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Olympic Champ's Olympic Facts Cause A Stir

Nov 17, 1998

Kevin Berry, 1964 Olympic butterfly champion and prolific breaker of world-records, now seems to have set a new kind of record. The first print of his book, "2000 things you didn't know about the Olympics" (Ironbark, Pan Macmillan, Australia.) was released only last week. Now it is about to go to a second print.

In this, his first book, Kevin Berry reveals the results of a life-time spent in gathering unusual facts about the Olympics. Here are a few samples:

- Avery Brundage, the Chicago millionaire who became IOC president in 1952, was known as 'Slavery Brundage' because of his insistence on strict adherence to the amateur rules.

- His Excellency Juan Antonio Samaranch, the present IOC president, first became interested in sport when he took up boxing in the early 1980's fighting under the name of 'Kid Samaranch.'

- Felipe Munoz, Mexico's first Olympic gold medallist (200 metres breaststroke) was known as 'Fibio' which means 'lukewarm'. Why? Because his father came from Agunascalientes ('hot water') while his mother was born in Rio Frio ('cold water')

- At the 1900 Paris Olympics underwater swimming was held as an event for the first and only time. The winner, appropriately enough, was a Frenchman, Charles de Venderville, who covered 60 metres while submerged for 1 minute 8.4 seconds.

- When Surinam's Anthony Nesty became the surprise winner in the 1984 Olympic 100 Fly, the organisers were sent scurrying in a wild panic to find the least known flag in Los Angeles, and to this day, no one, least of all Anthony, knows whether the music played was really the Surinam national anthem.

- Jon Henricks, the 1956 Olympic 100 metres freeestyle champion, was the first swimmer to shave down before an event. He got the idea from his father who saw how boat crews in the nearby Parramatta River polished the hulls of their boats to make them to slip through water faster.