Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Why We're Excited About the Rio Olympics

We love the Olympic Games, and considering the fact that our third most popular post of all time was dedicated to the strange motto of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, we imagine you must like them too!

As you're probably aware, the 2016 Summer Olympics are taking place in Rio this month, with the opening ceremony being held this Friday. Despite the general disarray in terms of planning, terrible environmental conditions, and intense political turmoil that are making the Olympics a bit of a nightmare for Brazil, we're still excited to see athletes from all around the world come together to compete.

One of the coolest things about the upcoming Olympics is that there will be a record number of participating countries - over 200 in fact, including first-time participants Kosovo and South Sudan. There will also be a team of 10 refugee athletes who will compete under the Olympic flag. Originally from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Syria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, these 10 athletes will compete in various athletics events, as well as judo and swimming.

Personally, my favorite parts of the Olympics are the opening and closing ceremonies. They're always spectacular shows that highlight the history and culture of the host nation, so I can only imagine that the home of Carnaval will put on a great show. I also love to watch the Parade of Nations, when most of the participants walk into the stadium country by country. Not only is it a great way to brush up on your knowledge of country names, but you also usually end up learning interesting facts about the countries and their athletes.
The Lagoa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.
This year, the Olympics will also provide a great opportunity for language lovers to learn a bit of Portuguese as it is the official language of Brazil, and therefore one of the official languages of the games. While your local broadcaster will undoubtedly provide commentary in your native language, you should still be able to hear plenty of Portuguese as you watch events like the Parade of Nations or medal ceremonies.

However, one of the strangest Olympics-related news stories from the past few weeks is that NBC, the television network that pays exorbitant amounts of money to be the official Olympics broadcaster in the United States, reportedly tried to get them to change the language of the opening ceremony. Apparently, they thought it would make for better television if the United States came near the end of the Parade of Nations. Since countries enter the stadium in alphabetical order based on the host nation's language, the United States team will enter early in the list since in Portuguese, it's known as Estados Unidos.

Finally, unlike the bizarre "Hot.Cool.Yours." motto used in the Sochi Olympics, this year's motto is fairly straightforward. It's Um mundo novo, or "A new world" in English, which is fairly self-explanatory.

What are your favorite parts of the Olympics, language-related or otherwise? Let us know in the comments!