Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Citizens of the World
I’ve been really getting into the Olympics this year. I didn’t expect to care a great deal about them, especially with them being held in Communist China. (By the way, this blog is now blocked in China..there used to be some traffic from Internet cafes over there, but I think I mentioned God once, and the Commie censors blocked this site) The last few Olympics, both winter and summer, are like a blur to me. I don’t remember a great deal about them. It seems like the Los Angeles Olympics were just yesterday, but that was 24 years ago. I’m getting old.
The USA is getting some great performances, none better than that of Michael Phelps and his eight gold medals in swimming. He also helped NBC with TV ratings last week.
A current trend in the Olympics is for athletes to farm themselves out to other countries whenever they do not make the Olympic team of their own country. We see that in basketball with Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Silver Stars (WNBA), who is playing for Russia, where she plays professionally in the winter. Chris Kaman of the Los Angeles Clippers is playing for Germany, as his great-grandparents came from Deutschland, and the Deutsch are letting him play for them. I would have a hard time playing for a country other than the USA, but if this is their ticket to the Olympics, then more power to them.
Late last night, I discovered the ultimate mercenary scenario. An American men’s beach volleyball team was playing a team from the Republic of Georgia. Upon further inspection, the Georgian players were named Geor and Gia. It turns out that they are Brazilians that were invited to play for Georgia after failing to make the Brazilian Olympic team. In Brazilian tradition, they took one-name professional titles, and took the names of Geor and Gia. They made it to the semifinals before losing to an American team. Interestingly enough, the other semifinal matched two Brazilian teams. A Brazilian women’s team also played for Georgia, under the names of Rtevelo and Saka, the Georgian-language name for the country. The Brazilan-Georgian women’s team even eliminated a Russian team from the Olympics. Great stuff!
I still believe there should be some sort of citizenship requirement for the Olympics. And, I believe the United States shouldn’t have to hire athletes from other countries to wear the red, white, and blue. But, if a small nation wants to bring in an athlete that won’t be on the team of their own country, that’s great.
In the meantime, I’ll be cheering for Geor and Gia to bring that bronze medal back home to Brazil. Or Georgia.