February 12, 2010 * With Glowing Hearts* Vancouver Olympics

skiCN_7164The winter Olympics will be held in Vancouver, Canada beginning February 12th until the 28th.

Please read the following information on the Olympics from TeacherVision:

Winter Olympic History

The move toward a winter version of the Olympics began in 1908 when figure skating made an appearance at the Summer Games in London. Ten-time world champion Ulrich Salchow of Sweden, who originated the backwards, one revolution jump that bears his name, and Madge Syers of Britain were the first singles champions. Germans Anna Hubler and Heinrich Berger won the pairs competition.

Organizers of the 1916 Summer Games in Berlin had planned to introduce a “Skiing Olympia,” featuring Nordic events in the Black Forest, but the Games were cancelled after the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

The Games resumed in 1920 at Antwerp, Belgium, where figure skating returned and ice hockey was added as a medal event. Sweden’s Gillis Grafstrom and Magda Julin took individual honors, while Ludovika and Walter Jakobsson were the top pair. In hockey, Canada won the gold medal with the United States second and Czechoslovakia third.

Despite the objections of the founder of the modern Olympics Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, and the resistance of the Scandinavian countries, which had staged their own Nordic championships every four or five years from 1901-26 in Sweden, the International Olympic Committee sanctioned an “International Winter Sports Week” at Chamonix, France, in 1924. The 11-day event, which included Nordic skiing, speed skating, figure skating, ice hockey, and bobsledding, was a huge success and was retroactively called the first Olympic Winter Games.

Seventy years after those first cold – weather Games, the 17th edition of the Winter Olympics took place in Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994. The event ended the four-year Olympic cycle of staging both Winter and Summer Games in the same year, and began a new schedule that calls for the two Games to alternate every two years.

Year No Location Dates Nations Most medals USA medals

1924 I Chamonix, FRA Jan. 25-Feb. 4 16 Norway (4-7-6–17) 1-2-1– 4 (3rd)

1928 II St. Moritz, SWI Feb. 11-19 25 Norway (6-4-5–15) 2-2-2– 6 (2nd)

1932 III Lake Placid, USA Feb. 4-15 17 USA (6-4-2–12) 6-4-2–12 (1st)

1936 IV Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER Feb. 6-16 28 Norway (7-5-3–15) 1-0-3– 4 (T-5th)

1940-a – Sapporo, JPN Cancelled (WWII)

1944 – Cortina d’Ampezzo, ITA Cancelled (WWII)

1948 V St. Moritz, SWI Jan. 30-Feb. 8 28 Norway (4-3-3–10), 3-4-2– 9 (4th)

Sweden (4-3-3–10)

& Switzerland (3-4-3–10)

1952-b VI Oslo, NOR Feb. 14-25 30 Norway (7-3-6–16) 4-6-1–11 (2nd)

1956-c VII Cortina d’Ampezzo, ITA Jan. 26-Feb. 5 32 USSR (7-3-6–16) 2-3-2– 7 (T-4th)

1960 VIII Squaw Valley, USA Feb. 18-28 30 USSR (7-5-9–21) 3-4-3–10 (2nd)

1964 IX Innsbruck, AUT Jan. 29-Feb. 9 36 USSR (11-8-6–25) 1-2-3– 6 (7th)

1968-d X Grenoble, FRA Feb. 6-18 37 Norway (6-6-2–14) 1-5-1– 7 (T-7th)

1972 XI Sapporo, JPN Feb. 3-13 35 USSR (8-5-3–16) 3-2-3– 8 (6th)

1976-e XII Innsbruck, AUT Feb. 4-15 37 USSR (13-6-8–27) 3-3-4–10 (T-3rd)

1980 XIII Lake Placid, USA Feb. 14-23 37 E. Germany (9-7-7-23) 6-4-2-12 (3rd)

1984 XIV Sarajevo, YUG Feb. 7-19 49 USSR (6-10-9-25) 4-4-0- 8 (T-5th)

1988 XV Calgary, CAN Feb. 13-28 57 USSR (11-9-9-29) 2-1-3- 6 (T-8th)

1992-f XVI Albertville, FRA Feb. 8-23 63 Germany (10-10-6-26) 5-4-2-11 (6th)

1994-g XVII Lillehammer, NOR Feb. 12-27 67 Norway (10-11-5-26) 6-5-2-13 (T-5th)

1998 XVIII Nagano, JPN Feb. 7-22 72 Germany (12-9-8-29) 6-3-4-13 (5th)

2002 XIX Salt Lake City, USA Feb. 8-24 77 Germany (12-16-7-35) 10-13-11-34 (2nd)

2006 XX Turin, ITA Feb. 10-26 85 Germany (11-12-6-29) 9-9-7-25 (2nd)

2010 XXI Vancouver, CAN Feb. 12-28

a-The 1940 Winter Games are originally scheduled for Sapporo, but Japan resigns as host in 1937 when the Sino-Japanese war breaks out. St. Moritz is the next choice, but the Swiss feel that ski instructors should not be considered professionals and the IOC withdraws its offer. Finally, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is asked to serve again as host, but the Germans invade Poland in 1939 and the Games are eventually cancelled.

b-Germany and Japan are allowed to rejoin the Olympic community for the first time since World War II. Though a divided country, the Germans send a joint East-West team through 1964.

c-The Soviet Union (USSR) participates in its first Winter Olympics and takes home the most medals, including the gold medal in ice hockey.

d-East Germany and West Germany officially send separate teams for the first time and will continue to do so through 1988.

e-The IOC grants the 1976 Winter Games to Denver in May 1970, but in 1972 Colorado voters reject a $5 million bond issue to finance the undertaking. Denver immediately withdraws as host and the IOC selects Innsbruck, the site of the 1964 Games, to take over.

f-Germany sends a single team after East and West German reunification in 1990, and the USSR competes as the Unified Team after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

g-The IOC moves the Winter Games’ four-year cycle ahead two years in order to separate them from the Summer Games and alternate Olympics every two years.

