PyeongChang 2018 Olympics!

The next Olympics will be in South Korea from February 9 to February 25, which is so soon! Here are 10 interesting facts to know about the upcoming Olympics.

  1. The medals were unveiled September 20! The edges of the medals have “PyeongChang Winter Olympics” written on them in Korean. The diagonal lines on the front symbolize Olympians’ determination and Olympic history. On the back, each medal has the sports discipline, event, and logo. When they were unveiled, PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee President Lee Hee-beom said, “With the Olympic medals for PyeongChang 2018 revealed today, the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games are prepared to begin. We are fully geared toward preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games to promote the Olympic Spirit and boost the citizens’ national pride.” (Go here for more information.)

2. A total of 222 medals (gold, silver, and bronze) will be awarded during the PyeongChang Games. In addition to that, 5 sets of each will be set aside in case of ties, 25 will be given to the International Olympic Committee, and 7 will be displayed in South Korea.

3. The Olympic mascot is a white tiger named Soohorang because the white tiger is considered Korea’s guardian animal. Here‘s a video about him!020616-pyeongchang2016mascot-thumbnail.jpg

4. There will be 6 new events at these Games: men’s and women’s snowboard big air, men’s and women’s speed skating mass start, curling mixed doubles, and an Alpine team event.

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Roope Tonteri competing in men’s snowboard big air at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships.

5. This Olympics marks 30 years since South Korea last hosted the Olympics in Seoul in 1988. This is its first Winter Olympics.

6. The Games’ slogan is “Passion. Connected,” and according to the website, that means “a world in which everyone is connected with shared passion for winter sports, a world open to any generation anywhere, anytime, to open new horizons in the continued growth of winter sports.”

7. This was PyeongChang’s third bid to host the Winter Olympics. Previously, it lost to Sochi, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, and Vancouver, which hosted the 2010 Olympics.

8. 7,500 torchbearers will carry the Olympic torch during the relay.

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9. The Olympic flame was already lit in Greece to start the Olympic Torch Relay to South Korea! Over the 101-day relay, it will visit 17 cities and provinces across South Korea. Watch this video to see where it will go!

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10. For more updates on the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, you can go to its website or follow it on Facebook or Twitter!

The Olympics of Dogs

It’s Friday! In honor of Friday and looking forward to the weekend, here are 4 fun facts about dogs and the Olympics.

  1. Last year, Brazil hosted its first Dog Olympics to celebrate the end of its Olympic summer, and it took place on the last day of the Paralympics. Throughout the day, dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes competed for medals in diving, jumping, swimming, and running.

2. Before the Sochi 2014 Olympics, many people had to step in and help stray dogs living in Sochi. For example, a Russian business mogul, Oleg Deripaska, created a shelter in the hills above Sochi. To save dogs, volunteers drove a golf cart around to pick them up and take them to the shelter. People who were in Sochi for the Games, including many U.S. athletes, adopted some of the strays and brought them home. For example, Gus Kenworthy, a U.S. skier, adopted two dogs, Jake and Mishka.

People are still rescuing Sochi’s dogs. Vlada Provotorova, a Sochi resident, has been saving as many dogs off the streets as she can since 2014 and was able to set up a charity called Sochi Dogs, where you can adopt dogs from Sochi even if you live in another country! Check out the website for more information: http://www.sochidogs.org/

3. At the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials (click here if you want to read an interview with one of the swimmers who competed there!), therapy dogs were allowed on deck to help swimmers stay calm before and after their races. For the meet, USA Swimming partnered with Domesti-PUPS to provide swimmers with therapy dogs. They even had credentials, so they could be on deck!

Above photos from http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more-sports/u-s-swimmers-therapy-dogs-relax-olympic-trials-article-1.2694270.

4. Before the 2016 Olympics, many dog owners dressed their dogs up to support the athletes. One Instagram, @thedogstyler, dressed dogs up as different types of athletes, and they’re so cute!

Enjoy your Friday with your furry friends!

Looking Back…

 

For the past two years, August has been a special month for me. Two years ago, I had just finished volunteering at the Los Angeles 2015 World Summer Games. One year ago, I was in Rio volunteering for the Rio 2016 Olympics. Both of those experiences are very important to me, and I have such wonderful memories for both of them. Before both of these experiences, I was very nervous. For LA, I was traveling somewhere by myself and volunteering at an international event for the first time, and for Rio, I was going to Brazil without knowing a lot of people or a lot of Portuguese. However, I loved each experience so much.

