Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising

Sports, an action-packed lifestyle choice, or hobby are loved by professionals and amateurs alike. It can be the thrill of physical games like football, cricket, soccer, or mind games like chess, draughts, and others. The most amazing part is that sports are both entertaining and serve the patriotic sentiment.

After all, everyone would like to relish their nation’s victory in full swing in a particular sports fight. Looking at the never-ending love for sports, here we list down the interesting facts about it to satisfy the sports trivia appetite in everyone.

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
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30. Usain Bolt’s Diet In 2008 Beijing Games

Athletes must adhere to a specific diet to complement their training. It is to condition their body from the demand of their sport on their body. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: The New York Times

But to everyone’s surprise, the right diet was not a thing for the fastest man on the earth, Usain Bolt, during the 2008 Beijing Games.

Before the big events, he only ate 1000 pieces of Mcdonald’s nuggets for his ten-day stay in China. He mentioned that it is the most familiar meal that he can get in the athlete’s village. Nonetheless, he went home with gold medals.

29. A Human And A Bear In A Boxing Match

Probably one of the most bizarre sports moments was when a human being battled with a bear in a boxing match. 

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In 1949, Gus Waldorf, a boxer, faced one tough opponent – a bear inside a boxing ring. The bear was given a muzzle and a boxing glove for fair competition.

However, in the end, the bear still won the match. The game ended with a giant blow of the bear to Waldorf after the first round. 

28. Quidditch Is Now A Real-Life Sport

Fans of the Harry Potter series can now experience the excitement of playing the sport Quidditch from the fictional series. 

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Image Source: The Peak

The real-life sport of quidditch follows almost the same rules that J.K. Rowling set in her fantasy novel series. It was played by two teams of seven teams riding a broomstick, yes, a broomstick. 

The ultimate goal is to have more points than the other team by the time the snitch. In the muggle quidditch or the real-life quidditch, a snitch is a tennis ball inside a long sock hanging from the shorts of an impartial official dressed in yellow.

27. Shaq’s Only Three-Pointer

The 15-time NBA All-star player Shaquille O’Neal has an impressive record under his belt as one of the best big men in the league’s history. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: EssentiallySports

What fans are wondering more is the mystery of why Shaq had only one successful three-point shot in his entire career. Ever since his prior season records, he struggled with the outside perimeter shot. 

The miracle of finally getting a shot happened in the 1995-1996 season. Since then, the center has focused on perimeter shots and defensive skills. 

26. The Princess In The Olympics

The only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Royal, Princess Anne once competed in the Summer Olympics. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
mage Source: The Royal Family

She was part of the British team that participated in the three-day equestrian event. She rode the Queen’s horse, Goodwill. Even before joining the official British team for the Olympics, the Princess was already active in the horse riding sport.

Princess Anne’s eldest daughter, Zara Anne Elizabeth Tindall, also competed in the Olympics. She had the same event as her mother, the three-day equestrian event in the 2012 London Games.

25. Philippines’ Luck At The Olympics

The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country that continues to send in athletes in the Summer Olympics. But, until the present, the nation has yet to claim a gold medal. 

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Image Source: Rappler

For the 20 Summer Olympics, the Philippines had their fair share of victory on the sporting event, but so far, the biggest achievement was three silver medals from boxing and weightlifting.

They also had seven bronze medals from swimming, athletics, and boxing. At present, the country has not brought home any Winter Olympics medal after athletes qualified for five editions. 

24. Golf Was Once Banned In Scotland

The sport of golf can be traced back to the century in Scotland. It was just introduced as a game called “chole,” where players use wooden sticks to hit a ball and make it land in a hole on the ground. 

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Image Source: Insight Guides

The popularity of golf in Scotland rose when King James II banned playing golf for its military men. They thought it is too distracting for the men in uniform in training as they are still at war with England. 

He wanted the military men to practice archery. But, eventually, at the start of the new century, the ban was lifted.

23. Australia And Greece Are Consistent In Olympics

Olympics, the largest sports event held every four years, is participated by different nations as representatives of their respective continents.

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Since the modern Olympics was held in 1896, only two teams are consistently present. These are Australia and Greece. 

They always have players that qualify on the Olympics stage. Meanwhile, other countries struggled to send athletes to this sporting event due to tough competitions in their continental regions.

22. Basketball Changed Its Rules Because Of Wilt Chamberlain 

Wilt Chamberlain is one of the greatest centers in the National Basketball League history, where he played from 1958-1973. He holds the record of scoring 100 points in a single match.

