Cold moments: When weather and sports collide   

Updated: October 31, 2008, 5:02 PM ET

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AFC Championship

AP Photo

 

7. AFC Championship, San Diego at Cincinnati

Date: Jan. 10, 1982

Weather: minus 9 at kickoff, wind gusts up to 35 mph, minus 59 wind chill at halftime.

What happened: Officially, it's the second-coldest game in NFL history. Toss in that wind chill, though, and maybe the Ice Bowl doesn't look so bad. Consider this: Bengals QB Ken Anderson suffered frostbite on his right ear. Police spent their time monitoring spectator health: worrying about unruly fans wouldn't be necessary on this day. But U.S. Army doctor Ralph Goldman, whom the NFL consulted before game time, came just inches short of calling playing conditions primo. "We have troops out in much colder weather than that," he explained, "and they're able to perform their jobs." Dr. Welby Goldman added, "There's no risk of fatal hypothermia." The Bengals prevailed 27-7, and earned a trip to the Super Bowl -- in Detroit. No beachside romps along Lake Erie, but at least they'd be playing indoors.

Edmund Hillary & Tenzing Norgay

AP Photo

 

2. Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary first to scale Everest

Date: May 29, 1953

Weather: minus 17 and minus 5 Fahrenheit; strong winds; deep snow; continuous threat of ice and snow avalanches.

What happened: British climbing teams had been trying since 1922 to reach the peak of Everest. Thirty-one years later, the Brits succeeded in putting two men atop the world's highest peak, namely New Zealand's Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. The two men, who received heroes' welcomes when they returned to civilization, had spearheaded a huge (400+ men) British expedition led by John Hunt. Conquering the 29,029-foot peak, though not considered a technically difficult achievement, is considered great because of the many difficulties imposed by the altitude and the weather. The night before Hillary and Norgay made it to the top they had camped at 27,900 feet, and in the morning Hillary's boots were so frozen that it took him two hours to thaw them to the point where he could put them on.


--Jeff Merron


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