Olympics Records at Beijing

August 27, 2008

It’s interesting that out of 32 possible records in Men’s and Women’s Swimming combined at the Olympics, 30 of those records were broken in Beijing in 2008. In no other sport were anything close to so many records broken. The only sports that come close are Women’s Shooting and Women’s Weightlifting. Both of those sports made their debut at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, so they’re still fairly new.

Here’s a list of all the possible Summer Olympics records and the number that were broken in 2008.

Sport

Total Records

Broken Records

Percent

Men’s Swimming

16

15

94%

Women’s Swimming

16

15

94%

Women’s Shooting

14

10

71%

Women’s Weightlifting

21

14

67%

Cycling (Men’s & Women’s)

7

4

57%

Men’s Athletics

24

10

42%

Women’s Athletics

23

7

30%

Archery

0.5 (tie)

15

3%

Men’s Weightlifting

24

0

0%

So why were so many Swimming records broken in Beijing? You could argue that Michael Phelps is just a phenomenal athlete, and that’s true, but of the 15 records broken, seven of them were broken by other individuals, and three involved Michael Phelps as part of a team. And for the Women’s swimming, the 15 records were split among eight different nations.

The swimming records were broken due to improved training techniques and better technology (swimsuit material, etc.) but weren’t there similar improvements in the other sports?

For more details on Olympics records, visit iWeblists’ Olympics Records pages.

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Popular vs. Electoral Vote

August 23, 2008

In keeping with the “Presidents” theme due to the upcoming conventions, I thought I’d touch on another misconception some people have about past Presidents. Many people think George W. Bush was the first President to lose the popular vote (to Al Gore in 2000) but win the electoral vote. In fact, there were four times that the President did not win the popular vote.

However, in the first case, he didn’t win the electoral vote, either. That was in 1824 when John Quincy Adams won the election. There were four candidates, and all received a significant number of electoral votes, so no candidate won a majority. The President was selected by the House of Representatives.

The other three Presidents who lost the popular vote were Rutherford Hayes in 1876, when he beat Samuel Tilden, Benjamin Harrison beating Grover Cleveland in 1888 (Cleveland won in 1884 and 1892), and of course George W. Bush beating Al Gore in 2000.

Further details can be found at our new page Presidential Election Results.


United States Presidents

August 21, 2008

With the upcoming election, I thought it would be interesting to look at some facts about past presidents.

Some people think John F. Kennedy was the youngest President to take office. In fact, it was Theodore Roosevelt, at 42. JFK was second, at 43. Clinton was the third youngest, at 46, but was followed very closely by Ulysses S. Grant, also 46. If Barak Obama is elected, he will be 47. He would be slightly younger than Grover Cleveland was, also 47, making Obama potentially the fifth youngest.

As for oldest Presidents, if John McCain is elected, he will be the oldest to take office, celebrating his 72nd birthday on August 29th. Most people know that Ronald Reagan was the oldest, starting his first term at 69. William Henry Harrison, the second oldest at 68, served just one month, and died of natural causes. The seventh president, he was the first to die in office. Third oldest was James Buchanan, at 65.

The first and second single-term presidents were father and son: John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

See other interested facts about United States Presidents.


Olympics Swimming records

August 19, 2008

The Men’s Swimming portion of the 2008 Beijing Olympics are now over. Of course there was lots of hype about Michael Phelps. Another interesting point is the fact that there are 16 Olympic records in swimming, and in 2008, all but one of them was broken. That’s the 400 meter freestyle. Here’s a list of all the new Olympics Men’s Swimming records.

In addition, the same goes for Women’s Swimming. The only Women’s record that was not broken in 2008 was the 100 meter butterfly. Here’s a list of all the new Olympics Women’s Swimming records.


Newbery and Caldecott Medals

August 17, 2008

The Newbery and Caldecott Medals are literary awards for Children’s literature. The Newbery, awarded since 1922, is for children’s literature, and the Caldecott, awarded since 1938, is awarded for illustrated picture books.

Only one person has won both awards. Robert Lawson won the Caldecott Medal in 1941 for They Were Strong and Good. He won the Newbery medal in 1945 for Rabbit Hill.


John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

August 17, 2008

iWeblists is a website about trivia and useful facts. This blog will attempt to report on topics that are listed in the website, identifying useful information along the lines of the lists in the website.

As a first interesting piece of information, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were two of the most significant signers of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote the document, and Adams was its most outspoken advocate, helping to get unanimous approval of the thirteen colonies. (Actually, New York abstained, but the other 12 voted Yes).

Anyway, the interesting fact is that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third Presidents, died on the same day, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1826. They were also two of the final three living signers of the document.

Also worth noting about the signing of the Declaration is that the colonies actually approved the document on July 2nd, and Adams thought that would be the day that would go down in history. July 4th was just an ordinary day, but it was the day they finalized the document, and therefore was the date printed at the top of the document. Most of the signers did not actually sign it until mid-August.