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Aside from being a force to be reckoned with in the hardcourt for his defensive skills in rebounding, Wilt Chamberlain is known to be a high-scoring player. They attributed the scores of Chamberlain from his amazing free throw shooting. 

He would jump behind the free-throw line and dunk the ball right into the ring before landing the ground – making sure that all free throws are guaranteed points. This was when the association decided to change the rules on shooting the free throw that a player cannot go beyond the free-throw line. 

21. Longest Tennis Match

On average, a tennis match is played for 90 minutes only. But to the surprise of tennis fans, Nicolas Mahut and John Isner played a single match for 11 hours and 5 minutes.

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Image Source: ATP Tour

This happened in the 2010 Wimbledon Grand Slam Tournament. The game was played on three consecutive days, June 22, 23, and 24 of that year. 

It was only the first round of the tournament, and the match ended with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68 record in favor of American Mahut. They beat the Santoro-Clement match record in the 2004 French Open that was played in 6 hours and 33 minutes.

20. Rugby Balls Used To Be Pig Bladders

Far different from the rubber-made ball use in modern games, rugby was played using a pig’s bladder. This is why the rugby ball is oval-shaped. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: Rugby Relics

The pig’s bladder is encased with leather and stitched, and then used as the rugby ball. Due to this, the size of the ball differs depending on the size of the pig’s bladder.

Many players fell ill because of the rotten pig’s bladder that is used in the game. Thankfully, in the mid-1800s, they started to use rubbers to make a rugby ball. 

19. Michael Jordan Also Played Baseball 

Considered to be the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) in the sport of basketball, Michael Jordan is a legend in the National Basketball Association league, especially to the Chicago Bulls. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: ESPN

As a kid, Michael Jordan loved baseball together with his father. He started young playing the sport where he was one of the best pitchers in North Carolina — even before becoming the high-flying Chicago Bulls Air Jordan that we all know.

After he decided to retire officially from basketball, Michael Jordan wanted to pursue his childhood passion for baseball. He had a short stint with the White Sox in 1994. 

18. 900,000 Baseballs Are Used In One MLB Season

Major League Baseball is one of the most followed sports tournaments in the United States. Aside from millions of fans who flock to the games or follow on television broadcasts, almost a million baseballs are used in a single season of the league.

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
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100-120 baseball is used in a game of the season on average, where each season consists of 2430 games. Take into consideration also the baseballs used for training and batting practices. 

A regular handmade baseball lifespan would be three pitches if it did not get any scratches, dent, or dirt. Once it gets scratched, it is automatically replaced because they say it affects the pitched balls’ trajectory. This is why a lot of baseballs are used in just one season.

17. A Chef Is The First Winner Of Olympian Race

The beginning of the Olympic games is still on the debate whether it started earlier than according to what has been found on records and literature. Even then, Olympic games are held every four years.

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: Thought Co

Based on the evidence, the first Olympic race happened in 776 BC, and a chef won the competition. Koroibos, who is a cook and a baker from the nearby city of Elis, won the stadion race.

The stadion race happens on the stadion track in Olympia with 600-foot long. The winner received an olive branch.

16. Flying Kites Is A Competitive Sport

For some, flying kites is just a recreational activity people do during windy days or during picnics. But in some countries, flying kites is a competitive sport.

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: Canadian Kites

Sport Kite, the official name of the sport, involves flying several patterns of the kite in a tune of background music. There are three categories in the sport: individual, pair, and a group of eight. 

The sport kit competitions can be likened to figure skating events. There is a World Championship for this sport that happens bi-annually, where the last tournament was held at Berck Sur Mer, France, in April 2018.

15. Bloody History Of Boxing

Boxing is a combat sport that involves two players who try to secure blows of punches towards their opponent while wearing a boxing glove. This is what modern boxing sport is.

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This is not the case back then. It was done on rings with bettors around, and there are no proper matchups – unlike today that opponents must be coming from the same weight division. Also, since there are no set rules, a player can still attack a fallen opponent on the ground with bare hands.

In the past, there are records saying that involves violence that was illegal in the majority of the countries until the late 19th century and early 20th century when the standard rules are set. 

14. Lefties Have The Upper Hand

It has been a  wonder why left-handed athletes seem to excel better than right-handed athletes. It was probably because it is rare to see left-handed athletes across different sports.

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: Penn State Behrend

Based on studies, this is not usually the case. It is only apparent with time-pressured sports such as baseball, cricket, table tennis, and others. 

This is due to the fact the opponents of the left-handed athletes do not have time to adjust to the playing styling of these lefties. Being left-handed gave them the advantage of the unusual playing style, making them hard to read. 

