Sunday, July 22, 2018

Stay Connected to Olympians!

Every month that we're in school, my students watch a Christian show called Kids Connection. It's a ten-minute program that shows kids from all over the world doing things to "stay connected to Jesus" (that's the tagline of the show). By watching these other groups of kids, my students are getting connected to a global network of kids and understanding that people from all over the world do the same things they do!

The global reach of the Olympics is strong for about one month every two years, but it's staying connected that is the the true challenge. I've written about it before - I know. But over the past few months I've discovered even more ways that sports federations, athletes, and even the IOC are maintaining a connection with Olympic fans during the quadrennial cycle.

By the way, I love that name: quadrennial.

Social media is the #1 way that we are able to stay connected. Not only can you follow your favorite athlete, but you also can follow your favorite sport, favorite event, or even favorite venue. By following the Diamond League on Twitter, I am able to see which athletes are competing in a given event on a weekend. The International Skating Union's figure skating Instagram shows some gorgeous pictures of its skaters and stays up-to-date on events and happenings all over the world. 

My favorite way to stay connected, though, is YouTube. Watching competitions (like full badminton replays) or creating fun Olympic playlists has become a favorite thing for me to do while I prep my classroom for the upcoming school year. 

Sometimes it's just event highlights or fun little compilations. But if you sift through all of that stuff, you find some quality gems. The World Archery YouTube page just put out a cute video about South Korean Olympic gold medalist Kim Woo-jin and the "magic" of the glasses he wears while competing. They also did an informative video of the challenges of shooting arrows in changing winds. 

The IOC's media page actually does quite a nice job, as well. This week the IOC met in Lausanne, Switzerland, and held several press conferences, which were all posted on their YouTube page. One of the conferences was the one that announced the new events for the Winter Olympics of Beijing 2022, and included the questions from the media (like, "why is there still no women's 4-person bobsled?"). 

It is rare to find athletes that dedicate the time and effort to having their own YouTube channel, but American gold medalist Cody Miller has crafted a solid routine of training and video making that results in some stellar vlogs! I only discovered him a few weeks ago but really enjoy all the stuff he's put out. If you are looking to perfect your swimming training, Miller's videos are a must-watch. 

If you have any form of social media, it doesn't take much to search and discover new ways to follow your favorite athlete, event, or sport. You probably already do it for a professional sports team; why not for the Olympics, too?

Tokyo 2020 Prep

I'm going to save this for Tuesday. Stay tuned!

Olympic Channel Video of the Week

I didn't mention the Olympic Channel in my main Blurb because they mainly discuss historical topics and technical videos, but it's definitely a channel I watch on a regular basis! 

This week's video is about the evolution of Japanese swimming - especially in the 1930s as Japan became more involved in worldwide sports like the Olympics. With Tokyo 2020 coming up, it might be important to remember some of the names mentioned, because they're bound to come up in the next couple of years for one reason or another:


Mini Blurbs
  • This week's BlurbWatch:
    • track and field
    • badminton
    • rowing
    • archery
  • I made a little mistake last week when I mentioned that the US National Championships were going on in rowing. Actually, it was the US Club National Championships. The "Masters" National Championships are taking place in August. 
  • Regardless, it was interesting to see the levels of ability amongst those club teams. Usually there was one dominant team in the field, followed by three or four average teams. 
  • I did mention above that there were seven new events announced for the next Winter Olympics. This is the earliest they ever announced new events, and the most exciting part of it was that there are four new mixed gender events taking place: snowboard cross, ski jumping, freestyle ski aerials, and short track relay. (I do love my mixed gender events.) I'm especially excited about the short track relay - that's chaos in and of itself, but men and women will be on the track at the same time!
  • The biggest uproar that this news caused was that instead of moving towards women's 4-person bobsled, they added the "monobob" - which is exactly what the name entails: a one-woman bobsled event. The IOC basically is saying that it's the national teams' faults for not making it feasible to do a 4-person event for women because of lack of resources. If they want 4-person women's bobsled, they have to make it easier to access. 
  • The IOC also put the pressure on the women's Nordic combined athletes, after they again snubbed them for Olympic competition by saying the level of competition isn't up to Olympic standards yet. I find that more of a catch-22 issue. If the IOC made women's Nordic combined a priority, then the level of competition would be bound to increase. What do you think?
  • Moving away from that, the ESPYs were on Wednesday. I used to love the ESPYs, but then I realized it's more of a popularity competition than an actual recognition of prime talent. They had several Olympic-specific awards, and the men's and women's athletes of the year were both snowboarders: Shaun White and Chloe Kim. I'm not saying they didn't deserve to win, but when it's put to a popularity vote, then the people with the most fans and social media followers will probably win. 
  • The IAAF released a fascinating study this week on the biomechanics of athletics - the largest it's ever done. During last year's World Championships in London they had set up cameras all over the place and dissected each event and athlete. As a result, they found some interesting findings! You can check it out here if you're interested. If you like charts and statistics, you'll be in your own version of Disneyland!
  • Some really sad news: Sochi 2014 Bronze medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan was stabbed to death in his home country after trying to stop robbers from taking the mirrors off his Lexus. It was an absolute shock, and it was sad to read all the posts from fellow figure skaters who knew Ten, trained with him, and competed against him. There were some "thoughts and prayers" posts, but several were especially heart-wrenching, like Alex Shibutani's thread.
  • The Monaco Diamond League took place on Friday, and as I watched the men's high jump competition, I was drawn to the stands, where there were more kids in the front rows than adults! That was really cool. 
  • Is there a more unifying brotherhood or sisterhood than the pole vault competitors? I hesitate to even call them "competitors" because they're always helping each other out! They're clapping for each other, giving advice, or lending poles if they get lost at the airport.  
  • Shaunae Miller-Uibo has been an amazing person to watch in the past two years. She literally fell at the finish line of the 2016 Olympics 400 meters to win gold and then faded terribly in the 2017 World Championships 400 meters to finish fourth. But this year she has been dominant in the 400 meters, clearly learning from her mistakes! She won in Monaco on Friday. 
  • The shot put competition actually took place outside the stadium, in a small patch of grass on the harbor of Monaco. Because the shot put is a relatively compact competition, it can be publicly displayed and allow fans to watch in a more intimate setting. I wish I'd been there!
  • There was an unreal world record set by Beatrice Chepkoech, shattering the 3000m steeplechase record. In an oddly-timed mention, the announcers in the Diamond League stream mentioned that the former world record holder, Ruth Jebet of Bahrain, was now under investigation for alleged doping. 
  • Russia is still banned by the IAAF from competing because of their history of doping, but in Monaco three "Authorized Neutral Athletes" (AKA Russians who haven't been caught doing in the past) won events. Danil Lysenko won men's high jump, Anzhelika Orova won the women's pole vault, and Sergey Shubenkov won the men's 110m hurdles. 
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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