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7 Classic Sports Moments Recreated in Lego

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Sometimes, a single moment in sports is so transcendentally classic, that the only way to recapture in its full glory is to rebuild it brick by brick. Literally. Using Lego building blocks as their medium, here are seven sporting events (from football, America's version, to football, the rest of the world's version) retold by meticulous architects in a pint-sized format.

1. Andy Murray's Wimbledon Victory

Andy Murray's dispatching of Novak Djokovic in July of 2013—the first time in 77 years that a native Brit won the men's singles tournament and defended his home turf—was immortalized by British publication The Guardian in the form of a stop-motion Lego animation capturing the final two minutes of Murray's victory on Wimbledon's hallowed center court. 

Brick-by-brick videos are something of a calling card for The Guardian's sports page: The Lego-wielding crew has Lego-fied all things athletic, from highlights from the London 2012 Olympic Games (both Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt got the Lego treatment) to Champions League soccer matches. And, for Lego enthusiasts rather than sport ones, designer Fabian Moritz screened a behind-the-scenes glance of the crew's Lego animation project, including the woes of using figures that don't have elbows.

2. David Beckham's Entire Career

Since Becks once confessed in an interview that he'd finagle a career as a Lego architect if being a footballer didn't pan out, a homage filmed and animated with Lego bricks as a highlight reel of sorts spanning the soccer star's career feels appropriate.

Wrapping up the four-and-a-half minute project in two weeks, Japanese animation studio Mori Pictures snapped some 1000 still photographs of a well-coiffed brick Beckham doppelganger standing in for the superstar's biggest moments, including the highs (a bending free kick over an awkwardly-smiling Greek defense) and the lows (Beckham's smiling Lego face being replaced with an angry smirk when flashed a red card).

3. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

What it lacks in animation, it makes up for in volume: In 2008, Lego enthusiasts from Hong Kong unpacked more than 300,000 Lego bricks and 4500 Lego citizens to construct a replica of Beijing's Olympic Village during the Summer Games. Measuring in at 10 feet by 26 feet, the construction includes the Bird's Nest Stadium, the Water Cube, and a host of athletes mid-competition.

The exhibition, built by the aptly named Hong Kong Lego Users Group, went on display at Hong Kong's Grand Century Place during August of 2008.

4. Chris Webber's Infamous March Madness Timeout Call

As a crash course for March Madness neophytes, Tauntr (a website that has also chronicled World Cup and classic NBA playoff highlights in Lego form) animated four classic moments from NCAA college basketball history using Lego bricks. The video, clocking in at just over two minutes, includes "One Shining Moment" highlight reel staples like Christian Laettner's late game heroics in 1992 to help Duke polish off Kentucky, Tyrus Edney's mad dash for a shot as Missouri toppled UCLA in 1996, and, most recently, Butler's Gordon Heyward's missed desperation shot in 2010's title game loss to Duke.

The highlight here is a Lego recounting of University of Michigan superstar Chris Webber's poorly orchestrated timeout in 1993's tournament game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. In a stroke of clever inspiration, the folks at Tauntr include a fan waving a sign that points out, "This Won't Count Anyways," referencing NCAA sanctions against the Wolverines when Webber was found to have received illegal benefits.

5. A Brief, Lego-ized History of FIFA's European Championship

A teenage England national football team supporter, 18-year-old Graham Love, preempted FIFA's 2012 European Championship with a YouTube video retelling some of the tournament's most storied moments with Lego figures. Love was aware of his national side's woes in the tournament when he shot the video: He spotlighted a handful of moments from the tourney most England fans would probably like to forget, including England's failure to qualify on their home field (historic Wembley Stadium) against Croatia in 2008.

The optimistic Love capped his video—which spanned from Cristiano Ronaldo's bawl after losing in the 2004 final to a cameo of Ireland's Ray Houghton scoring on a header in Euro 1988—with a graphic asking, "Hodgson's Heroes 2012?" Alas, Love's beloved Three Lions (nicknamed for skipper Roy Hodgson) lost in the quarterfinals in a penalty kick shootout against Italy. 

6. Super Bowl XLV

German website Bricksports.de dipped its toes into the Lego animation pool, initially only recreating football matches including Bundesliga club Hannover 96. After tackling more major sporting events—2008's European Championship and the 2010 World Cup—Brick Sports finally crossed over to cover the holy grail of competitions across the Atlantic: Super Bowl XLV. Brick Sports captures the game's signature plays, right down to the teams' pre-game tunnel sprint. Their reimagining of the Super Bowl captured the interest of The Guardian, and Brick Sports teamed up with the publication for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

7. The Red Sox' 2013 World Series Win

OK, so it's not quite Lego, but after the Boston Red Sox trumped the St. Louis Cardinals to win the 2013 World Series, Sports Illustrated for Kids used Lego-esque OYO Sportstoys to recreate pivotal moments from the series in painstaking detail. The figurines also gave SI Kids some joints that The Guardian's Moritz lamented that Lego lacked (OYO Sportstoys are more flexible).

