John Green seems like an incredibly busy guy. In addition to writing books like Paper Towns and The Fault In Our Stars, both of which have been turned into feature films, he is also a hyper-prolific YouTuber, presiding over the popular Vlogbrothers channel with his real-life sibling, Hank, and hosting a trivia-based webseries called The List Show for Mental Floss. Green’s dance card is full, that’s for sure. This week, in honor of the 2016 Summer Games in Rio De Janeiro, Green presents a fast-paced and often surprising video called “39 More Facts About The Olympics,” jam-packed with weird little historical tidbits about this time-honored athletic tradition. For the most part, broadcasting from his toy-filled “salon,” Green keeps things lighthearted, with anecdotes about such lovable losers as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards and the Jamaican bobsled team. But there are more sobering moments, too, as when Green says that Jesse Owens was snubbed by the White House after the historic 1936 Olympics in Berlin. On a lighter note, Usain Bolt sure did eat a lot of Chicken McNuggets.
The video even briefly gives Green the opportunity to talk about one of his pet topics, i.e., the utter uselessness of pennies. Or maybe he just went out of his way to steer this conversation back to pennies by any means necessary. It is with great satisfaction that Green points out that the bronze medals at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney were made from melted-down pennies. Australia had given up on that antiquated coin a long time ago. America has yet to follow suit.
Arguably the most frustrating story here relates to the 1972 Olympics in Munich, when America took on the Soviet Union in basketball, losing 51-50. The U.S. players refused to accept their silver medals, since they disagreed with a referee’s decision to give the Soviet team a timeout and three extra seconds on the clock. Here, Green does not refrain from editorializing: “We can’t show you the tape because of copyright, but, boy, was the fix in. We got them back, though, by winning the Cold War.”
[via Laughing Squid]