Fannie’s Olympic Medalist List

Greetings funny names fans! I apologize for the brevity, I’m running up against some unexpected deadlines on the home front and I’m not as creative as Dave is under pressure.

Now that the Olympics have come to a close, let’s recap some of the more memorable names in Olympic History.

Michael Phelps photo courtesy of Agencia Brasil Fotografias

Michael Phelps photo courtesy of Agencia Brasil Fotografias

Even though Michael Phelps does not have a funny name, we have to give him a nod as the most decorated Olympic athlete with 31 medals to his name and because he talked about changing his kid’s diaper during an interview.

Larisa Latynina photo courtesy of

Larisa Latynina photo courtesy of

Followed up by Ukranian gymnast, Larisa Latynina with 18 Olympic medals. Anyway you spell it, she has a great name.

Paavo Nurmi at the Antwerp games in 1920.

Paavo Nurmi’s debut at the Antwerp games in 1920.



Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi is one of only 4 athletes to win 9 Olympic gold medals. He was associated with a team of Finnish athletes known as the “Flying Finns”. He was the first athlete in Olympic history to win five gold medals in a single game. His total medal count you ask, 12.

My personal favorite, American swimmer, Mark Spitz.

Mark Spitz swam with facial hair, because he could.

Mark Spitz swam with facial hair, because he could.

He swam with a fabulous mustache at a time when most swimmers removed excess hair. His record of 7 gold medals in one Olympic competition stood for 36 years until Michael Phelps broke the record in Beijing. He earned 11 medals. Incidentally, when he was 42 years old, he was paid $1 million as a promotional stunt to swim in an Olympic qualifier. He missed the cut by 3 seconds. Not bad when you consider he was still swimming as fast as he did when he was in his twenties. Maybe that’s where Dara Torres got the inspiration?

Sawao raised the gymnastic bar by using a trampoline to train.

Sawao raised the gymnastic bar by training on a trampoline.

And we’ll round out the count with Sawao Kato, gymnast, from Japan. He did for gymnastics what Michael Phelps did for swimming, earning 8 gold medals over the course of 3 Olympics. More than any other gymnast in Olympic history. Total medal count, 12.

Let’s call that a wrap. Or at least a short list.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom


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Paddy Barnes and Funny Names of Boxers at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, but don’t say that to their faces!

Hello everyone, it’s that magnificent time again…. the summer Olympics are in full force and we’re here to celebrate the finest names at the games!

New readers may like to know that The Blog of Funny Names exists not to mock, but to celebrate fantastic people with fantastic accomplishments and fantastic names! We’ve done so for 700 fun-filled posts now, and the Olympics might be our favorite time of all!

If you wanna catch up on where we left off, here are some splendid funny names posts from the 2012 summer games in London. We started with Gaylord Silly and some other fantastically-named athletes in Funny Names in the news 7.

Then we got into Stambolova’s Stumble (not an auspicious name for a hurdler) plus Laugher vs. Giglmayer, and then Saeid Mohammadpourkarkaragh and his heavyweight name (he was a weightlifter whose fantastic name went viral and ended up bringing in our biggest daily hits in the history of the blog… over 5,000 hits in about 14 hours).


Paddy Barnes

In case the name Paddy Barnes didn’t seem Irish enough, maybe the red hair will convince you of his homeland!

So much more fun was had: Rehan and Imran Butt, Sparkle McKnight, and other goodies.

And Arto started pulling in the legends with the funniest OLYMPIC MEDALIST NAMES OF ALL TIME. seriously, my caps lock key is toggling on and off spontaneously as I’m writing this. Oh what fun!

So today we’ll start things off with Dave’s favorite sport… BOXING! (caps lock intended)

Some of our regular readers may know that Dave is a huge boxing aficionado, and has been chatting back and forth with many of our Olympic boxers, including the esteemed American women’s boxing team, whose star Claressa Shields has a chance to make history, becoming the first American boxer (male or female) to win gold in two consecutive Olympics.

Claressa Shields and Mikaela Mayer, two amazing women... you really wanna be on their good side too!

Claressa Shields and Mikaela Mayer, two amazing women… you really wanna be on their good side too!

