The worldly sports gathering has officially ended yesterday with some performances including the Spice Girls and other strange acts that were oh so symbolic. I tuned in for some of the events with the highlight being my favorite sport, gymnastics. I remember being a little monkey girl imitating whatever I can during the Magnificent Seven USA gymnastics team. They were absolute celebrities to me. I ended up meeting a few of the girls at International Gymnastics Camp, which I attended for four summers. Their autographs were worth more than Tamagotchis and beanie babies to me. Now, as an adult and obsessed with travel, I get giddy to watch athletes from different parts of the globe compete the same sport with the same rules for the same goal. We think foreigners are so different, but really, we have more similarities than differences. We are all human after all! One of these days, I want to see the sporting events in person. One of these days.
During the South Korea vs. USA women’s volleyball game, I found myself not knowing who to root for. Just a few years earlier, I would have undoubtedly performed cartwheels in America’s name. This time, however, I felt a jolt when America went out of bounds or Korea made a nice save. In my heart, I wanted Korea to win. I feel so much more pride for Korea than ever before. America ended up winning, but I still felt satisfied about it. Either way, my country will win.
Mexico and Brazil won the gold and silver in soccer/football, not exactly a spitting-out-your-soda moment there. Korea’s soccer team did take home bronze medal though, which wowed me! Victory Korea! I did not catch the archery competition, but apparently Korea dominated. One of the best archers in the world, a Korean blind athlete, set a world record. Whoa.
Both of my countries are in the top five for winning the most gold medals along with Russia, Great Britain and China. These countries are generally considered powerhouses with rich histories, but not many Americans hear about Korea as much. If Korea is talked about, it is most likely about North Korea. I have had people ask me what living in Korea will be like and if I’ll have electricity and a toilet. I wonder how many people view Korea as a third world country and what the general perception is. Maybe people will begin to see how it is a strong and prosperous nation!