(finally, I concede – this is my last post on London2012)
Apparently there were 204 countries competing at the Olympics this year.
As I watched the Opening Ceremony, I did what many of my Facebook friends apparently also did – felt my jaw dropping further and further as I learned about the existence of countries of which I’d previously never heard.
Now, I am a world traveller. I am, if nothing else, a world traveller. I cheered for a significant percentage of those 204 countries because I had a personal connection with them: I’d been to many, and I had friends from even more of them.
Even so, there were quite a few countries that were new to me. Thankfully, watching the Olympics with my laptop on my lap (where it belongs), I came across the website www.listofcountriesoftheworld.com/. So as the Olympic nations came through, I could refer to this site to make sure I got the name right. Also, if I clicked on the name of a country, a handy page would come up entitled “5 Facts You Might Not Know.”
So, I learned, for example 5 new things about Nauru (not counting the fact that Nauru exists, which was in and of itself a new bit of information to me). One of the 5 facts about Nauru is, “Catching Noddy Terns is a traditional activity. The men stand on the beach and throw lassos at birds. The lasso is thrown in the air as a bird flies close. It then hits or drapes over the bird bringing it to the ground. The Noddy is then prepared to be eaten.” Pretty cool, huh?
I also learned that the Spratly Islands were named after Captain Richard Spratly and that Japan used some of the Spratly Islands as a submarine base during World War II. I also learned that the Spratly Islands exist.
On a more serious note, though, I want to express my sadness at the lack of a team for Kosovo. Apparently Kosovo has not been conceded the right to have an Olympic committee, because the United Nations have not yet recognised Kosovo as a country. This makes me very sad.
We’ve all mourned the fact that South Sudan doesn’t have an Olympic committee – yet – and praised the participation of a South Sudanese on the “Independent nations” team. I agree wholeheartedly with that, but I still think Kosovo should get to send a team, especially since it’s almost 4 years older than South Sudan.