Friday, July 13, 2012

Russell's Ken-Bun-Ki "All About The Olympics"

Note: "Russell's Ken-Bun-Ki" is a series of articles I wrote for my Japanese City Hall newsletter back in 1996. They were articles about life in America or life in Japan as experienced by an American. This one is from July 25, 1996.

All About The Olympics
Currently the city of Atlanta, Georgia in the USA is hosting the world's greatest international sports event: The Olympics. This year's event is the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic movement. French nobleman Baron Pierre de Coubertin organized the International Olympic Committee in 1894. The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. It was based on the ancient Greek Olympics, which was an actual city name where the games were held.

I have two personal connections to the Olympics. The third modern Olympics, in 1904, was held in my hometown of St. Louis. The track and field stadium and some of the administrative buildings built for the Olympics are still standing near my parents' home. The other connection concerns my birthday, October 1, 1964. The Tokyo Olympics started on October 10, 1964. My mother has joked that she watched some of the TV broadcasts while nursing me. Of course, I don't remember any of that, haha!

This year's (Atlanta) Olympics are the 26nd of the modern age. However, during World War II the 1940 Tokyo Olympics and the 1944 London Olympics had been planned but were cancelled. The Olympic rings are the symbols of the Olympics, but did you know that the five rings represent the five main continents in the world: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The 2000 Olympics are scheduled for Australia, which is considered part of Asia. As of 1996  USA has hosted four times; Germany has hosted three times. Africa and South America have never hosted the event.
This was written 18 years ago. In that time we have seen the following Olympics:
2000: Sydney, 2004: Athens, 2008: Beijing, and this year, 2012: London. These are all, of course, the Summer Olympics. Winter Olympics have a slightly different history. Still no South America or Africa, although the 2016 games have been given to Rio de Janerio in Brazil and Johannesburg in South Africa is poised to receive the Games soon. 

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