Time really does fly by. It’s the Winter Olympics soon. I remember the “Flying Tomato” missing standing on the podium in the snowboarding half-pipe event at the Sochi games. Shaun White gets his chance again in PyeongChang. I’m excited to see how it materializes. I hope he gets a chance to redeem himself. I hope great things happen at these games.
The physical best of the best are found in the Olympics. As much as I love watching summer sports, the winter sports edge them out. It might be that there is a harshness to them because of the snow, ice, and cold temperatures. It seems forever ago that the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding ice skating incidents happened before and during Lillehammer. The media sensationalized their feud, and the world watched with anticipation. Nancy Kerrigan went on to win silver. Tonya did not medal and came in 8th place. The latter was forever banned from the U.S. Figure Skating Association, and stripped of her U.S. Championship win in 1994. If anyone was a tortured physical athlete, it was her. There’s a movie coming out called I, Tonya, if you weren’t born yet and missed it all.
How things have changed too from the ancient Olympics. It’s no longer only for able bodied, free men of Greek origin. It includes participation from more countries than not, and women and men have, in a general sense, equal access to the winter and summer sport competitions. It includes more than running, wrestling, boxing, pankration (primitive form of martial arts combining wrestling and boxing), equestrian (chariot and horse races), pentathlon (running, long jump, discus, javelin, wrestling), and boys’ events (running, wrestling, and boxing).
Olympia was discovered again in 1766 by Richard Chandler and after archaeological work by the Germans, its finding would inspire Pierre de Coubertin, creator of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The first modern Olympics took place in Athens during the summer of 1896. They started with summer only games, and in 1924 included winter games. It was in 1994 that the Olympics were scheduled every two years.
We are soon approaching the XXIII Olympiad, beginning February 9th on Friday and closing February 25th on Sunday. The mascots are Soohorang and Bandabi, motif from the white tiger and Asiatic black bear. The emblem is taken from Hangul, the Korean alphabet, with significance of “where the earth meets the sky.” There are 259 medals, made by designer, Lee Suk-woo. The torch is 700mm in length. Eight new medal events at PyeongChang will take the total of golds up for grabs to 102, more than any previous Olympic Winter Games.
The following 15 disciplines from seven sports will be included in the 2018 Olympics. Let the games begin. I can’t wait.