Thinking back to August 2016 and 2015, I thought a good blog post would feature my favorite picture from each one. I love photography, and there are some photos that really capture the spirit of the Games.

Here’s my favorite photo from LA 2015:

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LA 2015 was an eye-opening experience for me partly because it seemed like the whole world had come together to compete or to cheer for the athletes, but also because of moments like this. This is one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. Those two athletes are from different countries, might not even have spoken the same language, and one of them won gold while the other won silver, but they are united in their celebration. They look so happy, proud, and triumphant. It makes me happy just to look at it.

For Rio 2016, it was a lot harder to choose, but I do love this one.

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This photo reminds me of the Closing Ceremony, one of my favorite moments of the Olympics. It was a symbol that I had achieved my dream of going to the Olympics. I had gone there and made the most of it. I was there at the Closing Ceremony! It felt like a really big party, and I think this photo captures that.

Thanks for reminiscing with me! Even though I’m sad that these events are over, the great thing about the Olympics and Special Olympics is that there will always be more moments like these in the future.

Phelps vs. Shark

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Tonight at 8 pm EST, you can watch Michael Phelps race a Great White Shark! As a part of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, Michael Phelps flew to Cape Town, South Africa, to swim against a Great White in a 100-meter open water race. For safety reasons, he did not swim next to the shark, and there were about 15 safety divers around. Their times were compared to identify a winner.

tv_phelps1a.jpgThe special is called Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White, and although we probably can guess who will win, who knows? Great Whites normally swim 10 miles per hour but can reach up to 35 miles per hour, but Michael Phelps has won 28 Olympic medals and wore a custom monofin (a single fin flipper that looks like a shark tail) to swim faster. Additionally, it’s a lot easier to ask Michael Phelps to swim in a straight line for 100 meters than a shark! We’ll have to see!

It will be fun to watch, and Phelps said that swimming with sharks first in the Bahamas and then in Cape Town was unbelievable. He hopes that his experience and the show on Discovery tonight will educate others about sharks. He said, “Sharks aren’t out to eat us. They’re just like us, trying to survive.”

Phelps will be in another show on Shark Week called Shark School with Michael Phelps, which airs July 30 at 8 pm EST.

Two Years on the Blog Today!

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Happy second birthday to my blog!

When I started this blog, I was so nervous to have people read my writing that I almost didn’t do it. Even though I still get nervous about it sometimes, I’m glad I started it and created an opportunity for myself to learn more about blogging, writing, and the Olympic Movement. I hope that reading this blog for the past two years has been fun, informative, and inspiring, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Here’s to many more years for the Olympics of Blogs!

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Trading Tuesday: Graduation

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My family and I outside of Madison Square Garden

Two weeks ago, I graduated from Pace University. It was a really fun day, and I was excited that my family could come to New York City to watch it. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Liz, Adri, and Derek for coming! It meant a lot to me. ❤

unnamedThese are the three pins I wore during graduation. They are some of my favorite pins out of my entire collection because they are symbols for the amazing experiences I’ve had at major sporting events. Every time I look at them, I remember all the people I met and all the things I was able to do, and I feel proud to have volunteered at the LA 2015 Special Olympics World Games, the Rio 2016 Olympics, and the Austria 2017 Special Olympics World Games during my college experience. Without volunteering at these Games (and getting these pins), I would not be where I am today. Those experiences were so valuable to me and helped teach me more about the world, myself, the Olympic Movement, and humanity. My experience at Pace and in New York City taught me how to push myself and make my dreams happen.

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You can see the pins proudly displayed on my Stole of Gratitude!

I wore these pins on a blue stole called a Stole of Gratitude. At the time, it seemed to be the only place where they could go and actually be seen, but now, it’s perfect that they were on that stole. I am so thankful for those experiences, and I have immense gratitude for all the opportunities I’ve had so far in my life and that I will have. I gave my Stole of Gratitude to my thesis and academic advisor, Bill. He really deserves it for helping me so much before, during, and after my time at Pace.

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Bill and I after the ceremony

Thank you, Pace, my family, the Honors College, and my friends for a wonderful college experience! Amazing Awaits!

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My cap

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today is Mother’s Day in the United States, and whether you’re an athlete, a non-athlete, or a fur baby, it’s important to thank your mom today for everything she’s done for you.

