As with many things, timing is playing a big role in our Round the World Trip. In this case, the timing is presenting a unique situation for us to watch the 2012 Summer Olympics from another country’s point of view. Specifically, New Zealand, which is where we will be stationed for the duration of the games.
Every four years (every two if you count the winter games), I’ve watched the triumphs and trials of the Olympics through a decidedly American lens. Catching the ubiquitous and never-aging Bob Costas deliver endless profiles of American athletes who have overcome adversity to be on this grand stage. It is cool. It is inspiring to cheer for the red, white and blue. It gets the heart racing from time to time. But it also gets a tad predictable.
We are really eager to see how the Olympics are presented & televised from another country’s viewpoint. The New Zealand National Team is sending roughly 1/3rd as many athletes as the United States is sending. For a country that has approximately 1% of the population that the United States does (4 million as opposed to 314 million), that’s not too shabby. They have 185 men and women competing in 15 sports.
In 2004 and 2008, New Zealand won medals in Rowing, Cycling, Sailing and Canoeing; all events in which they are perpetually favorites. I can name the entire US Men’s Basketball Team and many on the US Men’s Swimming Team, but I don’t know a single thing about how one earns a gold medal in Canoeing. I’m assuming it takes more than not flipping over the canoe, but it is a world I know nothing about. I’m excited at the prospect of finding myself in a Kiwi bar collectively yelling with others at the TV at 2:00 AM (due to the London time difference) cheering on the New Zealand Sailing Team race towards the finish line. Man, we have a lot of exciting things to look forward to on this tip.
On a related note, I’m also hoping that while abroad, I can finally learn what in blue blazes the game of Cricket is all about.