Saturday, June 23, 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 something new in honor of Olympic Day. Luckily, it wasn't hard to find something, since I live close to a nice river that's perfect for kayaking!

Kayak has been an Olympic sport since 1936, and involves a shallow shell that sits just below the water's edge. In a vacation town like the one near me, there are lots of chances for people to enjoy recreational sports, and a couple of places that offer kayak rentals.

I managed to find a Groupon for a two-hour excursion not too far from my house, so I went out last Saturday - an especially hot day in the area. I wore light clothing and shoes, and it felt a little odd going for an excursion without hiking boots or athletic shoes! I made sure to lather up with sunscreen, since shade was going to be in short supply.

I needed to sign in and provide my information, and the kids (yes, kids - they were basically teenagers) set up my kayak on the floating platform and provided me with a life vest. I had been nervous about actually getting into the kayak, but this certainly made it a lot easier!

Once I had my bearings, they gave me a map, advised me on a good route that would take about two hours, and pushed me into the water! From there I was on my own.

I had a pack with me, and I made sure to put everything into plastic baggies; my phone got the double plastic baggie treatment! I wanted to take pictures, but I really didn't want to lose my phone. I also made sure to bring a bottle of water.

The key to kayaking is making sure your paddle properly gets in the water. At first I was only doing shallow strokes, and I wasn't going very far at all. Then I started to look at my paddle as it was going in the water and noticing how nice it felt when I dipped it in a bit deeper. I twisted at the waist in order to get my whole body in the workout.

I liked the route that they provided, because it made me paddle upsteam first. I was also competing with fellow kayakers (just a couple on this day), speedboats, and and pontoons on the river! It's a pretty wide river, so I never feared for my life, but there were a couple of times where I had to cross the river and really made sure to look both ways! Once I started paddling, I found it was easier to keep the momentum going.

There was one section of the river that branched off, and I paddled over there and fell in love. There were large summer homes on one side, and deep forest on the other. There were cottonwood trees all around shedding their fibrous seeds, and between the cotton, the sunlight, and the trees, it was like I was paddling in a dream. I couldn't even try to take a picture of it.

In this little branch there weren't any other vehicles on the river so it was incredibly relaxing. There weren't any vehicles...but there were geese and gosling families! I counted three families of geese swimming along with me.

I joined the main branch of the river again and crossed under a couple of bridges. At this point I started keeping an eye on the time; I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to get back to the shore before my two hours were up. Eventually I got to the golf course and decided to turn around.

Little did I realize that now I was swimming downstream, so if I was paddling with the same amount of effort as before, I'd be going down the river much faster! I made it back near the shore with about 30 minutes to spare, but then decided to turn around and enjoy that little branch of the river one more time. (It was worth it.)

The overall experience was amazing, and I'm looking forward to trying it again soon! I don't have a vehicle that would hold a large kayak, but I have friends that purchased inflatable kayaks that they say work quite well. I might have to try it out!

I can't imagine performing kayak as an Olympic sport. The amount of energy needed to get down the river and do it as fast as possible? That's got to take incredible strength!

If you were to try out an Olympic sport, what would you choose? How can you use Olympic Day to promote moving, learning, or discovering? Don't let Olympic Day pass you by!

Tokyo 2020 Prep

Nothing to report this week.

Olympic Channel Video of the Week

In honor of the World Cup taking place, I chose this video about the technology used to determine goals in soccer matches:


Mini Blurbs

  • This week's BlurbWatch:
    • Track and Field
    • Soccer
    • Baseball
  • This weekend is the US Track and Field Championships out of Iowa! I'm posting this one a little earlier so you should try to catch them a bit. Saturday's coverage is on NBCSN and Sunday coverage is on NBC.
  • I purchased the NBC Sports Gold Track and Field Pass, and I love the fact that it's commercial free. (It better be, for how much I paid.)
  • When they put the distance graphics on the screen, they put up the meters first, and the feet/inches in smaller font. I appreciate that they acknowledge that internationally the only measurement that matters is the metric measurement!
  • One of the best competitions from Thursday and Friday include a great matchup in the women's triple jump between Keturah Orji and Tori Franklin. Orji broke the 14-year-old American record, and then Franklin beat it, and then Orji beat it again to win the whole thing!
  • I glued myself to the field feed and loved it. I never enjoyed televised coverage of field events because they don't get the airtime they deserve. But on the app, I can watch every single competitor. It makes the flow of the competition much smoother, and I can follow the storylines! Because of this, I got to see all the men's hammer throw - what an eclectic bunch of dudes! I would never have seen that otherwise!

Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????

...No.


I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! You can start with my daily recap of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics HERE!

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