Showing posts from June, 2018

Celebrating Olympic Day

Happy Olympic Day, everyone! Seventy years ago Olympic Day was started to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games on June 23, 1894. Now you might say to yourself, "Self, why would we celebrate June 23, 1894? I thought the first modern Olympics were in 1896!" You would be right. But in June of 1894, Baron Pierre de Coubertin gathered a group together to discuss the possibility of renewing the Olympic dream, and on June 23 it was resolved to formally revive the Olympic Games two years later! Ever since 1948, the idea of Olympic Day was celebrated, but only recently (thanks largely to social media) has the movement been largely known. I honestly didn't know about it until a few years ago! Olympic Day not only promotes sport, but the three Olympic pillars: "move," "learn," and "discover." (We kind of talked about that last week as we expanded our culture a bit !) I took on a challenge by my buddies at Olympic Fever to try s

Culture Beyond Sports

I was able to attend a concert on Friday night with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, where they performed Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. It truly was an incredible experience. Sometimes we get too accustomed to our speakers and earbuds to appreciate how amazing music performed live can be. A few weeks ago when I restarted "Light the Cauldron" I mentioned that I might take some steps away from Olympic sports now and then, and this is one of those weeks. In order for us to appreciate the athletes that compete in Olympic events, we need to appreciate their cultures and histories. One of the ways that I've worked on that appreciation is listening to different kinds of music. Although I am a musician, I never really got into classical music until college when I went to the Minnesota Symphony for the first time. There I was able to listen to Ravel's "Bolero" and was completely blown away. The piece is repetitive if you don't feel the underlying tension

The Modern MODERN Pentathlon

The track and field world has an event that combines many of the Olympic events into one. The men have the decathlon (10 events) and the women have the pentathlon (7 events, but I'm predicting in my lifetime this will evolve into a decathlon as well). They often say that these two events decide the world's greatest athlete. There is actually another competition that combines events, but these events are not simply under a single sport. This event is called the modern pentathlon. It is called that because it is five events that showed the skills of a modern cavalry soldier. This is copied from the traditional pentathlon, which showed the skills of a Greek soldier in ancient times. The five events are fencing (épée), swimming (200m), equestrian show jumping (15 jumps) and a combination (biathlon, if you will?) of pistol shooting and cross-country running (3200m). The Main Man himself, Baron de Coubertin, introduced the event in 1912 and it's been in the Olympics ever

Is This Thing On? Podcasting the Olympics

This week was special in a couple of ways for me, because 1) I ended my ninth year of teaching, and 2) I got to be a guest on an Olympic podcast! You've heard of the podcast if you're a longtime follower of my blog. It's called Olympic Fever , and it started back in September and has a weekly format where the hosts, Alison Brown and Jill Jaracz, discuss Olympic topics. The best part of their podcast is their interviews with many people associated with the Olympics - from the journalism angle to actual athletes - including current gold medalists like Kikkan Randall! I was on the show as a new contributor, introducing a new segment called the Olympic Fever Book Club. I introduced the first book in the series, which so happens to be the first book I discussed here a few weeks ago: The Boys in the Boat ! Over the summer listeners (and readers of this blog) are invited to read the book and discuss it on Olympic Fever's social media, which includes Twitter and Faceboo