With the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics just one day away, U.S. viewers will be tuning in to watch veteran anchor Katie Couric co-host the dazzling event with Mike Tirico on NBC.
Before heading to South Korea, Couric teamed up with theSkimm to cover little-known Olympic tidbits, such as how gold medals are primarily made of silver! Who knew?
Or, the fun fact that the first and second-place winners of the first modern Olympics, in 1896, received a silver and bronze medal, respectively — which meant the third place winner went home empty-handed.
There is also the story of Australian rower Bobby Pearce, who won the gold medal in the single sculls at the 1928 Games all while making sure he didn’t hurt the local wildlife when they wandered into his path.
“At the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, actually slowed down because there were ducklings passing, but he still won by 30 seconds,” Couric explains. “So he was nice to ducks, and a winner!”
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Then there were the 1912 games that saw Alfred Asikainen face off against Martin Klein in a wrestling match that lasted a whopping 11 hours and 40 minutes, the veteran anchor explains. Klein took the victory at the end of that match, but interestingly enough, he was too tired to compete in the final, so Claes Johanson of Sweden took the gold.
Couric has covered six different Olympics in her career (Atlanta, Barcelona, Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens and Torino), and she says she finds herself still in awe of how much the Olympic Village resembles college campuses back home.
“The Olympic Village is like a big college campus and the rooms are like dorm rooms,” she says in the video produced by theSkimm, which just came out with a podcast that launched no. 1 on Apple’s podcast list. “There are multiple people in every room — somehow they are able to get along, as far as we know!”
Couric — who also hosted an episode of Sip ‘n Skimm with actress Brooklyn Decker, where they discuss sexual harassment and Decker’s new startup, Finery — adds that if she were to step out from behind the anchor desk to compete in the Games (in another timeline), she would have to decide between two of her favorite sports.
“My sport would have been ice skating and gymnastics at the Summer Olympics,” she says. “I can still do a mean headstand!”