13. Jump Balls Are Tossed Every Basket Until 1937

A regular modern basketball always starts with the referee tossing the jump balls in the center of the hardcourt. The two opposing teams are scattered on a circle with their best jumper, usually the center, to go for the jump to get the first possession. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
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The jump balls are one of the usual highlights of a basketball game as they would like to establish their dominance early. In 1937, they changed the rule of the game to start any match with the jump ball.

It is because prior to 1937, referees toss the jump balls even after a basket in the game. Imagine how tiring it is for the game officials to toss repeatedly and exhausting for the jumpers. One of the reasons why it was defunct was the inconsistency of the tosses of the referees. 

12. Golf Balls Have Over 300 Dimples On Average

Golf is one of the most loved sports across the world. Making many be interested in sport including its equipment. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
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The golf ball is one of the things that fans and players alike are curious about. The regular golf ball has numerous dimples to it to make it more aerodynamic. These dimples are about 300-500 on average.

There are no set rules on how many dimples golf balls should have, even during competitions. Some say 336 is the magic number, but it was debunked that it changes from golf ball to golf ball.

11. Michael Phelps Has More Olympic Golds Than Other Countries

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. He holds the record with the most Olympic medals won by an individual.

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Image Source: Olympic Channel

Phelps, known as “The Baltimore Bullet,” has 28 Olympic medals in total, which 16 of them are from individual events. Also, note that 13 of them are gold medals, wherein he got most of them during the 2008 Beijing Games.

According to the record, Phelps has succeeded in overtaking 66 countries in having more Olympic medals. Some of the countries are Argentina, Puerto Rico, Iran, Thailand, and Austria.

10. Two Cities Hosted 1956 Summer Olympics

It is common knowledge that the Olympics is hosted by one major city every four years. But that is not the case during the 1956 Summer Olympics, where two cities became the host cities. 

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Image Source: The Guardian

It was Melbourne, Australia, that was designated to host the 1956 Summer Olympics. However, they were not able to hold the equestrian events due to quarantine concerns.

Stockholm and Sweden became the host for equestrian events five months prior to Melbourne’s main events. 

9. The Olympics Rings – Much More Than Just Five Random Colours

The Olympic rings symbolize the pursuit of the Olympic dream. They exhibit the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes under one tournament acknowledged by all countries in the world at the Olympic Games. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: Olympic

Surprisingly, many of us are unaware of the fact that the five colors of the Olympics rings, blue, yellow, black, green, and red, are not just any random colors. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the co-founder of the modern Olympics games, created the Olympic flag with these five interlocking rings. 

These interlaced rings on the white background flag represent America, Europe, Oceania, Asia, and Africa. The colors included in these rings signify the spirit of unison across the world as it is composed of the colors present in every nation’s flag. 

8. It Is Mandatory To Lose Weight For NFL Linemen 

It is a stupefying fact that the National Football League (NFL)  mentions for its players to lose a certain amount of weight as a qualifying candidate. It may sound a bit awkward, but it is mandatory to gain ground in the game. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: Eagles Wire – USA Today

According to a study at the University of Idaho, it is first essential to identify a player’s average weight to decide how much average weight he should lose. Besides, the position of the player is another vital factor that plays a great role in the determination of weight-loss practice for NFL Lineman.

Undoubtedly, this is physically taxing, but in accordance with the NFL rules and practice, it is necessary for defensive or offensive players to gain mass to compete against each other. However, in the case of wide receivers and running back, a smaller and lighter body can work fine.

7. The State With The Most Golf Courses Per Capita- North Dakota

With one course for every 5,648 people, North Dakota is the state with the most golf courses per capita (Golf Wealth) in the whole world. In a population of 672,591 people, it has a total of 123 golf courses in the region, contributing to its abundance share of wealth through the very sport in the country’s economy.

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: North Dakota Golf Association

Do you know that the North Dakota Golf Association is known to be one of the top-notch spots for organizing tournaments for amateurs since 1915? Talking about the current situation, it is referred to as the governing body with more than 100 clubs in the state.

Hawktree Golf Club has the major contribution as it bounced back to the top position in 2018 in the State Rankings. Some of the other golf courses in North Dakota that play a significant role in making the state the premier golfing destination are Edgewood, King’s Walk, Bois De Sioux, Souris Valley, Bully Pulpit, and Heart River.

6. The Estadio Disaster – The Deadliest Football Riot

It is quite astounding yet unfortunate to note that football can also lead to disaster, other than just spreading the excitement and thrill among the audience. The Estadio Disaster or Lima Disaster proves the fact right as it resulted in huge destruction of lives.

