Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Why I Love the Olympics

1. The favoured athletes don't alway win. Sometimes they trip up and less well known and financed teams get through.

2. Now that doping is policed better (remember East German women athletes?), I find it refreshing to see these men and women who work so hard at their sport competing and succeeding.

3. There are some strange bodies on this planet, but the Olympics finds a home for them. Witness the amazonian volleyball players or Michael Phelps. Thank God, he found swimming.

4. There are always poignant stories in the background. Remember the female gymnast who competed for Germany this year? She left Russia because her little boy needed treatment for leukemia. She's competed in something like three or four Games under the flag of three or four countries.

5. This was one of the best Games ever for Great Britain. I was cheering more for the Brits than I was for the Americans. I can't wait for 2012.

And now for something completely different:

My mother has done a lot of genealogy work on her side of the family. My mother-in-law has done it for her and her husband's sides. But for me, my dad's side of the family is question mark. I have a Germanic maiden name that is quite common and spelled a million different ways. I know that one of my ancestors on my dad's side came over from Russia. I thought it would be next to impossible to find out about our family history, especially since my dad shows zero interest in his forebears. Then my mother told me about a book she had that she thought she gave to me and I gave to my dad. She actually gave it to my nephew and he gave it to my dad. I borrowed it from my dad, who hadn't even looked at it.

It's about Germans who were recruited by Catherine the Great to settle in Russia along the Volga River. I know that my dad's grandfather was born in Russia and moved as a boy to the U.S. I asked my dad where his father and grandfather grew up. Lincoln, Nebraska. Well, guess what? When the tsar in 1864 issued an edict that all Germans in Russia would be drafted, a group of them came over to the U.S. and South America and explored where the Germans who wanted to move should go. And Lincoln, Nebraska, is one of the communities named. This book also lists the German names in each community in Russia. So it's not entirely impossible now to trace my father's side. This can be another project for me in my spare time.


Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of the Olympics, I'm afraid although I do enjoy the swimming and diving.

The history is fascinating. I do hope you manage to get some more facts. You obviously have a lot of family history to uncover, some of which sounds incredibly interesting.

CJ xx

ChrisB said...

I think it would be fascinating to find out more about your father's side of the family. I wish you success if you manage to find the time!

Shania said...

How weird is it that I posted to British readers today, AND referenced the geneology I've done? Great minds think alike!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

CJ: And that's the beauty of the Olympics -- there's something for everyone. Yes, I have tons of family history to research.

chrisb: Thank you, and thanks for stopping by. I much catch up on my blog reading.

shania: I've read your blog about wanting to live in England. A lot of English people might look at you strangely if you persist in this notion. England can be great, and there are many advantages to living here. There are also many disadvantages. But you should come over for a visit to the places your ancestors hail from.

farming-frenchstyle said...

Through the Friends Reunited a distant relation of my step-father contacted me, and I have, another, distant relation in the next department in France. This was all done by tracing back the family. What a small world.

Fire Byrd said...

I so enjoyed the Olympics, and sports usually leaves me cold.

Family history is great, you can find even more whacky relatves, or maybe that's just my family!!

Queen Vixen said...

I loved the olympics! I love the way it brings all the world together. I miss it.

Roots are so important.

Career Guy said...

I Love the Olympics, especially the Summer Games and especially the 100m, 200m. 400m and the hurdles. It's just the person--no fancy equipment, just the person against him or her self. Having equestrians in the Olympics, though, is just goofy. The horses do all the work. Remember the 1980 games when the USSR didn't come and McDonald's wound up giving away a zillion burgers and fries in a promotion because the US won so many events?

Sparx said...

You're really lucky - my mother's grandfather came over from Germany but we don't even know the original family name as they changed it...