One of the reasons that I really love paying attention to the Olympics is that so many countries are interacting with one another, and this ultimately has repercussions outside of the games. Oh, and some of the athletes are pretty attractive *ahem*, but I guess that’s a post for another day. Here are some interesting tidbits of the 2012 London games.
- A couple days ago, Khatuna Lorig of the United States shot against Sherab Zam of Bhutan in the first elimination round of women’s individual archery. Lorig ended up victorious with a score of 6-0, but Zam wasn’t really expected to win. She was a wild card entry, meaning that she didn’t qualify through any special competition to be a part of the Olympics and was instead simply given a spot to participate. While archery is the national sport of Bhutan, they have never won an Olympic medal and putting Zam into the competition even though she did not qualify helps to keep Bhutanese interest in the games and inspire citizens of Bhutan to work harder to hit Olympic standards.
- Even though Sydney Leroux plays for the United States soccer team, she was born and raised in Canada. Because her father was an American, she was able to choose between competing with Canada or the United States in the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Qualifying Tournament. Though she had played for the Vancouver Whitecaps before, she ultimately chose to play for the United States as she believed that they were a stronger team internationally. Many Canadians called her a traitor, but she has so far been successful with her American teammates. Canada and the United States are going to have their rematch in the Olympic women’s football semifinals on Monday.
- Iran has had a policy of not having its athletes compete with those of Israel because of conflicts between the two nations. The 2012 Summer Olympics saw an opportunity for that to happen in the judo tournament, but Iran’s competitor failed to show up due to a reported digestive system infection. Some suspect that this was just an excuse to continue keeping Irani and Israeli athletes apart and an athletic showdown between the countries won’t likely happen in the near future.
There are many more examples that are incredibly fascinating, including the use of Team GB to represent the United Kingdom even though Northern Ireland is not part of Great Britain and the Australia/New Zealand rivalry that has caused some Australians to bemoan the fact that New Zealand is currently leading in gold medals.
I love how mega-events like the Olympics and World Expo bring countries together.