The Undertaker Who Developed Automatic Phone Dialing (Cool Weird Awesome 648)

Today in 1892 a phone system that made automated calls - no switchboard operator - began operating in Laporte, Indiana. The first automatic dial network happened, as the story goes, because of a business dispute between two undertakers. Plus: today in 1882, the birthday of John Baxter Taylor, Jr, the first Black American to win an Olympic gold medal.

High Jumper Dick Fosbury’s Biggest Win Was Also A Flop (Cool Weird Awesome 638)

Today in 1968, a high jumper from Oregon, Dick Fosbury, changed his sport forever by winning gold with an unusual jumping motion now known as the Fosbury Flop. Plus: today in 2018, passengers on a bus in Paris refused to make room for a rider using a wheelchair. So the bus driver made room. 

When Countries Stayed Out Of The Olympics, They Held Their Own Olympic-Style Games (Cool Weird Awesome 589)

The Olympic Games are supposed to bring the countries of the world together, but that isn't always what happens. Several times the Games have been canceled, and at other times, boycotts have led some countries to hold their own alternative competitions. Plus: we mark the birthday of the great Black scientist and inventor Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson.

“Eric The Eel” Won An Olympic Heat With The Slowest Time In The Field (Cool Weird Awesome 587)

Sometimes the Olympic athletes who don’t win are the ones who make big impressions. That includes swimmer Eric Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea, who was a hit at the 2000 Summer Games despite finishing well behind the rest of the competitors in his event. Plus: Canadian high jumper Derek Drouin won a gold medal in 2016 when his doctors might have preferred that he rest at home! 

By |2021-08-03T06:53:11-04:00August 3, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Anybody Can Be An Olympic Star, At Least In A Video Game (Cool Weird Awesome 585)

The Summer and Winter Games are typically held once every four years, but for decades the rest of us have been getting into the Olympic spirit through video games. Here are a few of the most unusual ones. Plus: the story of a fencing match that definitely could've only happened in the real world. 

By |2021-07-30T08:15:40-04:00July 30, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , |

Women Couldn’t Compete In The Ancient Olympics, So They Held The Heraean Games Instead (Cool Weird Awesome 584)

In ancient Greece, the Olympics were for men only. But from what we can tell, women representing 16 city-states would come together every four years to weave a robe for Hera, the queen of the gods, and hold a footrace for single women. Plus: the 1960 Summer Games were the first to be telecast in the US. In the days before satellites, it took a lot of work to get tapes from the Rome Games to the US broadcast networks. 

The Original Olympic Flag Went Missing For Over 70 Years (Cool Weird Awesome 583)

The original Olympic flag flew over the Games for the first time in 1920, in Antwerp, Belgium, but before it could be passed to the next host city, the “Antwerp flag” disappeared - for over seven decades. Plus: scientists have taught a robotic hand to play Super Mario Bros., because why wouldn't you? 

By |2021-07-28T08:18:30-04:00July 28, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Two Olympians Turned A Silver And A Bronze Into “Medals Of Friendship” (Cool Weird Awesome 582)

Whenever the Olympic Games take place we see athletes giving their all to win gold and glory - but we also see great examples of competitors who show character and kindness toward each other. Here’s the story of two of those athletes, who ended up winning the only half-silver, half-bronze medals in Olympic history. Plus, a musical group finds out that the International Olympic Committee does enforce its trademark rights. 

By |2021-07-27T08:36:38-04:00July 27, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

The 1904 Men’s Marathon Was The Weirdest Olympic Race Ever (Cool Weird Awesome 581)

The men's marathon at the 1904 Olympics could have won a gold medal for biggest trainwreck in Summer Games history. Here's how dirt, dehydration, dogs and more helped make this as bizarre a run as they get. But then the 1904 Games were strange for several other reasons as well. We'll explain why. 

By |2021-07-26T09:37:32-04:00July 26, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Some Olympians Won Medals For Painting And Shooting Cannons (Cool Weird Awesome 580)

For better or for worse, the Summer Olympics are finally here. We thought it would be a good time to look back at some of the lesser-known events in the history of the Games, like painting and cannon shooting. Plus: Tomas Gomez headed to the driving range just ahead of a storm, and his ball ended up getting hit by lightning. 

By |2021-07-23T09:24:36-04:00July 23, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |
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