Monday, July 30, 2012

Five Strange Olympic Sports

I found the best article last week about the Olympics. This article picked up on five strange Olympic sports that have been held in previous games. Not only is this article a fun one to read, but it is history!

“5 Strange Olympic Sports You Won’t See at the 2012 London Games”

Personally, I would not mind turning on my TV and seeing the 200-meter swimming obstacle race held in Paris at 1900 games. How cool would that be? Or the tug-of-war, that would also be fun.

Thanks to the History Channel for both the article, and the image above.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

London Olympics

I love the Olympics! Having no athletic abilities myself, I respect and enjoy watching individuals who are driven and passionate about sports. And I love the celebration of world athletes. “Go World,” as one of my friends said.

My favorite sport to watch is actually rowing. I discovered it during the Olympics in Athens. I actually channel those rowers when I’m at the gym on the rowing machine. But I digress.

London is currently hosing its third Olympic games, the only city to have hosted this many times in history. The last time they hosted was in 1948, right after the conclusion of WWII. We are going to be hearing a lot about the 2012 London Olympics in the coming days, so I thought I would focus on those 1948 Olympics for this post.

London was originally selected as the host city for the 1944 Olympics, however the games were cancelled due to WWII. After the war, London was awarded the 1948 games, and while the country almost handed the games to the United States, decided they would use the game to restore the country.

This Olympics came to be known as the Austerity Games for many reasons. Food was still rationed from the war, and the athletes received the same rations the miners received. No new structures were built for these games; Wembley Stadium was not damaged during the war, and it was the main stadium for the games. There was also no Olympic Village, and the athletes stayed in canvas tents and structures used to house the prisoners of war.

Remarkably, 59 nations were represented with 4,104 athletes. Neither Germany nor Japan was invited to participate because of their role as aggressors in the war, and while the USSR was invited, it chose not to participate. United States won the most metals, with the United Kingdom winning the second most.

Sports at this Olympics included: basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.

I am so excited for the Olympic games this year. Each games I discover a new sport I didn’t know of before. This year, archery and badminton have caught my attention. Happy Olympics, and as always Happy History!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Growing up, July 4 is explained as the day America gained its independence from England. We celebrated in my neighborhood with a water fight, cult-d-sac BBQ and in the old days, fireworks and a bon fire. But it was not until much later that I started questioning what July 4 was. It was also a day that happened 442 days into the Revolutionary War. As a child learning this from my father (who himself is not a great teacher, but I digress) I was confused. Why would the Constitutional Convention wait until the middle of the war to declare independence? And why as Americans do we celebrate July 4, and not August 9, the day the Declaration was actually signed, or September 3, the day the Treaty of Paris was signed as our day of independence? It didn’t quite make sense.

And I still don’t really have these answers. So it is time that I answer them. It is my way of celebrating America since every firework show in Colorado has been cancelled because of the fires.

The first shots of the Revolutionary war were fired in Concord Massachusetts on April 19, 1775. It wasn’t until the spring of 1776 that support for independence swept through the colonies. A five-person committee was established to write the declaration, although Thomas Jefferson wrote a majority of the document, drawing heavily from the philosophy of John Locke.

July 2, 1776 the Constitutional Convention voted to support Virginiaian motion for independence. On July 4, 1776, 12 of the colonies officially supported the Declaration, and after some rewording New York approved on July 19, 1776. But the Declaration was not even signed until August 9, 1776.

After I researched the history of the federal holiday, I realized that it has been celebrated in a way since 1777 when thirteen gunshots were fired in salute. In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state to recognize July 4 as a state celebration. In 1791, the first record of July 4 as Independence Day occurred. In 1870, Congress made Independence Day the day became a federal unpaid holiday, and in 1938, the day became a paid federal holiday.

After all this research I realized I don’t have an answer for why we celebrate July 4 as Independence Day. What I do know is that today is the day the Declaration of Independence was voted on, and that document serves as one of the greatest documents ever written. And, according to this article by the Wall Street Journal, in the next 100 years, other nations and people would issue 200 similar documents to the American Declaration of Independence. That is certainly something worth celebrating.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!