Ten mind-blowing ‘facts’ about Norse gods

We all know that Thor had a hammer, but did you know he was a redhead? Or that old one-eyed Odin was an alcoholic? Or that Loki was the mother (yes, mother) of an eight-legged horse? And that's just the beginning…

Ten mind-blowing 'facts' about Norse gods

Norse Gods are very much in the spotlight these days, thanks in no small part to Hollywood.

Thor, in all his blond glory, has graced the silver screen in the past few years alongside Loki the trickster, his father Odin, and a slew of fictional characters who have no connection to Norse mythology whatsoever including the Hulk and, perhaps more puzzlingly, Captain America.

And let’s not forget our own little April Fools’ prank about Thor’s hammer, which caught the attention of the BBC was named as one of the best April Fool’s stories of 2013 by news website Newser.

But really, the Norse gods have been with us every day. Well, almost. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are all named after Norse gods (Tyr, Thor, and Frigg).

IN PICTURES: Ten ‘facts’ about Norse gods that’ll blow your mind

But what do we really know about these guys (and girls)? The truth is, not much. Even what we think we know is highly disputed among historians and rune-readers.

In other words, it’s impossible for us to give you ten facts about Norse gods. Instead, we’ve gathered our ten favourite widely-agreed-upon trivia tidbits…also known as ‘facts’.

In short… it’s hammer time.

Trailer for 2011’s Thor

Oliver Gee

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Sweden’s ten greatest winter Olympic heroes

With the Winter Olympics in Sochi just days away, The Local offers up our picks for the greatest Swedish winter Olympians of all time. How many have you heard of?

Sweden's ten greatest winter Olympic heroes
Who do you think ranks among the best Swedish winter Olympians ever? File photo: TT

On Friday, athletes from 88 countries around the world will gather in Sochi, Russia for the XXII Olympic Winter Games to show off their skill and endurance on the slopes or on the ice.

Sweden is sending 106 athletes to Sochi, all of whom are hoping to come back home with a gold of their own.

RELATED GALLERY: Ten greatest Swedish winter Olympic heroes

It's no surprise that Sweden, with its relatively wintry climate, generally performs well at the Winter Olympics, having picked up 129 medals, including 48 gold ones, since the first Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix in 1924.

When it comes to medal success, cross-country skiing is the sport where Sweden has had the most success, picking up 63 medals overall, including 27 golds (sounds impressive until you realize Norway has 96 cross-country skiing medals).

It's no surprise, therefore, that there are a couple of cross-country skiers included in our list of Sweden's ten greatest winter Olympians. But a couple of sports where Swedes have excelled might surprise you.

So, take a moment to impress your Swedish friends and in-laws when you tune in to the games in Sochi and have a look at our who's who when it comes to Swedish Olympic greatness.

DON'T MISS: Sweden's 'coolest' concert: an igloo full of instruments made of ice