It’s the Olympics! It is my (quad-annual) time to be interested in all sorts of sports, some of which I wouldn’t have known even existed if not for the Olympics. Who knew that “Canoe Sprint” was not just an official sport but also an Olympic event? However, if video gameplaying ever becomes an Olympic event, I might need to change my view on the Olympics.
I’m sure you know that Japan is hosting the Summer Games in Tokyo. I can only imagine how the time zone differences wreak havoc for TV producers when having to choose what to air during “prime time” viewing. Personally, I am enjoying the time zone difference. Since I am not particularly fond of the fanfare of the opening ceremonies, I could switch the channel to watch live action footage. Instead of having to watch people sing (to a mostly empty venue), I was able to watch Indonesia upset the American team in archery as well as the beginning of the men’s cycling road race (200+km -- Are you kidding me?). I’m also fortunate to receive Canadian broadcasting on my local channels (even in the days before cable!). I have the luxury of getting away from NBC’s coverage (too much story line, not enough sport) and watch the events through the eyes of Canadian broadcasters.
There is one part of the opening ceremonies I do enjoy: the arrival of the Olympic flame. I don’t know why I connect with it. Maybe it’s because I remember when the torch went through our town in 1984 on its way to Los Angeles. Or maybe because it ties the games back to their origin in ancient Greece and Athens. Wait – the flame did start with the original Olympics in Greece, right?
Technically the answer to that question is: yes. The flame for the Games begins its journey in Athens, and this part of the tradition dates back to the original games. The Greeks wanted to honor Apollo, the Sun God. The flame is then transported to the country hosting the Olympiad, where it will eventually make it to the Olympic stadium and will burn during the games. The modern tradition of the Olympic torch relay originated during the dark setting of Nazi Germany 1936 games. Fortunately, England put a bright light on the relay (yes, pun intended) when hosting the first post-WWII games, and used the flame to uplift its population in the post-war era.
But what happens if the flame goes out? I was a bit curious about this question myself so I looked it up. There is always a back-up flame that also travels from Athens and is kept in lanterns. (Again – Who knew?) I’ve included two articles I found interesting and relevant.
The first is the history of the Olympic flame: https://www.cnn.com/style/
This second article contains 10 things you may not know about the first “Modern” Olympic games in 1896: https://www.history.com/news/
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