Using what Sports Illustrated For Kids deemed "stunning OYO brickimation," the magazine also recapped the most memorable plays from the American League Championship Series and its National League counterpart. The players are OYO, but as CBS Sports sleuthed, the playing surface is made of Lego.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Sally Ride
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U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

You know Sally Ride as the first American woman to travel into space. But here are five things you might not know about the astronaut, who passed away five years ago today—on July 23, 2012—at the age of 61.

1. SHE PROVED THERE IS SUCH THING AS A STUPID QUESTION.

When Sally Ride made her first space flight in 1983, she was both the first American woman and the youngest American to make the journey to the final frontier. Both of those distinctions show just how qualified and devoted Ride was to her career, but they also opened her up to a slew of absurd questions from the media.

Journalist Michael Ryan recounted some of the sillier questions that had been posed to Ride in a June 1983 profile for People. Among the highlights:

Q: “Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?”
A: “There’s no evidence of that.”

Q: “Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?”
A: “How come nobody ever asks (a male fellow astronaut) those questions?"

Forget going into space; Ride’s most impressive achievement might have been maintaining her composure in the face of such offensive questions.

2. SHE MIGHT HAVE BEEN A TENNIS PRO.

When Ride was growing up near Los Angeles, she played more than a little tennis, and she was seriously good at it. She was a nationally ranked juniors player, and by the time she turned 18 in 1969, she was ranked 18th in the whole country. Tennis legend Billie Jean King personally encouraged Ride to turn pro, but she went to Swarthmore instead before eventually transferring to Stanford to finish her undergrad work, a master’s, and a PhD in physics.

King didn’t forget about the young tennis prodigy she had encouraged, though. In 1984 an interviewer playfully asked the tennis star who she’d take to the moon with her, to which King replied, “Tom Selleck, my family, and Sally Ride to get us all back.”

3. HOME ECONOMICS WAS NOT HER BEST SUBJECT.

After retiring from space flight, Ride became a vocal advocate for math and science education, particularly for girls. In 2001 she founded Sally Ride Science, a San Diego-based company that creates fun and interesting opportunities for elementary and middle school students to learn about math and science.

Though Ride was an iconic female scientist who earned her doctorate in physics, just like so many other youngsters, she did hit some academic road bumps when she was growing up. In a 2006 interview with USA Today, Ride revealed her weakest subject in school: a seventh-grade home economics class that all girls had to take. As Ride put it, "Can you imagine having to cook and eat tuna casserole at 8 a.m.?"

4. SHE HAD A STRONG TIE TO THE CHALLENGER.

Ride’s two space flights were aboard the doomed shuttle Challenger, and she was eight months deep into her training program for a third flight aboard the shuttle when it tragically exploded in 1986. Ride learned of that disaster at the worst possible time: she was on a plane when the pilot announced the news.

Ride later told AARP the Magazine that when she heard the midflight announcement, she got out her NASA badge and went to the cockpit so she could listen to radio reports about the fallen shuttle. The disaster meant that Ride wouldn’t make it back into space, but the personal toll was tough to swallow, too. Four of the lost members of Challenger’s crew had been in Ride’s astronaut training class.

5. SHE DIDN'T SELL OUT.

A 2003 profile in The New York Times called Ride one of the most famous women on Earth after her two space flights, and it was hard to argue with that statement. Ride could easily have cashed in on the slew of endorsements, movie deals, and ghostwritten book offers that came her way, but she passed on most opportunities to turn a quick buck.

Ride later made a few forays into publishing and endorsements, though. She wrote or co-wrote more than a half-dozen children’s books on scientific themes, including To Space and Back, and in 2009 she appeared in a print ad for Louis Vuitton. Even appearing in an ad wasn’t an effort to pad her bank account, though; the ad featured an Annie Leibovitz photo of Ride with fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell gazing at the moon and stars. According to a spokesperson, all three astronauts donated a “significant portion” of their modeling fees to Al Gore’s Climate Project.

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5 Surprising Facts About the Battle of Dunkirk
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With the release of Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Dunkirk, the world’s attention is once again focused on the historic events recounted in the film, when a makeshift fleet of British fishing boats, pleasure yachts, and cargo ships helped save 185,000 British soldiers and 130,000 French soldiers from death or capture by German invaders during the Fall of France in May and June 1940. Here are five surprising facts about those heroic days.

