medal.

Another bizarre event mentioned in the book occurred at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Jeff Bean from Canada was practicing his ski jump aerials when, while in mid-air, his skis flew off. He continued his twist and spin move in the air and landed on his butt. Afterwards he said the scariest part wasn’t the landing, but when the skis almost hit him as they flew off.

Or, how about when in 1956 U.S. wrestler Charles Vinci weighed himself just minutes before the official weigh-in and discovered he was almost 8 ounces overweight. Can you guess what he did to make his weight (he had already been to the bathroom)? He shaved all the hair off his head and barely qualified.

If you are curious about more bizarre things that have happened at the Olympic Games take a look at, Gold Medal for Weird, by Kevin Sylvester.

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