Quiz: Do you remember these good things that happened in 2021?

December 29, 2021

By AJ Willingham and Curt Merrill

The Summer Olympics in Tokyo brought us all kinds of triumphs and firsts. The countries of Burkina Faso, Turkmenistan and San Marino all celebrated which milestone?

Burkina Faso, Turkmenistan and San Marino all earned their first Olympic medals in Tokyo, and San Marino became the smallest country ever to medal! Picture above is Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango, who nabbed bronze in the men’s triple jump — on Burkina Faso’s independence day, no less.

A new Mars rover landed on the red planet this year and has been making all sorts of fascinating discoveries, including evidence of an ancient lava flow. What is the name of the beloved contraption?

The Perseverance rover was launched to study the Jezro crater on Mars, and has collected several samples to be returned to Earth by future missions. It’s also collected plenty of earthbound fans along the way.

Which billionaire donated $2.74 billion in June to organizations that focus on the arts and combating racial discrimination?

“People struggling against inequities deserve center stage in stories about change they are creating,” MacKenzie Scott (seen here in 2018) said in a post about her blockbuster donation.

For the first time in 2,000 years, the public was able to enter the underground levels of this iconic historic site.

This year marked the first time in history the public was allowed to visit the Colosseum’s subterranean level, known as the “hypogea,” where gladiators and animals waited before going into combat in ancient Rome.

A new World Expo — delayed a year because of the pandemic — opened this year to showcase the world’s latest innovations along the themes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability. The international event, featuring spectacular pavilions from around the world, is being held in what city?

Expo 2020 Dubai opened in September with a superstar ceremony including performances from Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli, Chinese pianist Lang Lang and a trio of Emirati artists who sang the Expo’s theme song. The showcase will remain open through the end of March 2022. Check out some of the most spectacular pavilions here.

Billions of doses of life-saving Covid-19 vaccines have been administered around the world this year. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, both developed in the US, rely on mRNA technology to produce an immune response. What does the “m” in “mRNA” stand for?

The “m” stands for messenger, and messenger RNA tells our bodies to produce proteins that provide an immune response. Two US scientists who worked on the technology for decades were also honored this year with a prestigious American science prize.

A series of musical odes to this popular animated movie became so popular on TikTok late last year that they were turned into a virtual Broadway event in January to benefit performers who had lost work due to the pandemic. What is the movie?

“Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” started as a series of jokes by talented creators, but grew into a special charity performance starring big names like Tituss Burgess, Wayne Brady and Adam Lambert.

Astronauts on the International Space Station successfully grew a new food in space. NASA said the experiment was one of the longest and most challenging ones yet for the ISS crew, but it ended up with some flavorful benefits. What food was it?

The ISS crew managed to grow red and green chili peppers. In addition to providing helpful data on how things grow in space, the peppers served an even more delicious purpose: they spiced up the astronauts’ (sometimes) bland diets.

Which country released the results of a first-of-its kind national wildlife census after counting all of the animals in all 58 of its national parks?

The census was one of Kenya’s most ambitious conservation efforts yet, and the results are critical to understand how best to protect the country’s more than 1,000 native species. Some good news from the census? Populations of some iconic Kenyan animals, like elephants and rhinos, have seen a slight increase.

This beloved music icon had quite a year in the spotlight advocating for vaccine access and social justice issues, and even had to gently discourage plans for a statue honoring them to be erected in the capital of their home state.

While many artists put their voice behind important issues in 2021, it was unquestionably the Year of Dolly. Parton even announced she is releasing her first novel next year, co-written with author James Patterson.

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