While watching the 1500 meter qualifying heats on Friday night on the plane, I realized Hubby has picked up some global fashion. He has been looking for new running shoes and took me with him last week to show me a few pair he liked. Surprising all the pairs were of the neon variety. After more online research, we went back and bought him the Nike Air Pegasus 29, or what I like to call the Highlighters. It just so happens that the international running community has picked up the same fashion. Now Hubby can glow in the dark while running with the best of them.
These are Hubby’s “Highlighters”
Seven Olympians in the first 1500m trial heat sport neon yellow shoes. Photo courtesy of Zimbio.
Look at those “Highlighters” go! Photo courtesy of BET.
You’ve probably already seen the tiny Russian gymnast Viktoria Komova win the silver in the all-around individual gymnastics competition just yesterday. As I watched the duel between her and American Gabby Douglas, I could only imagine what was going through her head. But after reading more about her, it seems that besides gymnastics, she is a typical 17 year-old girl. Vika, as she is known by friends, loves the Twilight series, pizza, drawing, and has a Shi Tzu puppy named Kutya.
The daughter of two gymnasts, the ability to fly through the air runs in Vika’s family. Her mother introduced her to the sport at the age of 5 and she immediately excelled. Now she practices three times a day for six days a week. The loss yesterday was definitely a difficult one, but Vika seemed to be taking it in stride. “I am proud about what I have done today,” Komova said. “I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t get gold. (Douglas) is very strong. She performed beautifully today.”
Viktoria still has a few more events on Sunday including her best event – the uneven bars. Be sure to listen for her signature move – an inside-salter on the low bar with a half-turn catch to the high bar. It should be an exciting match up!
Olympic Sport: Gymnastics
Hometown: Voronehz, Russia
Birthdate: January 30, 1995 (age 17)
Height: 4’11” (she’s my height exactly…these are my people)
Weight: 82 lbs. (she is not my weight exactly)
Read more about Viktoria Komova at the following sites:
As the medals start coming in, I’ve been trying to pay attention to the anthems as the Olympians take the podium. After the Italian team beat my Americans in men’s archery, I realized this weekend that I had never really heard (or maybe just never paid attention to) the Italian anthem before. So thanks to YouTube, I found a version with both Italian and English subtitles.
As I read the words of “Il Canto degli Italiani”, I realized a commonality between many of the European and American anthems. In our American “Star Spangled Banner” we sing of our flag still standing as we defeated the Brits and achieved freedom. In the U.K. “God Save the Queen” describes crushing the Scots. For the French in “La Marseillaise”, they call their citizens to bear arms and stand up against tyrants. And for the Italians, they claim victory as their personal slave and promise to die for Rome and country. It seems that our anthem writers were all pretty obsessed with our war-time wins and liked to sing our praises.
Reading through the national songs made me wonder, if we were to re-write our national anthem in 2012, how would it be different? Although I can’t speak for every country, I feel pretty confident to say that the Americans would definitely change it up. We would sing of the American dream, equality for all, and patriotic pride. In fact, if it were up for a vote, we may just adopt “I’m Proud to be an American” and call it a day.
But yet, as Missy Franklin took the podium the other day and they played the “Star Spangled Banner” over the aquatic center, my last thought was of changing the anthem, but rather pure pride in my fellow countrywoman. And from the looks of things, “God Save the Queen”, “La Marseillaise”, and “Il Canto degli Italiani” are invoking the same feelings. I suppose its best not to fix what’s broke but I’m curious to hear other’s opinion.
CNN has been doing a series on the athletes of the Arab Spring. I was on their site this week and found a clip about Saudi Arabia’s Olympic Team, which you may have heard will include women for the very first time. After great pressure from the Olympic Committee, Sarah Attar and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani will represent their country in the 800 meter and judo respectively. Although Olympians, the Saudi government has set strict rules for the two women. They must dress appropriately for Sharia law at all times (head covering included)and they must have a male guardian with them at all times when in public. Regardless, these women are to be admired and hopefully will be the start of allowing more women in Saudi Arabia participate in sports.
