Monday, January 6, 2014

Olympics and Sports Nationalism

Ninth grade students are learning about the America's new frontiers in their Imperialism unit.  After the Wild West was tamed, America needed a new frontier.  Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines were areas where America expanded in territory and influence.

Sports supported this idea of competition.  They evolved into national events such as the Olympics and the Tour de France. Since that time, many Olympics have been held.  Some have been tainted (such as the Berlin 1936 Olympics), others have been subject to terrorist attacks (Munich Olympics), while others have been boycotted...Moscow and Los Angeles.   This year the Olympics are going to be held in Sochi, Russia.  This is a fantastic opportunity for Russia to host an Olympics since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the communist regimes of Eastern Europe.  Students in ninth grade will be receiving a mini-lesson on the Olympics when they begin in February. 
The first modern day Olympics was held in Athens, Greece in 1896.  It was based on Baron de Coubertin's own philosophy:

The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.