FAST FACTS FOR SPORTS
as global competition is heating up the way Americans conduct
business, sporting competition has become increasingly international.
The need for a universal system of weights and measures
is clearly evident. Because the metric system is the language
of measurement used by 95 percent of the world's population,
the U.S. Department of Commerce and its Metric Program offer
these Sporting Fast Facts to help make the transition a
off the 10-meter diving platform is similar to diving
from the roof of a three-story building.
players slam dunk in a net measuring 45 centimeters in
diameter, or twice the diameter of the ball.
in one of our most popular recreational road races, "the
5K," run 5 kilometers -- which is longer than 54 football
fields laid end-to-end.
like engine displacement in vehicles bought by the American
public, auto and motorcycle racing engines have their
displacement measured in cubic centimeters or liters (1
liter = 1000 cubic centimeters).
bicycle racers that complete the grueling Tour de
France will have ridden about 3800 kilometers -- the straight-line
distance from New York to Phoenix.
frames made from steel, aluminum, titanium, or carbon
fiber, road racing bikes are designed and built (usually
using metric specifications) to be strong and lightweight
(8 to 10 kilograms).
floor exercises are performed on a mat measuring 12 by
12 meters, roughly half the area of a basketball court.
gymnasts execute precise movements on a balance beam that
is only 10 centimeters wide -- about the width of a paperback
rings in men's gymnastics are placed 250 centimeters off
the floor, which is about the height of a standard ceiling.
stars of beach volleyball can jump about 75 centimeters
off the sand -- about the height of a Great Dane at its
and beach volleyball players use a regulation court size
that is 18 meters long and 9 meters wide.
annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race takes mushers and
their teams of racing dogs on a grueling 11-day, 1850-kilometer
Alaskan course from Anchorage to Nome.
"Olympic-sized" swimming pool is 50 meters long and 25
meters wide; it has eight lanes, each 2.5 meters wide.
All swimming events are measured in metric distances,
such as the 100 m freestyle and the 200 m backstroke.
players pass and carry a ball in a pool that is 1.8 meters
deep, or approximately the height of a standard upright
all track and field events involve the use of metric
measurements. For example, competitors in the high jump
are allowed a 25 meter run-up, the uprights are placed
4 meters apart, and the bar itself must not weigh more
than 2 kilograms.
May 8, 2001
Last updated: Feb. 14, 2006