Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic Fever

We are having a bit of a lazy Saturday morning and I'm waiting for the boys to wake up so we can head into the city for some sight-seeing and errand running. Yes, that's boys (plural) because one of Sam's good friends from college, Mitchell, has been in Seoul this week on his way around the world with two of his good friends from high school, John and Andy. They have been a lot of fun to have here and Sam has been loving all of video games and Texas Hold 'Em and whatever else boys do when girls aren't around stuff that has gone on this week.

Anyway, the Olympics are in as full a swing here in Korea as they are just about everywhere else in the world. It's just SO different to be watching them here than in the states, though! First, the sports that Korea excels in are completely different than the sports America does, except for swimming where Teawhan Park (and the rest of Korea) is not exactly loving Michael Phelps at the moment. Conversations about the Olympics and the TV broadcasting reflect this.

This week I had my kids do a free-write on the Olympics. First we talked about all of the different sports and other vocabulary and then I had them pretend that they were an Olympic athlete and write about what it was like to be in the Olympics and how they did there. The results were pretty funny, but they definitely showed some cultural differences. For example, do YOU know the name of the best US female archer? Because lots of girls in my classes wanted to be like Sunhyun Park or Ok-hee Yun, Korea's "bow and arrow queens". Other really popular sports were swimming, weightlifting, badminton, table tennis, handball, fencing, judo, tae kwon do and soccer.

As I said before the television coverage has really reflected what the country's athletes are best at. I have yet to see gymnastics, diving, beach volleyball, or some of the other more popular summer sports on TV. Although, the fact that we haven't been able to locate a TV schedule might have something to do with this. However, being exposed to different sports has been kind of neat. I have to say, those Korean lady handball players show a lot of heart and never give up! And did you know that the badminton shuttlecock can travel at speeds between 100-200mph during a match between experts?

We'll be traveling to Beijing in September and are excited to see all of the buildings that were constructed for the Olympics. For now, though, enjoy the games!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The answer is Lorig Khatuna- the US female olympic athlete made it to the quarter finals-then lost to Yun Ok-Hee from Korea. Yun evenutally won the bronze medal, while Park sung-Hyun (also of Korea) won the silver. A chinese archer won the gold.