Olympic Sport: 800 meter
Hometown: Escondido, California, USA
Birthdate: August 27, 1992 (age 19)
Height: 5’4″ (a mere 5 inches taller than me)
Olympic Sport: Judo
Hometown: Makkah, Saudi Arabia
Birthdate: February 1, 1996 (age 16)
Weight: 175 lbs.
Read more about these incredible women at the following:
With the Olympics starting this week, I’ve been searching through Olympic tagged posts on WordPress to gear up! A few nights ago I came upon a blog that stuck out: Jane’s Olympic Blog. Jane is from Bromley, England and her blog is all about serving as an ambassador for Team London. She is a true Olympic insider! Jane was so kind to answer a few of my questions.
What Olympic sport are you most excited to see?
We’ve got tickets to see the table tennis, as hubby plays it (though not to Olympic level!), so that will be the most exciting, I think. Plus of course the athletics – I wonder how many records will be broken and how quick Usain Bolt will run?!
What is the most important thing they teach you in ambassador training?
Our ambassador training provided us with a lot of knowledge about what we’ll be doing – welcoming people to London and providing them with information on places nearby, how to get to where they want to go and what else is going on nearby.
As an ambassador for London, what restaurant would you recommend a visitor to try?
We can’t recommend specific restaurants as there are so many and it depends where we’ll be based, and on individual taste. I will be in the ‘Flying Squad’ which means I’ll get to travel about and provide cover at different Ambassador stations each day. For anyone coming to London, the best place to look for restaurants and read their reviews is http://www.timeout.com/london/.
Definitely check out Jane’s blog for the inside scoop on the London Olympics.
On our last full day in Mexico, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight one of their star athletes for this week’s Olympian to Watch. After asking around and doing some research, I was surprised to find out that Mexico excels in Taekwondo. In fact, in the 2008 Olympics they took home two gold medals in the sport. One of those medalists was Guillermo Pérez Sandoval, who will be returning to Olympic Games this year in London.
Guillermo started his career in Taekwondo at the young age of 5, inspired by Bruce Lee movies. His successes came early with his first big win at age 10 which threw him into the international competition circuit. With his win in the 2008 Olympics, Guillermo became a national hero. With only 55 medals in the country’s history, he has become one of the elite athletes and has gained a great deal of notoriety. Upon his Olympic win, Guillermo told interviewers that the Mexican president called him and said he was the pride of their country. The president of Mexico’s World Taekwondo Federation also credits Guillermo and Maria Espinoza’s Olympic wins for the growing popularity of the sport in Mexico. There are now over 1.5 million people who practice the sport.
Olympic Sport: Taekwondo
Hometown: Uruapan, Mexico
Birthdate: October 14, 1979 (age 32)
Height: 5’7″ (8 inches taller than me)
Weight: 127 lbs.
Read more about Guillermo Pérez Sandoval at:
Ever since I read the Hunger Games, I’ve become mildly obsessed with archery. I even bought a Groupon to take classes (I still haven’t used it yet!). So this week’s Olympian to watch is a straight shooting lady who everyone is trying to beat. Yun Ok-Hee (Yun is her surname) hails from South Korea where she began her career in archery at the young age of 11. In an interview she said it was watching the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta that really inspired her. She won two medals (gold and bronze) in Beijing and according to all of the archery world, she has a strong chance of sweeping this year’s games.
In her spare time Yun enjoys reading and listening to music, but also is an advocate for promoting the historical legacy of Korean archery and has helped several Korean filmmakers accurately portray the sport. She gives a great deal of credit to her heritage for her success. In an interview with New Korean Cinema, she said, “Our sensitive fingertips handed down from our ancestors and our spiritual strength and willingness to fight to the very end are our secrets.” This in combination with her training (which includes bungee jumping and platform diving) have definitely made her an Olympian to watch in 2012.
Olympic Sport: Archery
Hometown: Seongnam, South Korea
Birthdate: March 1, 1985 (age 27)
Height: 5’3″ (this gives me hope that I can still become a master archer; she’s only 4 inches taller than me)
Weight: 139 lbs
It was tough to find a lot of detail about Yun Ok-Hee, but check these out if you would like to learn more.