France 2024 Hype Videos

Now that both Olympic and Paralympic Games have closed, all eyes look to the next Olympic Games, Paris 2024. During the closing ceremonies they played a hype video to get you excited for France and it did not disappoint.

Click here to see the NBC broadcast including the tri-color jetstream

An equally impressive performance was shown at the closing ceremonies of the paraolympics.

The parolympic hype video was no less impressive

The longest marathon

On March 20, 1967 Japanese runner Shizo Kanakuri crossed the finish line on a marathon he started over 50 years prior with a time of 54 years, 246 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes, and 20.3 seconds. Guinness World Records recognizes this as the longest time to complete a marathon.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

In 1912 Japan sent its first team to the Olympics, held that year in Stockholm, Sweden. Japan’s team consisted of only two athletes, a sprinter named Yahiko Mishima and Shizo (this year Japan’s squad has 552 athletes).

Back then, the road from Japan to Sweden took weeks. First on a boat then aboard an arduous weeks-long train trip across the steppes of Siberia. By the time Shizo and his teammate arrived in Sweden, they were not only exhausted but also out of training. The only time they could workout was by running around station buildings during brief stops along the way.

When race day arrived in Stockholm on July 14, 1912 it was an unseasonably warm 32°C (89.6°F). Long distance running as a sport had not evolved to where it is today so the preparations were, shall we say, unorthodox. Nike’s famous waffle sole had not yet been invented. Shizo wore Japanese tabi on his feet and the cloth was all that protected him from the gravel path. And because it was thought that perspiration contributed to fatigue, he refused to drink any water while running.

As you can imagine, Shizo passed out from heatstroke and took refuge at a nearby villa to recover. After spending some time recuperating there, he decided to drop out of the race and caught a train back to his hotel and eventually returned back to Japan.

Because he never informed race officials that he dropped out of the race, Olympic officials marked him down as missing.

Meanwhile, back in Japan, Shizo went on to run in the 1920 and 1924 Olympics, established the famous Tokyo-Hakone-Tokyo College Ekiden race and is known as the father of the Japanese marathon.

Fast-forward to 1962 when a Swedish journalist happened upon Shizo and informed a very surprised Swedish National Olympic Committee that the missing marathoner was very much alive. As a marketing promotion, several Swedish businessmen invited Shizo to Sweden in 1967 to finish his marathon at 76 years of age. That’s the photo above.

Upon Swedish Olympic Committee representatives reading out his official finish time to the gathered press- 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds- Kanakuri was asked if he’d like to say a few words about breaking a world record for slowest marathon ever run. Thinking for a moment, the elderly athlete shuffled to the microphone and said,

“It was a long trip. Along the way, I got married, had six children and 10 grandchildren.”

THE CURIOUS CASE OF SHIZO KANAKURI’S 1912 OLYMPIC MARATHON RUN

Hat tip to Tyler Kennedy for the pointer to this wonderful story.

Simone Biles

Much has been written about Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from the team and individual all-round competition at the Tokyo Olympics. Despite the negative coverage accusing her of quitting it is instructive to look at her (and her team’s) responses in the press conference.

When reporters trained their questions on Biles’s emotional state, she spoke just as comfortably, talking about mental health in the same terms as fitness and recovery programs—another variable in the champion’s pursuit. She described the danger of pressing through and competing in her state, saying she didn’t want to “do something silly” and hurt herself. She called Osaka—another sport-defining Black woman—a source of inspiration. “I say put mental health first,” Biles said in response to a query about how she’d advise other athletes in similar circumstances. “Because if you don’t, you’re not going to enjoy your sport and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to.”

Simone Biles and the New Language of Greatness

#knittingteamfi

I have a new appreciation for Team Finland.

12 Hidden Gems from Rio

There were so many stories that came out of Rio but what I enjoyed the most from the SmartNews Rio Olympics page were the lesser reported stories that bubbled up on the page. Over the past couple weeks I kept a list of my favorites and below are the best.

ONE: Before the games even started, The Independent’s incredible profile of Yusra Mardini had us rooting for the Olympic’s first refugee team.

TWO: During the opening ceremonies everyone looked sharp but USA Today’s sports site, For The Win, caught wind of the secret hidden in Team Australia’s blazer lining. Elle gave us the skinny on what each athlete got in their swag bag.

THREE: ESPN wrote about a high school in California that has been sending athletes to every Summer Olympics since 1952.

FOUR: Most outlets flock to the high dive platforms to catch still frames of the athletes but Buzzfeed took pleasure in the trampoline shots.

FIVE: Golf returned to the Olympics after a long absence (hilariously celebrated in an advertisement) and it only took four holes for the very first Olympic hole-in-one to be recorded.

SIX: Sharing the thrill of victory is why we all love to watch the Olympics. Deadspin shares a clip of two young Irish rowers doing an interview on Irish television and it’s hard not to get caught up in their youthful exuberance.

SEVEN: No one can forget the fateful collision of Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin during the 5000 meter qualifying round. The story of the two helping each other to the line will remain in our hearts as a shining example of Olympic Spirit. The pair was later awarded the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin medal for their behavior – something that The Telegraph tells us has only happened 17 times in Olympic history.

EIGHT: The Telegraph also dug into a question that we didn’t even think to ask. What’s involved in getting the equestrian horses get to the Olympics?

NINE: Meanwhile Fox Sports asks why Michael Phelps was laughing during the national anthem while Complex tries to find out more about his playlist.

TEN: Every Olympics has athletes that premier a sport for their country. Sports Illustrated covers Trinidad and Tobago’s first rower and SB Nation writes about a sprinter for the Marshall Islands.

ELEVEN: FiveThirtyEight is famous for its statistics and data-oriented view of the world. For the Olympics they dug into the science of pacing.

TWELVE: While acrobatics is not an Olympic sport, it did feature in an opening exhibition. Thanks to Cosmo for sharing what they called, Human Jump Rope.

I hope you enjoyed this list. Football season is coming up and we’ve got a Football channel on SmartNews so you can start to collect your own list of hidden gems.