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: CGTN

Although the full story has never been disclosed, it is said to be the clash between the audience and police at the event. This happened due to the firing of tear gas by police to deal with Peruvian fans’ outrage at the referee’s unpopular decision.

Unfortunately, the tear gas caused a mass exodus in the stadium, resulting in people suffering from hemorrhaging or asphyxiation. The fumes of rage got so ignited that they resulted in 328 deaths, leaving more than 500 people injured. 

5. Adidas Took More Than Two Years To Design The Soccer Ball For The 2014 World Cup

The craze for soccer has no match, especially among people from all over the world. For such fans, the moment of the 2014 World Cup was a feast to the eyes and a thrill to the heart. Talking about Adidas, the World Cup’s excitement began two and a half years before as they stepped into the responsibility of designing the soccer ball for it.

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: Slate

As the tournament had to be held in Brazil, the ball’s final design included the ribbon patterns representing the multi-colored bracelet, the essence of remarkable in Brazil. It was more of a traditional style, meant to delineate both simulations among players and respect for the country.

They spend that hefty expanse of timing in designing and testing the ball so that the players could get the best and suitable for every position. The process for testing comprises more than 600 best players from 10 countries and 30 teams. Astonishingly, that was the most-tested ball ever in the history of sports by Adidas.

4. Live Pigeon Shooting – Was Once An Olympic Sport

There is a list of odd games that were once part of the Olympics, out of which live pigeon shooting tops the list. This is the case of the 1900 Olympic Summer Games in Paris. It included more than hundreds of pigeons released in front of the players to let them display their shooting skills. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: New Love Times

The winner of the Live Pigeon Shooting was Leon de Lunden of Belgium, who grabbed the title by shooting 21 pigeons out of 300 birds. However, the event did not go well with the audience as the sight of scattered dead birds’ feathers, and blood was too horrible for them.

This being the case, the Live Pigeon Shooting has never been a part of sports. Nevertheless, it definitely makes the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris the weirdest event in history.

3. Fishing Ranks As One Of The Most Popular Participants Sports

Fishing, generally known as the source of livelihood for people living near coastal regions, is also one of the most popular sports worldwide. While many of us have no idea about it, the truth is fishing now ranks on the 4th spot in the list of the most-participated games. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: Medium

Compared to fishing, other competitive games like softball, cycling, soccer, bowling, jogging, and skiing place lower on the list. In fact, it is more famous than both golf and tennis in combination. It is just that there is a shallow expanse of young people who take fishing as an enthusiastic sport.  

Another fortunate highlight of the fact is that fishing is in the top 10 popular games among women, thereby eliminating the difference based on gender in the field of sports. Besides, female anglers amount to 27% of total anglers amount, and many of them belong to urban areas.

2. Olympic Gold Medals – Not Made Of Pure Gold But Silver

The gold medal has always been a pride and joy for both players in the Olympics and for sports fanatics who cheer for their nation. It is astonishing to note that the gold medals are often made from silver. This has been the case since 1912 in every Olympic tournament.

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As per the reliable sources, it is the sterling silver that is mostly harnessed to make the modern medal, whereas the quantity of pure gold is quite low. In other words, there is a 92.5% proportion of silver in a gold medal. 

Another interesting fact associated with this is that the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics featured other eco-friendly metals like copper in blend with a small proportion of gold and silver in medals. The reason being, copper and silver can be recycled to make the medals.

1. Golf – It Has Also Been Played On The Moon

Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shephard and Edgar Mitchell made a thrilling history by being the first people to play golf on the moon. It was 1971 when Shephard hit a golf ball, and Edgar threw a makeshift javelin. Though the first ball was missed, the second one hit strikingly and went flying to the miles. 

Discover 30 Sports Facts that May Be Surprising
Image Source: Astrum / Youtube

Contrasting the scenario with reality, the ball only flies 100 meters. This is because the gravity at the moon is only one-sixth of Earth. Whatever be the case, that is quite a fantastic shot with a 6-iron stiff hold by just one hand.

Mitchell later jokingly named their amusing golf session at the moon ‘The first lunar Olympics.’ To have a grasp of more such interesting facts about the first and only game played on the moon.

The Bottom Line

As they say, exceptions are everywhere! No matter how many rules and regulations there are in a sport, there are always things behind the scenes that many people never know about or even think twice about.  

Now that you know all of the above facts, you can totally use them to stump everyone on trivia night for the win.


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