Question: I know the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia. I've looked on a map to locate the city, but I can't find it. Where is it located? What can you tell me about the city? -- O.L.M., Keene, N.H.
Answer: Sochi is located on the Black Sea coast, near Russia's border with Georgia. The permanent population of the city is more than 300,000. Its climate is subtropical, with warm to hot summers and mild winters. Not only will the XXII Winter Olympic Games be held there, so will the XI Paralympic Winter Games later this year. The city is one of the hosts for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
NBC will broadcast more than 1,539 hours of the games through a combined broadcast of its six networks from Sochi.
Q: Anyone who has ever watched the Olympics knows the first three finishers in an event win a medal. What about other contestants? -- J.H., Peoria, Ill.
A: The first eight athletes in an event receive a "victory diploma" from the International Olympic Committee. As you said, the first three finishers in an event receive a medal plus a diploma; the next five receive only the diploma. According to the IOC, there have been approximately 1,300 medals made.
Q: When and where were the first Winter Olympic Games held? Which country has won the most medals at the Winter Games? -- G.T.N., Chattanooga, Tenn.
A: The Winter Olympics were first held in 1924 in Chamonix, France. The modern Summer Olympics began in Athens in 1896.
As for winning the most medals, Norwegian athletes have won a total of 303 medals, 107 of them gold. The United States athletes complied the second most total medals with 253 total, 87 gold.
Q: I was listening to a radio station on my short wave radio one night. The question was how many Winter Olympic Games are competed indoors. I came up with three but the answer was four. I lost my signal and did not get the answer. Can you tell me? -- M.M., Media, Pa.
A: I have a feeling I know which one you missed. Ice hockey, figure skating and speed skating are easy. I bet the one you missed is curling.
Q: I once heard the Olympic motto. I didn't understand it; I suppose it was in Latin. What is the motto, and what does it mean in English? -- L.C.Z., Wood River, Ill.
A: The Olympic motto is "Citius, Altius, Fortius," which means "Faster, Higher, Stronger." The story goes that Pierre de Coubertin, considered the father of the modern Olympic games, proposed the motto in 1894 after hearing the words spoken by Dominican priest Henri Didon years earlier.
Q: What ever happened to ice skating competitors Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding? In what place did they finish at the Olympics? -- N.B.N., Santa Anna, Calif.
A: During a practice session on Jan. 6, 1994, at the Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly conspired with two others (her bodyguard and a hired hit man) to physically harm Kerrigan. He was supposed to break Kerrigan's leg; instead, he badly bruised the thigh.
While Harding did win the Nationals, she finished eighth at the Lillehammer, Norway, Winter Olympics. Kerrigan won silver behind Ukrainian Oksana Baiul.
After a series of legal maneuvering, Harding was banned for life for the sport. After that, she got involved in professional wrestling and formed a band that was booed off stage in its first and only performance. In 2002, she attempted a career in boxing. In 2008, she was a regular commentator for a TV series "TruTV Presents: World's Dumbest..." She has been married three times and has at least one child.
As for Nancy Kerrigan, she retired from competition shortly after the Olympics and turned professional. Right after the attack, she was a media darling; however, after a few an on-air gaffes, the media quickly turned against her, calling her "grumpy." In 1995, Kerrigan married her agent, with whom she has three children. She will be a figure skating analyst for NBC during the Sochi games.
Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly changed his name to Jeff Stone after his release from prison.
Q: In vaudeville, there was a performer who billed himself as the Perfect Fool. Do you know who he was? -- T.E., Rockland, Maine
A: "Perfect Fool" Isaiah Edwin Leopold was born in Philadelphia on Nov. 9, 1886, to a European immigrant family. As a child, Leopold would often perform for customers in his father's millinery shop. In his mid-teens, Isaiah began to perform on stage, a profession that so troubled his father he asked his son to change his name so as not to bring shame to his family. He split his middle name, Edwin, to Ed Wynn and went on to enjoy a successful career in vaudeville, radio and television.
In time, his humor became outdated, and he was no longer in demand. At the urging of his actor son, Keenan Wynn, he took up serious acting and became a great character actor. He was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar in 1959 for his role as Mr. Dussell in "Anne Frank." He also voiced the Mad Hatter in "Alice in Wonderland" and played Uncle Albert in "Mary Poppins." Ed Wynn died in 1966.
Q: In the 1960s, I bought my boyfriend a bottle of aftershave for Christmas. I remember the advertising slogan, "Be careful how you use it." I don't remember the name of the aftershave. Do you? By the way, the boyfriend became my husband. -- W.K.S., Salisbury, Md.
A: The aftershave was Hai Karate. The lemon-lime lotion also came with self-defense instructions in how the wearer could fight off the hordes of women who would be in pursuit. Hai Karate faded away in the 1980s.
Q: Who was America's first millionaire? -- O.C., Elk, Calif.
A: When Elias Hasket Derby died on Sept. 8, 1799, he left an estate of $1 million, the largest single fortune in New England. Derby was born in Salem, Mass., in 1739. He worked for his father in the import business and took over the operation after his father's death. Derby increased trade with England and the West Indies, adding to the company's growth and his personal fortune. At the time of his death at age 60, his fortune would be equivalent to more than $13 million today.
In case you are wondering about John Jacob Astor, he came a bit later in America's timeline (1763-1848) and is recognized as this nation's first multi-millionaire.
Q: In business jargon, I have seen the word "disintermediation." What does it mean? -- L.B., Daly City, Calif.
A: It means removing the middleman. The term has become a popular buzzword used to describe many Internet-based businesses. By selling directly to the customer, avoiding retail channels, products are cheaper. The term is not exclusive to retail but is also applicable to finances, when you invest directly, avoiding a broker.
Q: How long has the parking meter been around? What city was the first to install the meter? -- I.J., Andrews, Md.
A: You can give credit -- or blame -- for the parking meter to lawyer and publisher Carlton Magee of Oklahoma City. In July 1935, Oklahoma City became the first city to install the parking meter, which cost a nickel an hour, which is equivalent to about 85 cents today.
Q: The original cast of the TV sitcom "Seinfeld" was supposed to have only three main characters. The fourth was added later. Who was the afterthought? -- T.K., Morris, Conn.
A: Elaine Benes, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, was added after the pilot. Network execs thought a female would add a different perspective to the all-male cast.
Q: What does "Dalai Lama" mean? How old is he? -- R.V., Albany, N.Y.
A: There are several definitions, although all are similar. Here's one: In Mongolian, "dalai" means "ocean," while in Tibetan, "lama" means "spiritual teacher."
The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born on July 6, 1935.
Q: When did Time magazine start naming a person of the year? -- K.L., Waterford, N.Y.
A: Time magazine originally started with a "Man of the Year" in 1927. The first honored person was Charles Lindbergh, the aviator who made the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The title was finally changed to "Person of the Year" in 1999.