Community·Posted on Jul 30, 202111 Extremely Specific Athlete Habits You See At The Olympics — And The Low-Key Fascinating Reasons Behind ThemPrepare to be an Olympic brainiac.by cindyc32Community ContributorApproved and edited by BuzzFeed Community TeamFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink 1. Why do water polo players wear protective caps with plastic holsters over the ears? BSR Agency / Getty Images The swim caps for water polo provide a few of benefits. Since most players are only visible from the neck up, the swim cap is a way to identify the player by their numbers. The cap also protects the hair against pulling. Finally, the plastic part on the sides helps keep water out of the players' ears so they can hear fellow teammates. 2. Why do gymnasts put chalk on their hands and bodies? Jamie Squire / Getty Images Since chalk absorbs sweat, it helps gymnasts maintain a better grip on things like the uneven bars. Maintaining a firm grip on the equipment not only keeps athletes safe, it also helps them execute complicated maneuvers. The chalk usually comes in three forms: powder, a solid block that looks similar to soap, and a liquid. 3. Why do divers immediately shower when they get out of the pool? Clive Rose / Getty Images Divers typically feel cold when they get out of the pool, so the warm shower keeps their muscles limber and eliminates muscle cramps. This is the same reason you may see divers sitting in heated jet tubs between dives. 4. Why do Olympians bite their medals? Valery Sharifulin / Getty Images The tradition of biting Olympic medals comes from the ancient practice of determining if a coin was authentic. Gold is especially malleable, so if your teeth leave an indentation, you know it's real. Today, the gold medals are made of silver and contain just a fraction of gold, the silver medals are pure silver, and the bronze medals are made of copper. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the medals are made of recycled precious metals from Japanese electronics! It isn't stopping athletes from recreating poses with the iconic "bite" (or byte in this case). 5. Why are the top ranked swimmers put in the middle lanes? Xinhua News Agency / Getty Images It may seem illogical to not have the best swimmer in lane #1, but the coveted spot is really in the middle. Swimmers with the fastest qualifying times actually earn that spot. The reason the middle is desirable is that the water isn't as choppy, and the lower resistance is easier to navigate. Plus, being in the middle allows you to see the competition around you. And it doesn't hurt to be the center of attention either. 6. Why do fencers yell when they get a touch? Xinhua News Agency / Getty Images Fencing coaches often encourage yelling after a successful touch as it releases tension. And, a little bit of celebration can allow you to get in your opponent's head. However, it's considered rude to yell directly at your opponent, which is why you'll see that many will turn their heads to scream. 7. Why do archers have that big rod sticking out the front of their bow? Xinhua News Agency / Getty Images Today's competitive sport bows looks a lot different than what Robin Hood would have used. Most noticeably is the large rod that sticks out away from the archer in the direction of the target. This is a stabilizer rod that helps add weight to keep the bow balanced. 8. Why do they spray water into the pool for the diving events? Clive Rose / Getty Images This spray creates ripples across the water, which makes it easier for divers to see how far they are from the surface of the pool. This is key as athletes twist and flip downward toward the pool. Gauging their distance allows divers to time their moves so that they can return to a diving position right before they hit the water while avoiding a big splash which is a big no-no in diving. 9. Why do some shooters wear orange glasses? Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Athletes who participate in events like trap and skeet are often seen sporting orange glasses. Not only are they practical from a safety standpoint, but the orange color is great for increasing contrast. The orange tint makes the targets pop and can increase the shooter's depth perception, which is handy for long-range targets. 10. How do horses get to the Olympics for equestrian events? Naomi Baker / Getty Images They get there pretty much like everyone else, by plane. Prior to boarding, horses are kept in mandatory quarantine before their flights. Each horse has their own passport and they are loaded onto a cargo plane that has an easier take off and landing than traditional passenger planes. Horses are well taken care of throughout the flight by handlers and veterinarians to make sure they arrive healthy and happy. 11. What's the purpose of the person who just sits at the rear of the boat for rowing events? BSR Agency / Getty Images It may look like someone just hitching a ride across the river, however, the coxswain (the person who sits in the back) has a pretty important role. That person is responsible setting the rhythm for the rowers and helping with steering. They're the only ones facing forward, so it makes sense that they'd know how the team should row and where to go. They also coach and motivate the rowers along the way.