Monday Notes - Olympics Style

Like most of the rest of the world, we spent almost the entire weekend watching the Olympics. (When we weren't watching Olympics, we were watching basketball.)

My knowledge of the events at the Winter Olympics is pretty sparse. I have no idea how judges score things like figure skating, ice dancing (why is ice dancing different than figure skating?), or ski jumping. Why is ski jumping not just determined by how far you can jump? No idea. What are the tracks for in the skiathlon and why do they all stay on the same track versus trying to pass people? No idea. Who ever came up with the idea of cross country skiing and shooting targets in the same one event? The first time I went to Europe in the winter, that event was on TV 24/7 at our hostel and I couldn't take my eyes away whenever I was in the lobby/dining area. And who decides all these things are Olympic sports? (For a good take on what generally passes for a real "sport" in our house, read Eric's description and write up. We both feel like most of the Winter events are just that -- athletic events, not actual sports, by this definition.)

These Winter Games are giving me all kinds of feelings. I'm not sure how many people know this (most people see my last name and think it's German - there's only one 'n', so it's not), but I'm half Russian. Quite a lot of people know me as Masha, a Russian nickname for Maria. As far as I know, I was at least the first girl (if not the first person) born in the United States on my dad's side. My dad, grandparents, and uncle immigrated here when my dad was 15 years old. I am proud of my heritage. I spent a good chunk of college studying Russian language and literature (it was one my minors until I dropped it to take all CS courses my senior year). In high school I also studied Russian music. I wrote a 20 page academic paper analyzing the Russian fairy tales from my childhood books. I was the Russian department assistant, scouring articles in the Russian version of Time and picking out articles for first and second years to read. And I could eat blini and vinegret and eggplant caviar and drink Russian tea in tall glasses with sugar cubes every day if I had access to it. In 2009 I had the most amazing opportunity to spend two weeks in Russia with my dad and brother, seeing the places my dad grew up and experiencing White Nights while strolling down Nevsky Prospect.

So mostly what I'm trying to say is that I love Russian stuff and this Olympics is no exception. Seeing the Cyrillic and hearing Russian spoken in the background has been a fun exercise in translation. The Opening Ceremony was great and I loved the way they did the flame. And the ice skaters (especially Yulia) have made me tear up multiple times. When she did her first ice dance and finished with drawing the heart and throwing it up into the crowd, it went right into my gut. Everything is so beautiful.

I hope you are enjoying the Olympics in Sochi as well. And remember that Russia is enormous and one piece is not representative of the whole (just like the United States). Enjoy the events and beautiful scenery.
Monday Notes - Olympics Style Monday Notes - Olympics Style Reviewed by Maria on 10:00:00 AM Rating: 5

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