Page 4 - Sports Facts

For Yao Ming's first NBA game, the Miami Heat passed out 8,000 fortune cookies. Ming had a surprising reaction.

To celebrate Chinese basketball star Yao Ming's first game, the NBA distributed 8,000 fortune cookies at a game in Miami on December 16, 2002. Yao Ming set the record straight on how he felt about the incident, which many called insensitive.

Your gut might tell you that a Chinese person could take offense at such a thing. Ming didn't take offense, but not necessarily for the reason you might think. To him, it wasn't a stereotype because he'd never seen a fortune cookie in China. He didn't interpret the fortune cookies to have anything to do with him. In fact, he found the whole thing to be amusing.

Because Ming was not familiar with American stereotypes of the Chinese, he didn't feel that he was being attacked or slighted in any way. It is actually a misconception that many Americans have that fortune cookies are common in China. Ming thought they were an American invention.

All of this debate took place within a larger context of controversy about the NBA. At the time Ming started his professional career in the US, the NBA was seen as not taking an active enough role in confronting the racism that Asians faced from fellow players.


Ping-Pong isn't really a sport! Find out what you're really playing!

For years, you've been playing Ping-Pong at family outings, college parties, and rec centers across the country. As it so happens, you've never actually played "Ping-Pong" because that sport doesn't exist—it's simply the name of a company that manufactures and sells table tennis (the official name) equipment!

Table tennis originated sometime in the medieval era in the 12th century AD. Back then it was known as "Royal Tennis." By the 1880s the sport remained popular with the upper classes in England as one of their many chosen past times.

The first official use of the term "table tennis" was in 1890 when David Foster patented a set in England that included the table version of lawn tennis, cricket, and football.

John Jacques first registered the term "Ping-Pong" in England in 1901. The name was then sold to Parker Brother in the United States. Within a week in 1901 the "Table Tennis Association" and "Ping-Pong Association" had formed, sparking a bit of a naming rivalry.

Table tennis first became an Olympic sport in Seoul, South Korea, at the 1988 games, cementing table tennis as a serious sport for the rest of time.


The new $100 bill has the words ‘THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’ printed in tiny script on the collar of Benjamin Franklin’s jacket.

The new banknote style officially went into circulation this year and sports a host of advanced technologies intended to thwart even the cleverest of counterfeiters. In addition to the microprinting on Franklin’s collar, the words ‘ONE HUNDRED USA’ appear along a golden quill to the right of his face. Tilting the bill back and forth will change the color of the number 100 and the quill’s inkwell from copper to green, and will also reveal holographic bells in its blue security ribbon that change to 100s! Other features include a faint watermark of Ben’s face to the right of his portrait and raised intaglio printing along his right shoulder.

Some awesome lists!

Why do Japanese Sumo match referees carry swords in their belts? The answer is gruesome!

Sumo wrestling is a sport taken very seriously in Japan. One only has to look at the uniform of the gyoji (the referee) to get an idea of how seriously the outcome of a match is viewed. The uniform also indicates the ranking of the gyoji.

The gyoji visibly carries a traditionally made Japanese sword with a short blade (called a tantō) in his belt. These swords were also worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The blade is single- or double-edged, with a length between 6 and 12 inches.

The reason the gyoji carries this sword is to show he understands the seriousness of the decisions he has to make to fairly judge who the winner of a bout will be.

It also shows his willingness to commit seppuku if he makes a mistake! When translated, seppukumeans "stomach cutting," and it is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. The ritual suicide, meant to be performed in front of spectators, consists of plunging the tantō into the abdomen and slicing from left to right. Talk about a blood sport!

Thankfully, these days if a gyoji's decision about the match outcome is overturned by the shimpan, he is just expected to turn in his resignation as a gesture of apology for his terrible mistake.


Runners can still get a false start AFTER the gun fires! Find out how!

"Jumping the gun" is a big problem for competition runners that could end their big meet with a disqualification. Cheating isn't accepted on any level, though it technically could be possible to cheat on accident—by being super human!

A false start is defined as a runner leaving the starting block before the starting gun sounds, or if they start in less than one-tenth of a second. Though one-tenth of a second after the gun is technically part of the race, research has found that it isn't possible for a human to have a reaction time faster than that. Starting that fast is considered anticipating the gun and, thus, cheating.

If you do jump the gun a bit, it isn't the end of the world. Runners are allowed one false start at no penalty under current international rules, but a second one will result in a disqualification.

False starts are detected by ReacTime, a device that sits on the back of a starting block that is connected to a main computer. The device detects the pressure of the athletes foot and starts the time when the starting gun fires. The device measures the exerted and decreased pressure as a runner pushes off down to one-thousandth of a second. Nothing gets by these things!



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