Saturday, July 28, 2012

올림픽 대회 - Olympic Games

With neither a working public television nor access to streaming websites, most of us ETAs have found it difficult to watch the 2012 Olympic Games in London (런던). The opening ceremony would have been broadcast live at 5:30am for us, so we definitely missed that regardless.

Fortunately, when I went to the gym this morning, a re-run of the opening ceremony was playing on the one television located right in front of the treadmills. I caught the raising of the Olympic flag (올림픽 기) and the lighting of the torch. Unfortunately, the broadcasting and interpretation on the network was all in Korean, of course, so I couldn't understand any of it. Still, it was quite a spectacle. The fireworks alone were amazing. I can't imagine what it'd have been like to be in the stadium and watch it "blow up" in beautiful colors.

(Oh, and an aside about the broadcast: there was Korean Sign Language interpretation in the corner of the television screen, which I thought was awesome! I would love to learn some KSL, but the chances of that happening are slim to none, as I still don't even know Korean well enough to attempt KSL. I did deduce up how to sign 감사합니다 (kamsahamnida - thank you), though!)

One thing I didn't like was the Olympic torch itself (올림픽 성화). It was comprised of hundreds of smaller torches that were arranged in a circle like hands on a clock. Once they were all lit, they slowly lifted from the center of the circle and came together, like a flower closing up in the evening, or -- as a friend pointed out -- like a giant Venus flytrap. From far away it was one beautiful bonfire. But there was just something about all the individual torches that looked disturbing, especially the view from beneath it.
It looks kind of sinister, doesn't it?
London 2012 hasn't had the greatest track record with its aesthetics, though, so I'm not too surprised. I mean, just look at their cyclops mascots, the Olympic tower, and even the awkward geometry of the 2012 logo. 추하네요!

But all of that aside, I'm still pretty excited for the Olympics. I think I'll be rooting for the US, Taiwan, and South Korea. I hope to be able to watch gymnastics (체조), diving (다이빙), volleyball (배구), and taekwondo, specifically.

This morning, Camp Fulbright had its own mini-Olympics, where each of eleven teams of campers represented different countries, and the sport events included soccer, a basketball shoot-out, badminton, water balloon toss, and relay races. I was on a team of ETAs who represented USA, and we were told to handicap ourselves by using a weaker hand or foot, or simply letting the young campers beat us. Despite the heat and the overall lack of enthusiasm from a hundred tired kids who didn't want to be outside... it was lots of fun! If I get ahold of some photos later, I'll put them up. That's all for now!

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