Feb 112018
 
PyeongChang 2018: Technology, Beauty And Hope

PYEONGCHANG 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS OPENING CEREMONY. Photo property of IOC MEDIA

 

The Opening Ceremony of 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, dazzled with impressive display of technology, ancient wisdom, beauty and a message of peace.

 

The centerpiece of the ceremony was the Bell of Peace which is the Korean symbol of calm and peace. There was a spectacular display of fireworks and even more impressive light show of coordinated, transparent drones lighting the night’s sky and flawlessly forming the Olympic rings above the stadium.

Other highlights included:

Five Korean children taking a trip through time and learning the meaning of peace and harmony; each dressed as one of the five elements of the Universe which according to the Korean tradition are fire, water, wood, metal and earth. The colors of the children’s outfits corresponded with the colors of the Olympic rings.

The Athletes’ Parade featured the greatest sport stars from the 92 countries that will compete for Olympic medals.
It is a long standing Olympic tradition that the host country is the last in the Athletes’ Parade. In a historic departure from this tradition, the 2018 Athletes’ Parade concluded with athletes from the Republic of Korea and the Democratic Republic of Korea marching together under the Korean Unification Flag.

The musical theme of The Opening Ceremony of 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang was John Lennon’s Imagine (the anthem of peace) performed by four Korean music stars (Ha Hyun-woo, Lee Eun-mi, Ha Hyun-woo and An Ji-yeong) who were joined via live global link by musicians from other countries. During the moving song, hundreds of performers formed a huge shape of the dove of peace around the singers.

This was the setting into which the Olympic flag was brought in, carried by four generations of Korean athletes. Then the Olympic oath was sworn.

The culminating artistic moment of the ceremony starred Yuna Kim, Korea’s favorite figure skater, who lighted the Olympic Cauldron.

As the ceremony neared its end, the President and CEO of the Organising Committee (POCOG), Lee Hee-beom and International Olympic Committee’s President Thomas Bach took the stage together. While the IOC President complimented the Republic of Korea, Lee Hee-beom said:
“Just as the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games broke down the Cold War barrier between East and West 30 years ago, we hope that the two Koreas participating together in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games will once again bring peace over our land.”

The Opening Ceremony was impressive, moving and memorable. The Olympic Games embody the highest values of sportsmanship, integrity and fairness. Korea’s emphasis on peace complements Olympic values. After all, the Games celebrate victories achieved through commitment to hard work, ethics and cooperation, the display of which is possible only in a time of peace.

The Opening Ceremony of 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang ushered in 16 days of Olympic Games.

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Even though the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended the Opening Ceremony (which makes this the first visit of the Democratic Republic of Korea governing family’s member to visit South Korea since 1950) – and so was Vice President Mike Pence – no political talks between the U.S. and North Korea are planned. Kim Yo Jong joined South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in for lunch on Saturday, the day following the Opening Ceremony.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Aug 222016
 
Rio 2016: American Disgrace

(Photo: Reuters/Ivan Alvarado)

12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte (32) and three U.S. swimmers Conger, Bentz and Feigen managed to cast a shadow over 2016 Olympic Games and the US victory in Rio.

The group reported to Brazilian police and freely shared in interviews with the media that they were robbed at a gun point – during a taxi ride – by men impersonating police officers. Lochte stated that he was in fear for his life…. All four blamed the circumstances – foreign country, foreign language, lack of security, etc. – for their ordeal.

Only after Brazilian police investigation introduced videos documenting their whereabouts and actions did the athletes admit the truth.

They were in fact confronted while in a taxi by a man brandishing a gun. The circumstances however were entirely different from those they initially reported.

The athletes were apparently drunk and caused significant property damage to a Brazilian gas station’s restroom. Having vandalized the property they attempted to escape without paying for the damage. There was no confusion. A volunteer translator facilitated the exchange between the drunken athletes and armed security guard employed by the gas station. He demanded they pay for the damage they caused. The security guard didn’t threaten anyone’s life. He threatened to report the incident to Brazilian authorities.

Instead of compensating the gas station for damages, APOLOGIZING and sleeping off their shenanigans, our guys concocted and reported to Brazilian police the story of a fictitious robbery.

The cowardly lie which eventually exposed the bunch for the vandals they were in this case reflected poorly on the entire American team, if not the Country. It stole the limelight from world-class athletes competing in the Olympic Games in Rio and generated anti-American feelings in Brazil and beyond.

Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo da Costa Paes said: “My feeling is one of pity, they did not represent the (other) American athletes that are here.” In spite of the Mayor’s generous comment, the unpleasant feelings linger.

Lochte came back to the States first thereby avoiding consequences in Brazil. Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger had to testify in Brazil before being allowed to return to the United States. The fourth participant in the lie, Jimmy Feigen made a payment of $10,800 in Brazil in a deal that allowed him to return home as well.

The Olympics might be over, but the scandal isn’t. Lochte and company might have to face consequences at home from USA Swimming AND the United States Olympic Committee. Lochte who won gold metal in Rio in a 4 x 200m freestyle relay race is likely to lose millions in anticipated commercial endorsements.

Lochte publicly apologized. It’s been said that he’s made a mistake. Drunk driving is a “mistake”, too. Still certain “mistakes” don’t go unpunished and intoxication isn’t a valid legal defense. Breaking the law is breaking the law. These four members of US swimming team have broken several laws: vandalism, filing a false police report, making false accusations as well as a bunch of unwritten rules: basic human decency, responsibility, accountability for one’s actions…. Their disgusting behavior embarrassed and disgraced America on International arena.

The lesson? Being on the Olympic team is an HONOR. Athletes competing in the Olympics represent their Country. The actions of Lochte and his friends – his numerous apologies not withstanding – didn’t represent American values or the United States well.

Article contributed by Sturm Enrich

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