Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Games

So, I was watching the Olympics this morning while eating my breakfast and putting off what is supposed to be an 8 mile run (which I'm really, really going to try to force myself to do in an hour or two, after my food has digested, even though I was supposed to do it before breakfast. Eh.). It's been interesting watching the Olympics in another country. A few observations and thoughts:

1. In Denmark, they call the Olympic Games the Olympic Lege (in Danish. Olympic is quite possibly spelled with a 'k' - Olympik - but I'm not sure...). In all the newspaper coverage the games are referred to as 'OL'.* This confuses me from time to time because in U.S. journalism the continuation of a news story on to another page is usually indicated by a one word capitalized and bolded tag indicating what the story is about. For example, the continuation of a story about the wild horses that run from Assateague to Chincoteague every year might be indicated by HORSES at the beginning of the new column on the new page.

The word for beer in Danish is 'øl'. For personal reasons, I tend to ignore the differences between the vowels o and ø as much as possible.** Because of this, I've gotten tricked more than once when a story about the Olympics is preceded by OL. I think ØL for a second or two and wonder why there are so many stories in the paper about beer these days! Danes. Lushes! :)

* It's pretty much exclusively referred to as OL, which is why I'm not sure how the words are spelled.

** Long story that I can't go into in my blog without sharing my last name but, in short, it's cultural bitterness and misdirected anger towards American immigration and the American alphabet. hahaha.

2. It's really weird watching the Olympics in another country, especially Denmark. This is because
the United States (the only other country I've previously watched the Olympics from - both on TV and LIVE! (Atlanta '96)) has teams in EVERY. SINGLE. SPORT. Denmark does not. I don't think this little country of merely 5 million has a big enough population to statistically warrant having Olympic quality athletes in every sport.
b) When you watch the Olympics from the U.S. you are given the largely skewed impression that other countries aren't really competing. Sure, you hear about the U.S. Gymnastic Team neck and neck with the Russians or Chinese. You also hear about the U.S. Swim Team competing against Australia often... but other than that, it's a lot of "USA! USA! ALL THE WAY!!" Here in Denmark, we have much more balanced coverage, because they show a bit of every sport, even the ones they don't have a team competing in... I'm watching swimming right now and I've heard heaps about Michael '12,000 Calorie Pterodactyl Arms' Phelps. I was watching Women's Gymnastics the other day and I saw equal coverage of the U.S. teams, China, Russia, etc. etc. etc. It was amazing. I remembered that this is really a world competition and not just a 'United States Proves it's Athletic Hegemony' "competition."
c) But, when Denmark does have a team competing that does well, it's really funny. I was watching rowing and the Danish team did well. One of the two announcer people was so happy he burst out into one of those happy laughing/crying moments and the other announcer had to carry the rest of the commentary. The Danes are really proud people.

3. I've been really impressed with my Danish recently. Because the Olympics is sports coverage, they don't dub or subtitle anything. Sure, it's pretty easy for me to watch a sport like swimming and know exactly what they are talking about (I swam competitively and coached youth teams for years), but I'm impressed with my ability to listen to Danish coverage for long periods of time and understand it. Hooray, my Danish has come so far!

4. Going back to Michael Phelps. 12,000 calories a day?! HOW!? Seriously. How can someone put away that much food?

5. Sweden just got DQ'ed in the Women's 400 Medley Relay. Hahaha. Amateurs. (U.S. took silver. Damn you, Australia!)

6. What is up with Danish cyclists and doping?! here.

That's all for now. I'm going to park myself on the couch again for some more coverage. :)


jeff said...

i am going to start referring to him as pterodactyl arms from now on. thanks!

by the way, do you say "terra" or "puh-terra"? "pu-terra" is more fun and all the cool kids say it that way.

Sarah said...

Hahaha. I say puh-terra in any non-academic forum... which is pretty much all the time because I do NOT work in a field where talking about pterodactyls is a frequent thing! ;)

As a fellow runner, you will also be pleased to learn that not only did I run my 8 miles but I ran 10.5 (!!) and biked 30 yesterday. Pleasantly sore today. Yay! :)

Sarah said...

Oh, and plus, I have to say it the cool kids way.

That sounds like an afterthought, but it's not really. I'm just so cool all the time that I forget it. It's like the default condition for me. ;)

Joseph said...

OL = Olympiske Lege