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Sports Trivia

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Table tennis was originally played with balls made from champagne corks and paddles made from cigar-box lids. It was created in the 1880s by James Gibb, a British engineer who wanted an invigorating game he could play indoors when it was raining. Named "Gossima," the game was first marketed with celluloid balls, which replaced Gibb's corks. After the equipment manufacturer renamed the game "Ping-Pong" in 1901, it became a hot seller.

Scientists have estimated a fly ball will travel about seven feet further for every 1,000 feet of altitude. With an approximate elevation of 1,100 feet, Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, Arizona is the second highest facility in the major baseball leagues; only Coors Field in Denver, Colorado is higher.

Until 1937, the refereee in basketball had to throw a jump ball after every basket.

Until recently, a hockey goaltender never wore a mask. By 1959, Jacques Plante, an NHL All-Star goalie, had accumulated a hairline fracture and 200 stitches. Flying pucks had broken his jaw, both cheekbones, and his nose. Fibreglass Canada worked with Plante to develop the first-ever hockey goalie mask. While he was wearing the mask, his team, the Montreal Canadiens, won the Stanley cup for the third time.

Up to 20,000 pounds of pressure per square inch may be absorbed by a pole vaulter on the joints of his tubular thigh bones when he lands.

Using a graphite tennis racket reportedly helps prevent the onset of "tennis elbow."

Hockey word play: The letters in the name Jaromir (as in Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins), when rearranged, spells Mario, Jr. (as in Mario Lemieux).

P.O.T.U.S Sports: U.S. President George Washington's favorite sport was fox hunting; Abraham Lincoln's was wrestling; Franklin D. Roosevelt's was swimming; John F. Kennedy's athletic passion was sailing; Richard M. Nixon's was football; and Ronald Reagan's favorite sport was horseback riding.

A "tirailleur" is a sharpshooter.

A 27-inch-high silver America's Cup holds no liquid it is bottomless.

A cowboy in a rodeo bull riding competition must hang on for eight seconds. The same applies to bareback-bronc and saddle-bronc events.

A croquet ball weighs 1 pound.

A female softball pitcher can throw the ball 70 miles per hour.

A pro volleyball player can spike the ball at 80 miles per hour.

A scrum is rugby's equivalent of a hockey face-off, except that it involves all those playing the position of forward on both teams.

A sport practiced in ancient China consisted of placing two angry male quails in a large glass bowl and watching as the creatures clawed each other to death.

A top fuel dragster can accelerate from 0 to 100 miles an hour in 0.8 of a second and from 0 to 330 miles an hour in 4.5 seconds, using 10 gallons of nitro-methane.

A total of 602 athletes from the United States competed at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia in 2000.

According to a study, stock car fans are 64 percent more likely to buy a consumer good from a company that is a NASCAR sponsor than from a competitor that is not. Furthermore, NASCAR fans respond more favorably to a company logo on the hood of a supercharged car than to one on a ballpark billboard.

According to research conducted a few years back, billiards champions have the highest average age of any sport, 35.6 years.

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