Both of them are remarkable success stories… Claressa rose from poverty a depressed Detroit area and found her way to stardom, and is now supporting her family and helping inspire thousands of people in the area. Mikaela Mayer, a former model, provides a tale of remarkable persistence….got eliminated from the Olympic trials last time, and decided to pursue her dream of representing her country, and now she’s here. I’ll be rooting on the American women starting today (August 6th), and continuing to do so!

But back to the main attraction…. the best names in Olympic Boxing at these 2016 Rio Olympics.

We’ll start off our team with a guy who got some professional experience, but also is representing Cameroon in the Olympics… Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. Woohoo!

Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan hopes to make a big impact for the land of Borat and Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin.

Ireland brings stereotypically Irish names to the table in the form of talented flyweight Paddy Barnes, and he’s a definite medal contender.

These United States of America bring Shakur Stevenson (another medal favorite) to Rio, and Britain sends along the fantastically-named Qais Ashfaq who hopes to follow in the footsteps of Amir Khan and Anthony Joshua and deliver the gold for Mother England.

Funny Names Blog cofounder Dave is from Canada, so he’ll be rooting for Mandy Bujold in the women’s division, and the other cofounder Arto (who likes fondling Ted Danson) has Mira Potkonen to cheer for in women’s boxing.

One of the first Google Hits for Tetyana Kob. I love the internet!

One of the first Google Hits for Tetyana Kob. I love the internet!

Tetyana Kob of Ukraine and Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands help round out a superb women’s boxing division, which is only being contested in the Olympics for the second time ever, following London 2012’s debut.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be rooting for some Knockout Names at the Olympic Games (which would’ve been a great title for this post), and watching the world’s best do their thing!

For more Funny Named Olympic Coverage, check out Mark Bialczak’s splendid post on a Chinese Trampolinist, and Kerbey’s post on two fantastically-named Brazilian siblings representing the host country. Now let the games begin

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Diego Hypólito and Danielle Hypólito: Bringing The Hype To The 2016 Rio Olympics

photo: Jasmin Schneebeli-Wochner/Gymbox

photo: Jasmin Schneebeli-Wochner/Gymbox

Welcome to the 2016 Rio Olympics edition of The Blog of Funny Names. Today we showcase siblings Diego and Daniele Hypólito, shown here, discussing the merits of having a hometown advantage this year in Brazil. Both are gymnasts, competing for the gold.

A physician might see the prefix hypo and conclude that these two are “below normal” litos. But that is not the case. And don’t confuse them with other hippos like Hippolytus Guarinonius, noted physician and polymath. Isn’t that a fun word? It’s not actually a teacher of many maths; it’s more of a Renaissance man, one who has knowledge of broad subjects. And speaking of broad subjects…

Perhaps, like me, the accented Hypólito surname brings to mind a baby hippo.

While this is not altogether unpleasant, it is inaccurate. Neither sibling resembles a hippo in any way. But looks can be deceiving. While Daniele looks young, she will turn 32 (egads, man!) in September. Compare this to the fact that the average age of U.S. women’s gymnastics teams has hovered around age 16. In effect, Daniele is not only a double Hypólito sibling, but double the age of her competition. But that just makes her a seasoned athlete; Daniele competed in the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Added to the fact that she has trained in Rio de Janeiro all of her life, the odds are ever in her favor.

Just last March, Daniele traveled to Jesolo, Italy to compete at the 2016 City of Jesolo Trophy, where she helped the Brazilian team place 2nd and individually placed 20th All Around.

Brother Diego is also in his dirty 30s, having just entered the decade in June. He competes this Saturday in events such as pommel horse, vault, and rings. And don’t worry about Diego catching the Zika virus, a major concern in Rio. He contracted dengue fever, a mosquito-borne tropical disease, in 2008 but was able to recover just in time to compete at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He’s not going out like that, you can bet.

If you can’t catch Diego on Saturday, be sure to stay tuned for Sunday’s women’s gymnastics. Perhaps sister Daniele will score an individual all-around again!

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Zero Mostel

Greetings funny names fans. Today we’re traveling in the “Not-so-way-back-machine” to a time when the world was in black and white, if you watched television, to visit with one of the greatest comedians of the 20th century.

