Showing posts with label Olympics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olympics. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

When the Olympics Come to Your Country, What Will the Athletes Wear?

The German Olympic Team exhibiting pride

The Olympics this year are in Russia, a country still trying to catch up from a disastrous century. Because of this legacy, Russia culture is not exactly leading the world in thought leadership. They are still catching up. For example, Russia is not so safe for a black or gay person to visit. Russians are famously bigoted.

The world wants to let Russia know they disapprove, and they have generally done so in a firm, obvious, yet loving way.

It made me wonder, what message will the world send to the next country that gets the Olympics? Is this the start of a new political tradition, where Olympic committees and corporate sponsors combine to poke fun at old ways of thinking? What will the athletes need to wear to send your people a message when they come to your country? What will Google and other corporations need to incorporate into their messaging? 

The Google Doodle exhibits Rainbow Pride

There are so many messages the world could send my country, America, they might have a hard time sticking to one! 

Would the athletes all dress up as dollar bills and ask America to stop endlessly adding to its debt since this is hurting emerging economies, not to mention, our own? 

Would the athletes all dress up like Lily Tomlin at the phone company to demand America stop spying on the world? After all, there's a STASI museum in Berlin decrying surveillance behaviors as evil. America once engaged in a Cold War against these behaviors; now the President of the United States defends them. Has America's NSA become just as ridiculous as Lily Tomlin's phone company operator? It kind of makes you wonder who actually *did* win the Cold War. Maybe the Russians are thought leaders, after all?

What if the world decided to poke fun at us for being so selfish that we as a nation are currently okay with 50 million people living without health insurance? That's the equivalent of five Czech Republics worth of people! Or ten Denmarks! Maybe it would take being teased by the world for America to finally step up and enact the public option so that all people have equal access to health care?

Or what if all the countries we keep invading organized the world into asking America to stop the imperialism? I don't know how that would translate into Olympic fashion. I'm sure some creative mind could make it happen. 

It seems to me, the list of what the world could 'poke fun' at America for is long. The question is, which issue would they pick?

The Olympics may turn into a tradition of sport supplemented with a world contest of public comedy on the side. It will be interesting to watch this develop. What would the athletes and corporations tease your country about? 

You may be interested in these other Olympic-related posts: 

Bravo David Černý! You Have Europe Giggling Again. This time with your Red London Double Decker Bus doing pushups!

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bravo David Černý! You Have Europe Giggling Again. This time with your Red London Double Decker Bus doing pushups!

Longtime readers of the Empty Nest Expat blog know I am a huge fan of Czech artist David Černý and his very Czech brand of irreverance and black humor. His sculpture created to see if Europe could laugh at itself, "Entropa," certainly provided entertainment for me and my Czech friends when he created it in 2009.

"Entropa" was the official art chosen by the Czech Republic to represent itself when the Czech Republic held the Presidency of the European Union. It seemed only Czechs got the humor. I loved it.  I was so grateful to have seen it myself in the flesh when I went back to Prague a second time. By then it had been moved from Brussells to DOX Contemporary Art Museum in Prague.You can read more of my posts about him here.

This time I don't see how he can fail to make the whole world smile. Look at what he has created for the London Olympics: a bright red London double decker bus doing push-ups!
How can we not smile?
Iconic bus doing iconic exercises!
No, it really does do the exercises!
Černý built in hydraulics to make it happen.

I love seeing tiny Czech Republic,
with a mere 10 million citizens
represent itself so above 'its weight class'
at the Olympic games
with their irreverant humor.
I believe Černý's bus will delight worldwide!

What do you think of David Černý's bus
named "London Boosted?"
Does it make you smile?

Is there an artist you have discovered in your travels
you think the whole world should know about?
Who is it?

Click on this wonderful Daily Mail article to see more photos of David Černý
assembling his bus and to see the video of it in action!

You might also enjoy these posts:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Medals Per Capita

A staple of American Olympic reporting every four years is the medal count. Right now, Americans lead in total medals and China leads in gold. But a perfect example of how everyone's media tells them what they want to hear is this blog post by Rick Steves describing his deflation when a Dutch friend asked him to consider her country's Olympic accomplishments. We should include this reporting method in America because it's equally as impressive (if not more so) than number of medals won. Link to the post via the title.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hey Google, you should invent this

Much has been made during this Olympics how Michael Phelps body is uniquely suited for success in swimming. His legs are the length of a 6’0” man which makes them more powerful for kicking and pushing off the wall. His torso is outsize for his actual height which helps his upper body pull him through the water. His size 14 feet function like flippers. His wing span makes his strokes extra powerful.

There are all kinds of career tests where kids answer a bunch of questions, and out pops guidance of what they would be good at as a career. It’s amazing how accurate they are and how well they match ability and interests. It’s also thought-provoking to see all the different suggestions of possible careers one might not have considered otherwise.

Google, or some company in that field, should create an application where parents and children could enter their children’s age, height and limb measurements, possibly their Presidential Fitness test numbers (or the international equivalent of various sport measurements like running speed and throwing ability) and out pops suggested sports given a child’s body type.

Then the whole application could be tied to Google Earth and the next thing that comes up is the sports clubs in a fifty mile radius that a child could avail themselves of if interested in a particular sport.

This could help people who’s level of sport selection sophistication is at the level of “gee, we’re tall, we should play basketball or volleyball.” There’s more to matching oneself or one’s children to the sport than that. The perfect match between body type and sports program availability is why countries dominate one sport over another year after year.

In America, we have every possible size and shape. There are sports out there that are not offered in schools but exist with club teams. An easy way to consider every possibility out there could be to enter all one’s data in this application and see what’s suggested.

World champion gymnast and very petite person Shawn Johnson just happened to walk into her native Chinese coach’s new American gym club in West Des Moines, Iowa and the rest is history. A software application like this could make that matching process less driven by chance and more methodical.

Email me for my address so you know where to send the check(s).

Gold Medal Writing

I found this article so fun to read, I had to share it. Of course, it starts with a great story -- the Czech/American romance between two Olympians, but the delight this man displayed writing the story made it that much more fun.

Hat's off to Bill Fitzgerald of Yahoo Sports for showing a gold medal sense of humor and fun. Link to the story via the title.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Czechs Snatch Games First Gold

Congratulations Czechs on the first gold medal of the games. Link to the New York Times article via the title.

Wow, was that Olympic Opening Ceremonies ever a party. I totally agree with my President (which I note cause it so rarely happens) that when someone has spent billions on throwing a party that you're invited to, it's not the time to talk about your biggest areas of disagreement. It wouldn't be effective. But your friends might listen to you, when they know you're their friends because you were there to share their greatest achievement.

It was so refreshing to see those Presidents sitting in the stands like they're taking in a game at Wrigley Field. Five hours in stadium seats in 90 degree heat in a suit. Wow. So what's the etiquette for a President who has to go the bathroom during the Parade of Nations? Do you slip out during Andorra? Vanuatu?

Including little Lin Hao, the nine-year-old boy who had saved two of his classmates during the earthquake, in the opening ceremonies was absolutely brilliant. Yao Ming, the Chinese basketball player who shepherded him in, explained it so eloquently when he said this little boy's leadership spoke to the future of China if he knew how to behave heroically at age nine.

I guess we can't think of Communists as the world's largest creators of bad architecture anymore. It's exciting to see the role fantastic architecture and great engineering are playing in these games. The bird's nest and the water cube are sooooooo exciting and innovative. When you're achieving 11% GDP growth are you still Communists though? You've passed over to the other side. Last night was a presentation of excellence. I felt proud as a fellow human being!
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