We have been watching a lot of Olympics around here and have seen so many different kinds of sports (my first time watching kyacking and judo). The girls have been very interested and some of their responses and observations are so funny!
-- Both girls cheer for China. They are so excited to see Chinese athletes. As Rachel pointed out, "I was born in China. You weren't." I love that they have such a positive identification with their birth country. Go China!
-- Katherine was fascinated by synchronized diving. She kept saying "They did it just the same!" Which is kind of the point. I did have to explain that the dives have to match, not the divers. The first few pairs we saw had the same build, hair color, and hair style - she thought they were twins. She was surprised when two women of different races dove together because they didn't "match".
-- Rachel (and all of us, really) was captivated by the Polish table tennis player with only one hand. This was someone like HER! And it's just proof that Rae's hand really isn't a "disability".
-- Katherine wanted to know how the rowers (is it called skulling??) got in their boat. Good question. Since the boat is barely wider than their hips and sits about 3 inches above the water, it must be kind of tricky!
-- Kate has been confused by people of Asian descent competing for non-Asian countries. She'll ask where someone is from and when we answer "Germany" or "America" she says "But they're Chinese! Or at least Asian!" I have to keep (gently) reminder her that these athletes are just like her, people (or children and grandchildren) born in one country and moving to another. I can see the wheels turning in her head, but she does not see the irony.
-- When Rachel first saw male divers, she was convinced that they were swimming in their underwear. I must say, I am at a loss as to explaining the purpose of a speedo. Rae still refers to the swimwear as "underwear" and then giggles non-stop. Katherine took one look at speedo-wearing men and turned to us. "I'm SO glad that you don't wear those!" Uh, me too!
-- I have always been fascinated by the amazing mix of cultures and nationalities that the Olympics brings. But this year, I have been especially struck by the way in which the world has become blended. The way you can't tell where someone is from just by looking. I LOVE this! There is just something so uplifting about an American gymnast born in Cuba. A German gymnast with a Vietnamese name. A U.S. table tennis player of Chinese descent. A French cyclist whose ancestors came from Africa. An African American athlete with Caucasian parents. Part of it is that these people resemble my own family in some way. Part of it is a growing awareness, world-wide, that national lines are blurring and that we are all changing. And part of it is just a celebration of human diversity.
-- The Olympics have been a great way to bring up topics of race and nationality, body types and human diversity. We have dug out maps and located countries. We've seen events that look like great fun and events that make you think "I would NEVER do that." It's been such an interesting learning experience for all of us.