Proctor & Gamble (P&G) always have amazing commercials thanking the moms of the Olympics, Paralympics, and Special Olympics. At the end of each commercial, it even declares itself to be the proud sponsor of Moms (in addition to being a sponsor of the Olympics, Paralympics, and Special Olympics). Here are three commercials that I love.

Thank you to the all of the moms out there! ❤ Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy Mother’s Day to my mom too! Love you, Mom!

Trading Tuesday: Team Austria

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About month ago, I volunteered for the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. It’s amazing how fast time has gone! Like every Special Olympics event I’ve ever been to, the best part was the athletes. I arrived in Austria on March 17, and I was feeling a little lonely. Once I got into my Airbnb, I decided to go for a walk, and I chose to walk to the Hauptplatz in Graz because that’s the main square. I was so excited to find that there was a huge dance party for the World Games at the Hauptplatz!

Special Olympic athletes love dancing, and I was able to dance with Team Austria, Team Spain, and Team Chinese Taipai that night. Everyone was dancing to a DJ who was playing a lot of popular music, and it was incredible. Many times throughout the night, all the dancers did the congo line. I felt really caught up in the music and the spirit of the Games. It was the best St. Patrick’s Day I’ve ever had!

After that Friday, I kept seeing many of the athletes, and the Austrian athletes made me feel very welcome. Every time I saw them, they waved, smiled, or gave me hugs even though I couldn’t really understand them since they spoke German, and they couldn’t really understand me since I spoke English.

One of the athletes from Austria gave me this pin (Österreich is Austria in German), and it was one of the first pins I received these Games. The Austrian athletes were wonderful hosts, and they were one of the best parts of my trip to Austria. I took this picture with them on the last day I volunteered. Most of them were stick shooters and had won gold!

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Thanks for reading! Happy Trading Tuesday!

An Interview with Eloise, a Special Olympics World Winter Games Figure Skater

Over the Special Olympics World Winter Games, I had the amazing privilege to meet so many incredible people from around the world. To get to the Opening Ceremony, for example, I got one of the last seats on the South African delegation’s bus. This was such a cool experience because I became friends with many of the players and the head of the delegation. In addition, I met Sue and David Carruthers, the parents of Eloise, who competed in Figure Skating for Team GB.

Throughout the week, I ran into Team South Africa and the Caruthers a few times, and I’m very glad I did. Both groups really contributed to how much I enjoyed the Games. On March 21, I interviewed Eloise for my blog, which was really cool because she is one of the best female figure skaters in Level 4 skating in the world.

Here’s the video. Please excuse the poor sound quality. It was hard to find a quiet place at the rink!

The video ends with Eloise’s free skate, which I just made it to see on Thursday! She won seventh place, and her skating was absolutely beautiful.

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It was really fun to meet and cheer for Eloise at the World Games! 😀

Trading Tuesday: Austria 2017

unnamedThis pin is the perfect choice for this week’s Trading Tuesday because I just made it today! Currently, I’m volunteering at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. This pin is awesome because I ❤ Special Olympics, and it’s really cool to have my picture on a pin!

I have been having a wonderful time meeting athletes, fans, and volunteers from around the world. People are completely open with friendship, and they are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. So many people have helped me since I’ve come here and gone out of their way to do so. I think everyone recognizes that we are here for the athletes. This is their time, and by making sure the focus is on them, the athletes’ happiness, kindness, and openness is able inspire everyone else. I know I belong within the Special Olympics community because it is one huge, international family, and these Games have confirmed that. Even if people have different abilities, languages, races, or religions, Special Olympics proves that everyone can come together and find similarities.

Saturday night was the Opening Ceremony in Schladming, and I’m so happy I was able to go. It was so beautiful. The entire ceremony focused on the athletes as the stars. Even though it was pouring and bitterly cold the entire time, the stands were completely filled, and it didn’t stop people from cheering for each country as it paraded out into the stadium.

In Messe Graz, the place where Floor Hockey and Floor Ball are located and where I’m volunteering, there is a Coca Cola station where you can take a picture holding a Special Olympics pillow, and then have it made into a pin. Coca Cola is one of the sponsors of the Games, and they had such a cool idea with these pins.

My last day volunteering is on Thursday. So far, I’ve been working in the cafeteria where athletes, coaches, staff, and volunteers eat, but tomorrow and Thursday, I’m volunteering for the Motor Activity Training Program (MATP).

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Go Team USA! Go Special Olympics!