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Olympic Spirit

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Olympic Spirit

Like many of you I have been watching various events in this years Olympic Games. Now many of the “Big” events are great to watch, but I also like to dive into the more obscure events that people ask “Is this a real Olympic event?” While both Winter and Summer games have their respective obscure events, lets look at a few.

Curling is becoming less obscure as more people talk about it, but I am not entirely sure I have seen it rise to the popularity level such as sports like figure skating or gymnastics. Luge and Skeleton may not get as much recognition as bobsledding, but people that blast down a hill by themselves or in pairs at speeds over 80 mph deserve a little respect. Especially when they are going head first!

The Biathlon is intriguing in the world of sports. Coming from the rocky mountains, I can see where it makes sense. If you were living in the back country, you might need to cross country ski to get around, add in hunting for your food, and you get the biathlon. Being timed seems logical to real life, you would want to get your hunt done quickly so you didn’t have to spend the night out in the freezing cold. Even the penalty laps for missing your shot targets would definitely discourage one from missing the critter you are shooting at.

Summer games seem to have even more obscure events, if that is possible. Handball, basically soccer but with your hands……. Dressage aka “horse dancing”, ok I like horses as much as the next person, but I am not convinced this sport tests athletes physical prowess to a level worthy of the Olympic games. Racewalking, need I say more?

Who can forget events from historical Olympic games that sadly we will neve get a chance to see televised, or better yet experienced in virtual reality;

  • Tug of War – I knew grade school PE would pay off
  • Jeu De Paume - think really old tennis with your hand instead of a racquet
  • Life Saving - with our history of Baywatch, how could any other country compete?
  • Distance Plunging – diving into a pool and staying underwater not using your limbs while on your stomach. Maybe this is why the life saving sport was invented
  • Single Synchronized Swimming – wait, what?
  • Kite Flying – I knew my middle school math teacher was just trying to prepare me for an Olympic career when she told me to “Go fly a kite”

Some events are admittedly stranger than others, but the one thing all the events have in common in this venue is the Olympic Spirit. Granted modern Olympics are much different than the original games back in 776 BC. We might not be dedicating the games to the Olympian gods but I feel the spirit of competition remains the same. Most every kid, at one time in their life, has thought “I want to be in the Olympics.” To me this means our coaches have instilled the attitude and drive to do better and strive for greatness. Throughout history even in times of great instability worldwide, the games have brought out greatness in global competition where politics take a back seat to raw physical competition amongst athletes from all corners of the globe. I think that is what makes the Olympics so special. For just over two weeks every two years, representatives from all over come together to compete and watch something quite amazing.

The opening ceremony at the Pyeongchang Games centered around the culture of South Korea. One thing that might go unnoticed by many is that the downhill course is lined with sacred trees. While they sadly had to cut down about 58,000 trees to make way for the new venue and the ski courses, they did shift the course to preserve 35 trees of note. They will also be replanting close to 1,300 of the trees that were removed and moving them to nearby locations. Olympic organizers stated that plants, trees and forests are being replanted, restored or replaced at double the amount that was impacted. Seeds, topsoil and plants were saved during construction to be used in restoration projects.

To preserve as much of the forest on Mount Gariwang as possible, the initially designed separate men’s/women’s downhill courses were partially combined to protect more of the sacred trees.

Plant a tree in honor of the Olympic spirit! www.treeinabox.com

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