Tuesday, August 19, 2008

World History, Olympics Edition

I don't know about you, but this Olympics has been inspiring for me on so many different levels.  As a Chinese American, it's been interesting to see the Motherland.  I've never been to China, don't speak Chinese, my father was born in Sonoma, California.  I wouldn't consider myself hardcore Chinese, but seeing the Olympics and the cityscapes of Beijing have instilled much more interest in someday visiting that country.

I love the spirit of the Olympics.  For two weeks, countries come together no matter what's going on in their home country and compete at the highest athletic level.  And these athletes train, train, and train for what can be an event that lasts less than ten seconds (men's 100 meter dash).  Could you imagine training for YEARS for something that lasts 10 seconds?
The other part I love is hearing about the stories of some of the participants and what life is like in their home country.  In America, we have EVERY advantage in many areas, but especially athletically.  Other countries are literally training in the dirt.  Here are some facts I made note of during the opening ceremony:
-In Eritrea the average income is $130 per year.
-In Mauritania, a coup had overthrown the first elected president of that country just a few days before the opening ceremonies.
-Pakistan's president had to cancel his trip to Beijing because he was about to get impeached.
-The Palestinian swimmers do not have an Olympic sized pool in the whole country.  Bob Costas, the commentator said it was like trying to train for world-class basketball on an 8-foot hoop.
-China, though it's roughly as wide east to west as the U.S., has only one time zone.
-I'd never heard of the countries of Benin and Tuvalu.
-The U.S. flagbearer is one of the former "Lost Boys of Sudan."  Incredible story that you have to read.

No comments: