It might be a bit strange to have sports as a topic for a blog from an education consultant but I am both an avid sports viewer and an avid sports doer. I love it when the Olympics are on, Winter or Summer, for so many reasons.
It might be a bit strange to have sports as a topic for a blog from an education consultant but I am both an avid sports viewer and an avid sports doer. I love it when the Olympics are on, Winter or Summer, for so many reasons. The Olympics are an opportunity for female athletes to get equal coverage to that of their male counterparts. In non-Olympic times, if you glance at the sports section in a newspaper or news website, you wouldn’t even know that women competed in sports. Buried somewhere in the pages and pages of male professional sports coverage there might be the odd paragraph or two about a female sportsperson, if you are lucky. When the Olympics are on, however, it is another story. Female Olympians are everywhere in the news, as if the world just discovered their existence.
The Olympics are also a showcase of the many weird and wonderful ways that human beings find to compete against each other in the sports arena. Biathlon anyone? Curling? Ski jumping? Snowboard half pipe? Who came up with any of these? And seriously, who came up with the idea of launching themselves down a snow-covered hill, going over ramps, and turning three or four times around in the air, before landing and continuing down the hill? If ever there was a definition of insanity, that is it. But it is riveting to watch as a spectator.
Most of all I love the Olympics because of the personal stories that lie behind each athlete’s performance, the stories of how they got to that particular point in time. These are stories of everything that is worth celebrating about humanity: resilience, creativity, endurance, persistence, focus, dedication, self-discipline, family support, ingenuity, teamwork. Hence a blog about sports from an education consultant. Education is about growth, learning, and change to become the best version of ourselves that we can be. These same elements are found in the stories of the athletes at the Olympics.
Canadian snowboarder, Mark McMorris, who came back from months of rehabilitation after a horrific crash last year, to lay down fantastic runs. Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjoergen, who capped a lengthy career by winning five gold medals, to add to her ten medals from previous Olympics. All of the men’s hockey teams, none with any players from the premier professional league in the world, who produced competitive and entertaining games to proudly represent their countries. The fierce Canadian-US rivalry in women’s hockey that went yet another round in an epic battle for the gold medal. The figure skater from Malaysia, Jason Yee, the skier from Eritrea, Shannon-Ogbani Abeda, and the Nigerian women’s bobsled team, all athletes from hot countries using ingenuity and sheer determination to see their countries represented at the Winter Olympics. And for a fun story, we can’t forget the Tongan flag bearer, taekwondo athlete Pita Taufatofua, who learned how to cross-country ski so that he could enter the stadium at Winter Olympics, as he had at the Summer Olympics, dressed in a traditional grass skirt.
Education is about being optimistic about the future and believing in human potential, no matter how dark the ongoing events in the world around us. So, from an educator who loves sports, thank you to the athletes of the Winter Olympics, for giving us wonderful stories of human potential at a time when we sorely needed something to celebrate.