Try to stump me sports trivia

I know, you’re saying: “Hey. You can’t stump me. I know all that stuff. I'm a pro at trivia. It’s all locked away in my memory bank. Go ahead, ask me something.”

Okay. Let’s see if I can find something that escaped the impressive grasp of your infallible sports memory (answers follow):

1. What are the two forms of Olympic wrestling?

2. How long was the longest recorded boxing match with gloves?

3. In the 13th Winter Olympics held at Lake Placid, New York, in 1980, speed skater Eric Heiden became the first man ever to do what?

4.  Which coach guided the New York Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980 to 1983?  And since that’s so easy, the second part of the question is: What team finally broke the Islanders winning string? Also a pretty easy question.

5. Who originated the line: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

6. Why do they call a hard-driven downward shot to the opponents’ side of the net a “spike” in volleyball?


1. The two forms of Olympic wrestling are “grunting” and “non-grunting.” But we would also accept the answer freestyle and Greco-Roman.

2. The fight was in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1893. Andy Bowen and Jack Burke fought for 110 rounds. It was seven hours and 19 minutes before the match was declared “no contest” when  both men were unable to continue.

3.  Eric Heiden was the first person to win five individual gold medals in a single year. He won the 500-, 1,000-, 1,500-, 5,000-, and 10,000-metre races.   

Now, you may be saying, as I did:  “Wait a minute! Didn’t Mark Spitz win more gold in the water?”  

Yes, he did, but his seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympics included three that were with relay teams.

4. It was Al Arbour who led the Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cup wins. But, alas, then along came the Edmonton Oilers and the string was broken in 1984. The Oilers got a nice consecutive-winning string started themselves in 1984 and 1985. Missed in 1986 due to Montreal, but started another string in 1987 and 1988 and  then ran out of string in 1989 at the hands of Calgary.  Edmonton won again in 1990, but then Pittsburgh took over in 1991 and  1992. Looking back through those years, though, it’s incredible to think that, had it not been for the prowess of Montreal in 1986 and Calgary in 1989, the  Oilers  would of, could of, should of, won  seven Stanleys in a row!

5. You probably guessed Vince Lombardi, right? Actually, it was Vanderbilt football coach Red Sanders, who said that line which has become perhaps the best-known quotation ever to emerge from the world of sports.  

First of all, Sanders’ era was earlier than Lombardi’s. Secondly, Lombardi, the former NFL coach, repeatedly denied ever having made the statement. In his 1973 book, Lombardi explained that what he once said was, “Winning is not everything, but making the effort to win is.”

6. Why is it called a spike? I haven’t a clue. But, of course, I can make something up, if you insist. How about this: It’s called a spike because it’s driven down hard like a railroad spike.

And, if you’d like a more expansive explanation, try this one: One of the founders of volleyball was William Morgan, who was known for his hard-driving serves. His opponents would complain that it hurt to receive and return them, and would yell out, “Bill really put a lot of pepper on that one.” 

However, as Morgan got older and his serve lost some of its steam, they would good-naturedly taunt him with, “Hey Bill, put some more spice on that serve.”

That phraseology developed to the point where anything hard driven was said to have “spice” on it. But, as the game spread, players overseas had difficulty with the soft “c” sound in “spice”  and replaced it with the hard “c” sound.  And that’s how the word “spike” evolved into popular volleyball jargon.