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We Answered Extremely Random Questions People Had About The Olympics

作者:Saeed Ahmed 发布日期:8-2-2021

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Gold medals, patriotic uniforms and tears on podiums are all things we know and expect from the Olympics. But also, what's with those teeny towels divers use? And how did they get those dressage horses to Tokyo? NPR's Jonathan Franklin has been looking into some of your burning questions about the Tokyo Olympics, and he joins us now with all the answers. Hello.

JONATHAN FRANKLIN, BYLINE: Thank you for having me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So NPR asked our audience on Twitter about what's spiking their curiosity at the Olympics. And we got a lot of questions about water sports. So what is up with those small towels?

FRANKLIN: Well, Lulu, funny you mention it. They're actually called shammies. And those small towels, in fact, help the divers, surprisingly, you know, dry faster because we all know when you're coming out of the pool, you're prone to, you know, slipping and falling all over the place. And I'm sure the athletes do not want to cause any unnecessary injuries if possible.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, interesting. So another question we got is, why do the athletes slap themselves before a race?

FRANKLIN: Well, ironically, that's really just a warmup technique. So according to professionals, you slap yourself to get the blood flowing and, you know, to focus. So don't worry, it's totally fine, Lulu. It's just sort of like a pregame ritual that most athletes do before a game starts.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. All right. I want to move on to the horses. I'm particularly interested in equestrian events. Dressage - how did some of those really, really big beasts get across the world?

FRANKLIN: Well, you know, they're actually flown overseas, you know, surprisingly, and they're loaded two per stall. So the horses get their own staff of vets and groomers, you know, to keep them in check, to make sure they behave on that long flight. And fun fact, Lulu - the horses also need their own passport to travel, just like us if we're traveling overseas.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Gymnastics - a lot of talk about that. But what is the white powder gymnastics rub on their hands before a routine? What does it do?

FRANKLIN: Well, it's just chalk. So basically, it absorbs the sweat off their hands and helps the gymnast keep a better grip when on the bar. So, you know, they don't want to slip. They don't want to fall or create any other accidents to disqualify them.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And also, people have noticed that the athletes wear only one slipper on the balance beam. Why's that?

FRANKLIN: Well, it's really up to the gymnast, to be honest. So gymnasts sometimes wear one, or they wear both. But either way, if they wear the slipper, it helps them with their grip and turns on the beam and the floor exercises.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And people really were wondering also about the food. I mean, there are athletes from all over the world. Are there cuisines from all over the world in the Olympic Village, or is it mainly Japanese or Japanese-inspired?

FRANKLIN: Well, due to the COVID protocols for this year's games, athletes don't really have a lot of chances to go outside in Tokyo to, you know, enjoy the actual cuisine. So during their stays, the athletes are asked to really go to - between the competition venues and the limited locations that are outlined in their activity plans. So basically, that means that they're banned from freely eating at all the restaurants and bars in Tokyo. But they do have plenty of Japanese food items, both traditional and popular - like, you know, ramen, noodles, rice balls, you know, all the yummy stuff.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good to know. OK, lastly, someone brought up that the masks Team USA wear before and after their events look a little like a costume of an evil villain from a popular movie.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What is the deal?

FRANKLIN: Well, Lulu, it's honestly just really a fashion statement, so it's really nothing important. But people think it looks like Bane from the Batman movie called "The Dark Knight Rises." So it's really just kind of random. But, you know, nothing major. The masks have pleats in them. And, you know, they're meant to evoke the folds of Japanese origami, believe it or not. So, you know, shout out to Nike for that dope fashion statement.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Indeed. That's NPR's Jonathan Franklin. Thank you so much.

FRANKLIN: Thank you for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF BARBERRY RECORDS' "FEELS (INSTRUMENTAL VERSION)")

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