Sport brings joy to fans around the world whether they cheer on their local football team every Saturday afternoon or tune into basketball from the sofa while having a bet with Palmerbet.
But even the most enthusiastic of sport devotees won’t be aware of some of these fascinating facts.
Below, we’ve rounded up 7 interesting sports facts that’ll impress your friends down at the pub from how many dimples are on a golf ball to the historic reason why rugby balls are oval-shaped.
Olympic gold medals are actually made of silver
Despite their name and prestige, olympic gold medals have not been made out of solid gold since 1912.
For today’s ceremonies, they are reportedly crafted from approximately 92.5% silver and plated with 6 grams of gold. But I’m sure we can all agree that they’re still worth a whole lot more when you’re on the winning stand.
Why rugby balls are oval-shaped
Footballs, basketballs, golf balls and cricket balls. All sports balls have one thing in common, they’re round. So why is it that rugby balls are oval-shaped?
The bizarre silhouette is down to the fact that they were originally fashioned out of inflated pigs’ bladders by British businessman Richard Lindon. Yes, seriously.
The leather maker from Rugby in England would craft balls from pig’s bladders for the rugby school opposite his home . Each ball was inflated through a clay pipe which meant the shape of the ball depended upon the shape of the individual bladder.
By 1862, Lindon was desperate to find a safer replacement so began using rubber to create the balls. Interestingly, the rugby school was still keen to play using an oval ball as this was what separated their sport from football and made it easier to run and kick the ball.
By 1877, the family business was reportedly hand-stitching over 2,800 balls a year and even began exporting them to Australia as the game grew in popularity.
The 1956 Summer Olympics were held in two countries
The 1956 Summer Olympic Games were held in Melbourne, Australia. But due to the country’s quarantine laws, they were unable to host equestrian events. Instead, these were held five months later in Stockholm.
How many dimples do golf balls have?
Golf balls don’t have dimples for aesthetic purposes, there’s actually a scientific reason behind them.
Without dimples, a smooth golf ball is likely to travel only half as far as a dimpled one would. This is due to the fact that the dimples cause air pressure which enables the ball to lift.
In 1905, English manufacturer William Taylor registered a patent for golf ball dimple design. The number of dimples on golf balls vary depending upon the manufacturer but it usually falls between 300 and 500 per ball.
Where is the longest golf hole in the world?
According to the Guinness World Records, the longest golf hole in the world is the 17th hole at Satsuki golf course in Sano, Japan. At an impressive 881 metres (964 yards), it’s a pretty impressive challenge for keen players.
Hockey teams keep a list of emergency backup goalkeepers
US hockey teams famously keep a list of emergency backup goalkeepers in case the team’s substitutes can’t play. These are usually former college players who help out during practice or keen players seeking further experience.
In March 2018, accountant and former hockey player Scott Foster graced the headlines after stepping up to the mark for the Chicago Blackhawks. Despite not having played in such a high profile game for more than a decade, he saved seven of the shots faced and ultimately helped the team to win.
To celebrate, he was awarded the team belt and rightly so!
Sport has even been played in space
In 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut duo, Alan Shephard and Edgar Mitchell, made the history books after becoming the first people to play sport on the moon.
Mitchell famously threw a fake javelin while Shepherd tried his hand at a little space golf. Mitchell joked that the event was “the first lunar Olympics”.
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