There are certain events in history, such as the Olympics, that come as natural markers of time when raising a family. Every four years our television screen beams into our living room inspiring stories of courage, dedication and commitments. Each time our children are four years older and the host city is somewhere new. The story the opening ceremony tells is one of history, as well as what hopes and aspirations that country sees for the future. It’s always an entertaining and educating ceremony to watch; and each time I take a moment to reflect on how much my own children have grown and changed.
I really enjoyed the opening ceremony in Rio and particularly that each athlete was given a seed of a native tree of Brazil and a cartridge with soil for them to plant it in the Radical Park in Deodoro. The Athletes’ Forest they will create there will be their legacy for Rio de Janeiro.
I also loved that this Olympics was the first in history to have a team of athletes walking under the ‘Olympic flag’ with no country of their own to represent, as they were all refugees. The individual story of each of those athletes is quite remarkable. I was particularly taken with the story of the Syrian refugee sisters, who had spent hours in the ocean pushing a leaking boat of refugees to safety and, almost a year to the day of that incredible feat, they were competing in the Olympics.
There have been so many inspiring stories from the Rio Olympics, not all of them about sport, but about goodwill and peace between people from all corners of the world.
I like the story of Michael Phelps inspiring a young man, Singapore’s Joseph Schooling, over a decade ago to pursue his swimming dreams, and for that same young man to then compete and win in a competition with Michael Phelps! BBC Sport have compiled ‘Rio Olympics 2016: The most memorable moments,’ which is a wonderful summary.
Today we gathered to watch the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympics and marvelled at the handing over of the flag to Japan at the end. My oldest daughter, currently 13 years old, is learning Japanese and is very keen to visit Japan – in four year’s time she’ll be 17 and in her final year of school in New Zealand!
My six and ten year old have enjoyed watching the games too. They have decorated my living room windows with home crafted Olympic torches, rings and flags of the world. We’ve all brushed up on our world geography and country flags!
My youngest has been learning how to find a country, from a list of over 200, in alphabetical order.
I’ve printed off ‘Olympic’ themed maths worksheets and history comprehension exercises for her to do. She’s been setting up her own Olympic games in the garden and we’ve been dancing away to the gymnastics. She also came up with a ‘country flag’ for a new country she’s going to make when she’s older, that will float on the ocean!
She also gave a little explanation of how she’d create her country on this short video:
It’s been a really wonderful few weeks of learning for us all. If only the world could come together and be more united more often, not just for the Olympics but in every day life.
And in the next Olympics, in Tokyo 2020, they’ll be over thirty new sports added! My Miss six is still waiting for flying broomsticks to be invented so ‘Quidditch’ can be in the Olympics!