If this man represents zero, we may have to rethink the numbering system.

If this man represents zero, we may have to rethink the numbering system.

Born Samuel Joel Mostel, his mother, Cina “Celia” Druchs Mostel, nick named him Zero allegedly trying to inspire him to do better in school so he wouldn’t amount to zero. It must have worked be was able to speak four languages, English, Yiddish, Italian and German, helping him reach more of New York’s audiences.

Zero was also a prolific painter. While still in school his mom would dress him up in a velvet suit and send him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to practice copying masterpieces. He painted John Alexander White’s “Study in Black and Green” everyday, entertaining the museum visitors.

Mostel didn’t adopt the name Zero until press agent, Ivan Black, created the stage name for him when he started his career as a nightclub comic at the age of 27—because the nightclub owner didn’t think Sam Mostel was a good name for a comedian.

As with most comedians, life was not always easy. He was drafted by the Army in 1943 then discharged from service five months later for an unnamed physical disability. So he entertained service men through the USO until 1945.

Then the dark years when he was blacklisted and forced to testify before Congress and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) for his activities with the Communist Party. He was no longer allowed to perform, for the USO or professionally on stage or in the movies.

His testimony made the Congressmen look foolish and won him the admiration of the Blacklist community because he did not name names and stood up for his right to privacy of his personal political beliefs.

Because of the Blacklist, his family struggled through the 1950’s with little income. By 1957, Toby Cole, a New York theatrical agent who opposed the blacklist, contacted Mostel and asked to represent him. It revived Mostel’s career.

By 1959, the power of the blacklist faded.

Zero hit his heights in the 1960 being cast in the role of Tevye in the original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. He created the cantorial sounds made famous in songs like, “If I Were a Rich Man.” Then Mel Brooks, via the aid of Mostel’s wife, Kate, convinced Mostel to take the original role of Max Bialystock in The Producers, both on stage then film. If you were to see the original version with Zero then the performance reprised by Nathan Lane, you will see Lane’s homage to Mostel in his creation of the character, right down to the hairdo.

Zero’s career ended in 1977 when he was preparing for the role of Shylock in a re-imagined version of The Merchant of Venice. Always a large man, he went on a starvation diet and lost nearly 100 pounds for the role. One day he passed out in his dressing room and was sent to the hospital with pulmonary distress. His prognosis was for recovery, however, he died a few days later from an aortic aneurysm.

Author Arnold Wesker wrote a book about the ordeals besetting the show ending in Zero’s death called, “The Birth of Shylock and the Death of Zero Mostel.

And so Zero, cheers to the man who made something out of nothing.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom.




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Dong Dong: A Chinese trampolinist we hope bounces to Rio

With the Summer Games about to heat up in Rio, the news will not stop.

Dirty water.

Dreaded disease.

Potential terrorism.

Representation from a certain nation disqualified for doping the last get-together.

The committee for that nation appealing said disqualification down to the last minute.

A treasured and challenged gold medal winner from that last get-together set to watch this one from jail, where he sits sentenced at last for murdering his girlfriend.

Yay, sports.

And yet there’s still room for BoFN to shoulder its way in with this, um, enchanting name from the world of gymnastics.

It’s a Chinese trampolinist who has, indeed, been mentioned here twice in Olympic News roundup stories.

Dong Dong, center, shows off his. Gold Medal.

Dong Dong, center, shows off his. Gold Medal. (Photo from WikiPedia)

But now Dong Dong, gold medalist in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, has his own WikiPedia page. And it includes that colorful photo above.

So now the diminutive Chinese gentleman, a distinguished member of the squad able to bounce back to perform against stiff competition in two straight Olympic Games, has his own post.

With Olympic qualification news out of China scarce, I’m unsure if Dong Dong will stand up for China on the podium this time.

Did I just write that about a world-class athlete? Respect, Mark. Aw, heck. Over here, Dong Dong would be flush with sponsorships. Ding Dong snack cakes. Ring-a-Ding doorbells. King Kong action figures. Don King Co.-produced boxing matches. Viagra or Cialis?

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