Cold moments: When weather and sports collide   

Updated: October 31, 2008, 5:03 PM ET

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Michigan-Ohio State 1950 illustration


4. Ohio State vs. Michigan

Date: Nov. 25, 1950

Weather: A blizzard. Snow and 28 mph winds.

What happened: Oddsmakers favored the Buckeyes, but they didn't figure on unfavorable weather that would earn this game "The Snow Bowl" nickname. In one of the worst blizzards in Ohio history, Michigan blocked two kicks and won 9-3 to capture the Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth. Wolverines halfback Chuck Hortmann, who, like everyone else on the field, couldn't run or pass (0-for-9 in passing attempts), managed to punt his way to hero status. He punted 24 times, and 11 of those times pinned the Buckeyes inside their own 15 with caddy-corner kicks. Which is the only way to explain how a team could win without gaining a single first down (Ohio State managed three), and also without turning the ball over. Ohio State also tried to punt its way to victory, kicking the ball away 21 times. Didn't work. The teams combined for a grand total of 68 offensive yards. Must have been a thrill to watch, if you could manage to see through the driving snow.

Libby Riddles

AP Photo


5. Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

Date: March 20, 1985 (day of finish)

Weather: Multiple blizzards and whiteouts throughout the race.

What happened: Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the Iditarod, and the weather was so brutal it took her just over 18 days to complete the course -- more than six days longer than it would take Susan Butcher, the second woman to win Iditarod, in 1986. Riddles credits her win (by about five hours) to two crack lead dogs Axle and Dugan. Those dogs kept running while all the other mushers and teams were holed up during a blizzard at Shaktoolik, three days before the finish. "It was grim," she said of the final push. "I could not see from one trail marker to the next. I let my dogs go so far that I could barely see the marker behind me, because I didn't want to lose that sucker. When that was at the edge of my visibility, I'd put my snowhook in and walk up ahead of the dogs until I could see the next marker. And we repeated that process. It was very slow. For some idiot reason the dogs trusted that I knew what I was doing."

--Jeff Merron


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