Today, if you weren't aware, was the World Cup Final between France and Croatia. France won, 4-2. Millions of people watched the tournament over the past month.
But really? "NOTHING IN THE WORLD is like this?"
I might write an Olympic blog, but even if I didn't, I feel like the Olympic Games are more of a uniting experience than the World Cup. The World Cup is one sport: soccer/football - whatever you call it. One country wins the title. And that's it! This past week there were four games: two semifinal matches, one third place match, and one final. The other three days, nothing happened.
Take a look at the Olympics. Two weeks crammed full of all kinds of sports - including football. You don't like football? Fine. Over here they're doing shooting! Over here is swimming! Over here is table tennis!
Is your team not very good at football? Not a problem - they're probably good at something else. Kenya and Ethiopia are premier long distance runners. Australia has fantastic swimmers. China is number one when it comes to divers. Brazil dominates in volleyball - beach and indoor.
I won't try to compare FIFA to the IOC - both have had issues in the past with bribery, corruption, and doping. It wouldn't be fair to say that one is "better" than the other.
I will concede that football is the most popular sport in the world. But uniting a world, in my opinion, is done the best by the Olympic Games. Any recreational sport enjoyed around the world is enjoyed in the Olympics. And while people will tune into the World Cup to watch the teams playing, people tune into the Olympics because they're invested in their athletes and their success!
What could be more unifying than that?
Tokyo 2020 Prep
I listened to this week's edition of the podcast Olympic Fever, and they talked about how many hotel rooms are needed for people working at the Olympics - and I'm not talking about the athletes! I believe they said that the IOC needs to book over 40,000 rooms for the IOC Family (including media, marketing partners, and national Olympic committees). I know Tokyo has lots of hotel rooms, but how far away will I have to stay if the 40,000 rooms closest to the venues are going to be taken by workers at the Olympics? I did experience some panic about that.
Do capsule hotels allow 2-week stays? I'd be okay with that.
Olympic Channel Video of the Week
This might be due to my recent article about the Modern Pentathlon, but I loved the channel's discussion of the Tunisian modern pentathlon team from Rome in 1960. Yes indeed, if an average Olympic viewer ever thought, "I could do this!" here is evidence that no, you actually can't:
- I delved deeply into YouTube's subscriptions and found a healthy share of Olympic events that offer free coverage of their events! It's obvious they're craving views and interest rather than monetary gain. If you have a specific Olympic event that you adore deeply, check out their social media and see if you can follow them during the entire Olympic quadrennial!
- I told you my BlurbWatch would be better this week:
- Track and Field
- The Track and Field Diamond League took place in Rabat, Morocco, on Friday. I love that I'm recognizing more and more non-American athletes thanks to these events. For example, I always know to pick Colombia's Caterine Ibarguen to win the women's triple jump, and she always wears long socks - usually neon! Another athlete I recognize is Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim - an amazing high jumper. The more people I recognize, the more fun it is to see them all compete! They're not just another random person.
- Besides the Diamond League, the first ever Athletics World Cup was held this weekend. Only eight countries entered the competition, with each country only allowed to enter one of their athletes per event. Each place gets points for their country, and whichever country gets the most points after the weekend is done wins a fancy trophy - and a TWO MILLION DOLLAR prize pot! (Some countries, like China, didn't fill in each event, but still can compete and get points.) It looks more like a collegiate competition than a meet like the Diamond League - especially because each athlete wears their country's colors rather than their sponsor uniform. It's been a blast to watch - especially because the NBC Sports Gold coverage is NOT out of NBC, but rather the British coverage. It's way, way better.
- Since there's only eight countries - Great Britain and Northern Ireland, France, Germany, Poland, South Africa, China, Jamaica, and the United States - there are some interesting winners. Croatia's Sandra Perkovic is the world leader in discus, but since Croatia isn't one of the countries represented, someone else is going to win!
- They chose wisely with the eight countries, because each country managed to win at least one event! (Poland has quite the impressive track and field team!) The United States managed to walk away with the whole thing with some very strong performances by a few familiar faces (pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, shot putter Darrell Hill) and lots of new ones (shot putter Maggie Ewen, triple jumper Keturah Orji, high jumper Jeron Robinson)!
- The US Rowing National Championships were held this weekend, and they were live streamed on YouTube. It wasn't high quality coverage, but it did have commentators. One of the rowing teams rowed out of their lane! I'm guessing it was more because of wind than bad arm rowing.
- Another World Cup this week was the Archery World Cup, which was in Salt Lake City. That was windy! I saw a Mexican archer trying to shoot in the compound men's team gold event, and his poor bow was swaying with the breeze! But archers learn to adapt to their surroundings - it's just a hazard of the sport.
- I'm still very impressed by the American archers that I see compete. They won several events in that Salt Lake City World Cup event. Archery is climbing on my list of "must see" events, especially because I'm starting to recognize more athletes from these events!
- The gymnastics American Classic was also held in Salt Lake City last weekend! I didn't recognize any gymnasts (the YouTube feed was basically what people saw on the JumboTron), but I'll be seeing more familiar faces with the national championships in August.
- A bit of personal success to share: I've started running again, now that my classes are over! I'm still as slow as molasses, but I'm making the effort to get back to where I was two years ago, when I ran a half marathon. It's going to take a bit of work, and I'll need to make a more dedicated effort to run during the school year!
Weekly Cauldron Check
Is the cauldron lit????
I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The Cauldron! Follow 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!