What’s In A Name?

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The World Cup has started. I’m not a big fan of organized sports, butt I am a fan of history. So today I’d like to discuss the little-known history of how the world’s biggest sporting events got their names.

The Olympics

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You are undoubtedly familiar with the suffix “ic.” It means “of or pertaining to”. For example, if you work at an internet company where having a life outside of work means you don’t sufficiently care about the customer service experience, you become a “workaholic.” In ancient Rome, slovenly and unathletic people would sit in the stands watching athletes. When an athlete crashed hard and then had to limp to the finish line, observers would point and mockingly shout “Oh look… a limpic!!”

Indy 500

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Contrary to popular understanding, the Indy 500 did not get its name from being located in Indianapolis. In truth, it was due to the nature of the cars used in the first races. They had no safety features like full-body seatbelts or mesh-netting for the side windows. Basically, the cars were super-dangerous, just like GM cars today. So whenever someone asked a question like “Hey, what happened to the guy driving car #26?” the answer was usually “Oh, he’s in dee hospital.”

The World Cup

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The first World Cup was held in 1930. It originated out of a post World War I Europe that was sick of the violence and death resulting from nations going to war. Pledging “never again,” the nations organized an event where men from vying countries would kick each other in the nuts instead. Over time the players got wise and started wearing cups. Hence the name World Cup.

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