What Song Is Played If an Independent Olympian Medals?

Harry How, Staff / Getty
Harry How, Staff / Getty

Though Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics due to systematic, state-sponsored doping, you'll still find 169 Russians on the slopes and rinks at the PyeongChang Games. The International Olympic Committee allowed the athletes to participate after they successfully went through rigorous drug testing. But the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR for short) aren't just participating—they're medaling. As of February 13, OAR have earned a silver medal for team figure skating, as well as four bronze medals in short track speed skating, curling, and cross-country skiing.

The medal bounty represents a change from the results Independent Olympians have seen in the past. Historically, athletes not competing for specific countries haven’t done so well—but in 1992, their chances were better than usual due to sheer numbers. The number of Independent Olympians is usually 10 or fewer, but due to the separation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 58 competitors were considered “Independent” at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Three of them won medals in shooting—one silver and two bronze. (The 2012 delegation should have medaled just for their enthusiasm during the Parade of Nations.)

So what happens when you're a country-less athlete? Well, none of the medals won this year by OAR will count toward Russia's overall medal totals. And when they actually hit the podium, the athletes stand under the Olympic flag instead of a country flag. Similarly, the song that plays is the official Olympic Anthem, not their national anthem. And while other athletes don athleisure emblazoned with the colors and symbols of their countries, OAR has been relegated to wearing neutral clothing.

In past years, Olympic athletes who are unable to represent their countries due to international sanctions or political transition have competed as “Independent Olympians." But there are none listed on the official Olympics site for the PyeongChang Games. Also missing this year: the Refugee Olympic Team, which was founded last year for 10 refugee athletes originally from Syria, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia. 

Simone Biles Just Became the Most Decorated Female Gymnast in History

Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0 br
Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0 br

Simone Biles became a household name when she won four gold medals in gymnastics at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Three years later, she has proven that she's still among the best in the sport's history. At the 2019 Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, Biles won her 21st world champ medal—making her the most decorated female gymnast of all time, The New York Times reports.

The U.S. women's team competed at the event in order to retain their title of best in the world. Biles racked up the highest individual scores with her vault, balance beam, and floor routines, helping the U.S. earn an overall score of 172.330 points. The team bested Russia, the second-place team, by 5.801 points and won their seventh consecutive gold at a world competition or Olympics.

Biles was previously tied with Svetlana Khorkina for most world championship medals held by a female gymnast. She now holds the record for the women's sport, and is just two medals shy of male gymnast Vitaly Scherbo's record of 23.

At 22, Simone Biles has already made a historic impact on the sport. In 2013, she had a difficult new floor exercise move named after her—a double layout with a 180-degree turn at the end.

[h/t The New York Times]

The New Tokyo 2020 Olympic Medals Are Made From Recycled Electronics

Tokyo 2020
Tokyo 2020

The Olympics have ancient roots, but Tokyo is finding ways to update the event in time for the summer games in 2020. The latest idea shared by the organizing committee may not be as flashy as an artificial meteor shower or as essential as modernized toilets, but it's no less innovative. As Engadget reports, all of the medals awarded at the 2020 Summer Olympics will be made from recycled electronics—and their designs have been unveiled to the public for the first time.

Many electronics contain precious metals like copper, silver, and gold—the same elements needed to make the Olympic medals. With hundreds of pounds of the materials destined to become e-waste in Japan each year, the Olympic committee came up with a plan to put some of it to good use.

In 2017, the Olympics organizers called upon Japanese residents to donate their old smartphones and other devices so they could be made into medals for the 2020 games. Over the past two years, the committee has collected 78,985 tons of donated electronics (including more than 6.2 million phones), and from that haul they've recovered approximately 70 pounds of gold, 7716 pounds of silver, and 4850 pounds of bronze, which was more than enough material to cast new medals for each Olympic event. You can get a peek at the design of the final products in the video below.

The 2020 Olympics will mark Tokyo's second time hosting the games (their first go was in 1964). By the time the games conclude next summer, organizers are expected to have spent $20 billion putting the event together.

[h/t Engadget]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER