Have you been watching the Olympics? I have. I am not a big sports fan, as anyone who really knows me can attest to; but I have always been a fan of the Olympics, for some reason. I am lucky enough to remember seeing Olga Korbut do her thing, and as a young kid I thought that maybe people could be superhuman in ways – though I can’t imagine now who in my home was watching the Olympics when I was 5. I also remember watching the U.S hockey team’s “miracle on ice” win over the Soviets (though that didn’t win the gold, as many people now falsely believe), and I haven’t watched a hockey game since the US won that gold. Why was I watching hockey or floor gymnastics? I don’t know, and I can’t tell you. But watching the Olympics I have seen Nadia Comaneci, Jackie Joyner Kersey, Mary Lou Retton, Carl Lewis, Florence Griffith-Joyner, the original Dream Team, Michael Johnson, Kerri Strug, and a bunch of other athletes who did the unthinkable.
So I don’t really follow pro sports, but I love what athletes can do and I respect the incredible dedication it takes to be a world class anything. If you have been watching the Olympics, then you already know that this year’s Olympics have been nothing short of unbelievable (Michael Phelps’ 8 gold medals, Jason Lezak’s finish against France, Usain Bolt’s running, China’s dominance in gold, the rise of “rented” athletes). If you haven’t watched any of the games, I recommend that you tune in for a peek. There is still time to witness something worth remembering.
By the way, The New York Times recently published an interesting and interactive graph that illustrates all of the medal winners in the modern Olympics by country. Since its inception in 1896, the modern Olympics has served, in many ways, as a barometer of world politics. Social studies and history teachers could use this timeline/graph to talk about international events and how they were reflected in Olympic dominance, participation and location. I thought it was really cool … I think math and computer teachers would agree.
School’s so soon. I can’t wait to see you all.
© 2008 henry toromoreno