Celebrate the Olympics

Anticipation for the start of the 2012 Olympics has been brewing for a while, and the day has finally arrived. Olympic fever is officially all around, so kick it off right with our compilation of Olympic-related fun facts and events.

Summer Olympic sports for kids around Chicago

We all know swimming, diving, gymnastics, and track and field. But what about those little-known sports that only get their moment in the sun when the Olympics roll around every four years?

As you watch the torch head to Rio, it may be time for your kids to explore some of the more obscure summer Olympic offerings, all right here in Chicago. The next thing you know, they could be the ones on the podium.

Make a mini Olympic torch in 5 minutes

Homemade Olympic medal

A tech guide to the summer Olympics

Q Are there any apps that can help our family
enjoy the summer Olympics?
A Though the ancient Greeks couldn’t have
imagined the Olympic games would have its own Facebook page, that
is the exactly where more than 2.7 million visitors have gone to
find information and postings about the bi-annual games. In fact,
this year’s event has more than one Facebook page, a YouTube
channel, and yes, there are even a few apps.

Athlete interviews, schedules and tickets are just some of the
offerings online. While the summer games don’t officially begin
until July 23, families can get the most out of the summer games by
exploring these tech resources today.

  • Olympic.org and London2012.com
    One is about The Olympics and one is dedicated to this summer’s
    games in London. Get game schedules, find out about tickets, shop
    the Olympic store, read about athletes’ stories and follow the
    torch as it ends its 70-day journey to London.
  • Twitter.com/London 2012
    The Olympics are also on Twitter, and the excitement builds with
    each tweet. You can get news, stories and links to photos by
    following along.
  • Facebook.com/London2012
    The official page for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic
    Games. Follow the journey of athletes and organizers leading up to
    the exciting event.
  • TeamUSA.org
    Information about the U.S. Olympic teams.
  • Mascot-games.london2012.com
    Wenlock and Mandeville, the official mascots of London’s 2012
    Olympic and Paralympic games, have their own fun page for
    kids.Watch videos, make your own mascot and play games online to
    build up the excitement before opening day.
  • YouTube.com/London 2012
    Check out exclusive video footage of behind-the-scenes
    preparations and athlete interviews.
  • ActivityVillage.co.uk/summer_olympics.htm and
    Kids can find fun printables, activity ideas and coloring pages at
    these sites.

Wildlife take the gold for true Olympic feats

The Olympics give us a chance tomarvel at the super-humans among us, and while human Olympians haveamazing physical abilities, for wild animals strength, speed,agility and endurance mean more than just medals: they are a matterof survival. Check out some fun facts from the National WildlifeFederationabout animal Olympians with gold medal-worthyabilities.

High-Jump Hotshots
– The champion of the animal world may be the spittle bug. Don’t be fooled by its size: while it’s only as
long as a pencil eraser, it can jump a whopping 115 times higher
than its body length. That would be equivalent to a person leaping
over a 70-story skyscraper!

Going the Distance
– The Chinook salmon takes the cake for endurance. They travel more
than 2,000 miles as they swim inland from the sea and head up the
rivers and streams where they hatched. That’s about the distance
between Detroit, Michigan and Los Angeles, California. Then there
is the Arctic tern, a bird with the longest migration, literally
migrating from one end of the planet to the other. Traveling from
the Arctic all the way to the Antarctic, and back again, each year
means they cover about 50,000 miles in total!The sootyshearwater comes in at a close second with a migrating journey
beginning in New Zealand and ending in the North Pacific, 40,000
miles annually. The Pacific gray whale can scrapes by with the
bronze medal. It’s the longest migrating mammal, traveling a
round-trip journey of 12,000 miles.

Taking the Plunge
The beakedwhale can dive deeper in the ocean than any other animal,
heading down to depths of 6,230 feet – that’s over a mile deep! And
if that wasn’t impressive enough, it can then hold its breath for
85 minutes before resurfacing for air.

Jungle Gymnasts –
The AfricanBush Baby is a tiny primate that lives in the treetops and has
some incredible leaping abilities. As it prowls the tropical
forests at night looking for fruits and insects to devour, bush
babies can make leaps of 20 feet or more, which is many times their
own body length. They are great jumpers and acrobats too, as they
move in complete silence and have no trouble seeing in almost
absolute darkness with the help of their huge eyes.

Run, Run, Fast as YouCan – We all know the fastest animal on the planet is the
cheetah, which can run at speeds over 60 miles per hour. But
even that doesn’t always ensure this big cat gets a meal. The
cheetah preys mainly on gazelles and other small antelope, and
while they’re not as fast as the cat, they have greater endurance
and agility in a high-speed chase and as a result often escape the
spotted speedster. The silver medal would go to the pronghorn, the planet’s second-fastest animal with a top speed
that almost matches the cheetah’s.

Speedy Swimmers
The killer whale or orca usually cruises at speeds between 2 to 6
miles an hour, but it can swim up to 30 or 40 miles an hour! The gentoopenguin can’t fly in the air like other bi

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