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Archive for the category “Colonialism”

Olympics inter- and intra-country mysteries

Actress Ino Menegaki, acting as high priestess, holds the Olympic torch in a rehearsal for the lighting ceremony. The Olympic flame was lit in Ancient Olympia in Greece on Thursday, in a solemn ceremony filled with mystery and tradition that signals the final countdown to the start of this year’s summer Games in London. © AFP Aris Messinis

These are two mysteries about Cameroon and South Africa that emerged while I was writing an op-ed “Olympics gives opportunity to teach kids about global issues” (link coming).

Mystery 1: Cameroon’s greatest Olympian defects

Consider that Cameroon’s only individual gold medal winner ever, two time gold medalist in the triple jump Francoise Mbango Etone, will be representing France at the 2012 games.

Why would she switch countries?
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Olympics-Biography Exploration

Why does NBC’s Olympic page show these athletes are the most popular? (click on picture to enlarge it)



The purpose of this exercise is to help students explore athletes from other countries and use the athletes as a basis to better appreciating the life circumstances in those countries as well as help connect them to critical questions related to global issues.  Students will also pick up skills in navigating the web.

First using the NBC image, ask students why these athletes are pictured?  Note the countries they come from…which should be something the students notice. One athlete isn’t from the United States–why do they think he made the list?  Note the clothing advertisement of Ryan Lochte reinforces the same message (and he’s one of the most popular).   You can also notice sports that are listed and how that compares with all the sports at the Olympics and why other sports aren’t listed.  You can also see if the list has changed http://www.nbcolympics.com/athletes/index.html.  Presumably popular here is based on clicks.

You might then explore what it means to be popular?  How does that work at school?  How does it feel when you’re not popular?

Now segway into the activity.

How do you think an athlete who has worked hard, but hasn’t gotten that recognition would feel if you tied to learn about him or her and even rooted them on?

The Olympic page for the 2012 games has information on all the athletes which can be searched by the athlete’s surname, by country, or by sport.


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