1. THE GERMAN ATTACK WAS SUPPOSED TO BE IMPOSSIBLE.

By Weper Hermann, 13 German Mobile Assault Unit - Imperial War Museums, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The main reason France collapsed so quickly in 1940 was the element of surprise enjoyed by its German attackers, thanks to General Erich von Manstein, who proposed an invasion route that was widely believed to be impossible. In Manstein’s plan, the main German column of tanks and motorized infantry would force their way through the forests of Ardennes in southeast Belgium and Luxembourg—a thick, hilly woodland which was supposed to be difficult terrain for tanks, requiring at least five days to cross, according to conventional wisdom based on the experience of the First World War. The French and British assumed that little had changed since the previous conflict, but thanks to field studies and updated maps, Manstein and his colleague General Heinz Guderian realized that a new network of narrow, paved roads would allow just enough room for tanks and trucks to squeeze through. As a result the Germans passed through Ardennes into northern France in just two-and-a-half days, threatening to cut off hundreds of thousands of Allied troops, with only one escape route: the sea.

2. ONE FRENCH WORD WAS BURNED INTO WINSTON CHURCHILL’S MEMORY: “AUCUNE.”

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The German invasion of France began on May 10, 1940, the same day Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. By May 14, when he paid his first official visit to Britain’s ally, Holland had capitulated and Paris was preparing for evacuation. But an even worse surprise was in store. In one of the most famous passages of military history, Churchill recounted the moment he learned that the French didn’t have any troops in reserve:

"I then asked ‘Where is the strategic reserve?’ and, breaking into French … ‘Ou est la mass de manoeuvre?’ General Gamelin turned to me and, with a shake of the head and a shrug, replied. ‘Aucune.’ [There is none] … I was dumbfounded. What were we to think of the Great French Army and its highest chief? It had never occurred to me than any commanders … would have left themselves unprovided with a mass of manoeuvre … This was one of the greatest surprises I have had in my life.”

3. HITLER MADE A FATAL MISTAKE.

On May 24, 1940, the Allied troops on the French and Belgian coast had been totally surrounded by powerful German tank columns, rendering them essentially defenseless against the impending German onslaught. And then came a brief reprieve, as the attackers suddenly stopped for 48 hours, allowing the British to dig in and create a defensive perimeter, setting the stage for the evacuation.

For reasons that still aren’t clear, Hitler—over the protests of his own generals and to the bafflement of historians—had ordered Guderian to halt for two days to rest and resupply. It’s true the German troops were worn out after two weeks of fighting, and Hitler may have worried about a repeat of 1914, when exhausted German troops were forced to withdraw at the Marne. He may also have been swayed by Hermann Göring, chief of the German Luftwaffe, who boasted that air power alone could destroy the helpless Allied forces at Dunkirk. Less likely is the speculation that Hitler purposefully “let the Allies go” to appear magnanimous or merciful as a prelude to peace negotiations (which was not really in keeping with his character). In the end we will probably never know why Hitler choked.

4. GERMAN DIVE-BOMBERS WERE EQUIPPED WITH SIRENS TO SPREAD TERROR.

Among many examples of Germany’s evil genius for psychological warfare, one of the most famous was the decision to equip its Ju 87 dive bombers with air-powered sirens that emitted a shrieking, unearthly wail as the plane went into attack. The siren, known as the “Jericho Trumpet,” was intended to spread terror among enemy troops and civilians on the ground—and it worked. To this day the Jericho Trumpet is one of the most recognizable, and terrifying, sounds of war. It was certainly one of the lasting impressions of the Dunkirk evacuation for ordinary troops caught beneath the German bombs. Lieutenant Elliman, a British gunner who was waiting to be evacuated on Malo-les-Bains beach, later recalled the Stukas “diving, zooming, screeching, and wheeling over our heads like a flock of huge infernal seagulls.”

5. THE FRENCH FOUGHT A HOPELESS BATTLE TO COVER THE EVACUATION.

By Saidman (Mr), War Office official photographer — Photograph H 1636 from the Imperial War Museums, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Although Churchill and other Brits were quick to criticize the failure of France’s generals during the Fall of France, many ordinary French soldiers and officers fought bravely and honorably—and one hopeless “last stand” in particular probably helped enable the successful evacuation of Dunkirk.

As British and French troops withdrew to Dunkirk, 40 miles to the southeast French troops in two corps of the French First Army staged a ferocious defense against seven German divisions from May 28 to May 31, 1940, refusing to surrender and mounting several attempts to break out despite being heavily outnumbered (110,000 to 40,000). The valiant French effort, led by General Jean-Baptiste Molinié, helped tie up three German tank divisions under Erwin Rommel, enabling the British Expeditionary Force and the remaining troops of the French First Army to retreat and dig in at Dunkirk, ultimately saving another 100,000 Allied troops.

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