Olympics: Fun Facts

by Mike Morrison

1. American Myer Prinstein finished runner-up in the 1900 long jump in Paris, despite not even showing up for the finals. Prinstein, a Syracuse University student, was instructed not to participate in the finals on Sunday, the Christian Sabbath. Qualifying jumps counted back then, so he took second on the basis of those. As legend has it, he was so angry at eventual gold-medal winning jumper Alvin Kraenzlein for competing in the finals that he punched him in the face.

2. The 1912 Greco-Roman wrestling match in Stockholm between Finn Alfred Asikainen and Russian Martin Klein lasted more than 11 hours. Klein eventually won, but was too exhausted to participate in the championship match, so he settled for the silver.

3. Did you ever wonder why the official distance of a marathon is exactly 26 miles, 385 yards? In 1908, the marathon standard was set at exactly 26 miles. However, at the Olympic marathon in London, it was decided that the royal family needed a better view of the finish line. Organizers added an extra 385 yards to the race so the finish line would be in front of the royal box. And it’s been that way ever since.

4. The five interlocking rings of the Olympic flag symbolize the five continents of the world (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas) “linked together in friendship.” Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin claimed that at least one of the rings’ colors (blue, yellow, black, green, and red, along with the white background) was present in each country’s national flag.

5. World record, but no gold medal: In 1924, American Robert LeGendre shattered the world long jump record with a leap of 25 feet, 4 inches. However, the jump was part of the pentathlon competition and LeGendre could muster only a third-place finish overall. The actual long jump competition was won with a jump of 24 feet, 5 inches.

6. Stella the Fella – Poland’s Stella Walsh (Stanislawa Walasiewiczowna) – won the women’s 100-meter race at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, becoming the first woman to break the 12-second barrier. When she was killed in 1980 as an innocent victim in a robbery attempt, an autopsy declared her to be a male.

7. Danish rider Lis Hartel won the silver medal in the 1952 equestrian dressage event in Helsinki. Hartel suffered from an inflammation of the spinal cord known as poliomyelitis, which required her to be lifted on and off her horse each time.

8. Before there was Kerri Strug, there was Japan’s Shun Fujimoto. In the men’s team gymnastics competition in 1976, he actually broke his kneecap while performing in the floor exercise. The following day, however, he needed a top-notch performance in the rings for Japan to secure the gold. With no painkillers, he performed a near flawless routine and stuck to the landing, putting a tremendous amount of pressure on his injured knee. He grimaced in pain as he held his position for the judges, then finally collapsed in agony. Japan won the team gold by just four – tenths of a point over the Soviet Union.

9. And you thought they just used a match. Did you know that traditionally the Olympic flame in Olympia, Greece is rekindled every two years using the sun’s rays and a concave reflective mirror? Note: This year, cloudy skies prevented the “traditional” lighting.

10. In 1928, it was reported that six of the eight entrants in the women’s 800-meter race collapsed at the finish line in an “exhausted state.” Poor training methods and the brutal Amsterdam sun were the two major causes of distress. That event was subsequently cancelled until 1960.

Please tell me two facts from the above content that you found interesting and why.

Visit the official Vancouver Olympic website. This is an extensive website filled with photos, commentary, and video for you to explore. Please answer the following questions:

What events do you most like to watch and why?

If you could participate in the Olympics, which sport would you choose and why? Do you think you have what it takes to be an Olympic athlete? (Remember, it takes years of specialized training, self-discipline, and commitment to the sport to be a top athlete)

I have added two more music videos to the page at the top. These music videos are of Elvis Presley and The Beatles, and the song lyrics speak to the theme of forbidden love in The Outsiders. Be prepared to discuss how these lyrics apply to some of the characters and the storyline in the book.

The Best Of Us Challenge

The Best Of Us Challenge

Do you have a unique athletic ability? One that you feel you are the best at and would like to challenge an Olympian if given the opportunity? What is this ability? Can you spin an umbrella? Are you a champion baton twirler? Can you balance a stick at the end of your foot?

Please visit the above Olympic site to get an idea of what The Best Of Us Challenge is. I am not asking you to participate. The purpose of this blog is for you to recognize that we all have special physical abilities regardless of athletic prowess. Please watch the main video to get an idea of what The Best of Us Challenge is all about, and then click on the videos below to view some Olympians challenging you and being challenged to do some interesting feats.

Please answer the following prompt:

What unusual physical ability/unique skill do you have that you could challenge an Olympian at?

Is there a particular Olympian you know of that you would like to challenge? If you don’t know an athlete’s name, at least name the Olympic sport in which you would like to find someone to challenge.

Think outside the obvious, meaning, this challenge isn’t about that you are a fast runner. Maybe your special ability is juggling for a certain amount of time, balancing a spoon on the end of your nose while turning in circles, or being able to do 500 sit ups without stopping.

As usual, please write in paragraph form and watch your spelling and punctuation.