Olympic Resources

The Sochi Olympics are on!

There have been some interesting Olympic activities over the weekend.  The Opening Ceremonies were so interesting and of course, hockey has been wonderful to watch.  The most painful to watch for me has been the moguls.

In a post “Look for it” in January, I had shared that the Canadian Olympic Committee would be posting and updating classroom resources for use throughout the games.

They have come through as promised.

Whether you’re looking for ways to dress up your classroom or looking for ideas for fitness and well-being, the site has you covered.  In particular, download and print the Teacher’s Guide for ideas.

I particularly enjoyed the section dealing with individual athlete profiles.  Given the Gold-Silver finish of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters on the weekend, it certainly was compulsory research to find out made them so successful.  Having students create their own Olympic profile modelled after this would be interesting.

If you’re looking for a way to track the efforts of Canadians at the Olympics, this is definitely the place to go.

Technology and Trying Too Hard

Technology lets us do so many things.  We also get a chance to get it right.  Is there a price to be paid when we use technology to help us?

There was a time when you would write a report or use a typewriter and once the written word was on the paper, it was there and to make changes required acquiring skills that went above and beyond the basic technique of the original work.

In a digital age, creating, editing, and refining lets us present a product that is as perfect as we want it to be.  With word processing, editing, and blogging tools, we can create and edit at the same time.  The skills to do both mesh together in the process.  For example, as I create this entry, I’ve used my backspace key many times and my spell checker is automatically checking my content because some software developer has determined that we all want to be perfect.  Or, as close to perfect as we wish to be.  Sure, I could turn it off, but I need all the help I can get.

The biggest stories from the Olympics in the last couple of days has been, not about athletics, but by some investigative reporting indicating that the Olympic organizers have used technology in the opening ceremonies.

In this case, National Public Radio reveals that some of the fireworks displays were actually computer animations.

Or, the one to hit the front page of major newspapers, one of the singers was lipsynching a song that was sung by another girl.

These “scandals” are rocking the world as the television audience was “deceived” by these efforts.

Let’s step back for a second folks.  Here’s the biggest event of the year, billions watching on television, and the organizers want to present the best show that they can.

Is all radio live?  Do all newspapers publish stories as submitted without electronic enhancement and editors?

Of course not.

Maybe, at some level, it would be nice to think that a nine year old girl could step up to a microphone and belt out a tune in front of thousands in the stands and billions more watching world-wide.  I’d like to be able to walk over and pick up a shot and throw it like an expert.  Of course, I can’t, but with a bit of digital editing, I sure could.

The Olympics isn’t about a bunch of folks coming in from the farm to take their best shot at things.  It’s the culmination of years of practice with effort and desire to get things as perfect as possible.  We’re entertained by their competitions and we look for world records and perfection at the events.  Should we expect nothing less in the efforts of the organizers to entertain us as we watch and listen on television or over the internet?

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As a mathematician, I couldn’t let today go by without having a blog title like that.

But, that’s not really what I’m pondering.  As I watched the early morning news, there were reports of dangers and threats at the Beijing Olympics.  Indeed, this is the big day.  On the satellite dish, there are extra channels of the event to testify this.

It’s a big event for the CBC and they are broadcasting the opening ceremonies as I type this.  The globe is appearing from the stadium floor as it reinforces the message of “One Dream, One World“.  There will be reruns and repeats of the events and first showing and first viewing on the other networks come prime time tonight.

It’s fascinating to read about the media coverage and everything that’s going on to bring the coverage of the Olympics to the world.  Here is one global event that is open to everyone.  In theory, everyone puts aside the politics for the event.

You’ll notice that I’m careful to use the word “event” to describe what’s going on.

There can be no misunderstanding that this is an event, a spectacle on display for the whole world by the host country.

It’s big business with television rights, medals that can be bought and paid for with professional athletes, training as the world’s best athletes leave their home country for training at universities and colleges abroad.  It’s an opportunity for athletes to put themselves on stage for a world audience that may result in professional contracts or endorsement deals after the event.  This year, there are 204 countries represented.

Boycotts and political pressure have shaped this once amateur event to what it is today.  Things have changed dramatically over the years.  You only need to read about Jim Thorpe to realize this.

Advertisers are paying astronomical rates.  This report indicates that the NBC could take in $1Bilion.

It’s a big leap since the Thorpe days or the earlier ideals.

But, globally, we’ll all be watching.

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