The Student News Site of Black River Falls High School

BRFHS Paw Print

The Student News Site of Black River Falls High School

BRFHS Paw Print

The Student News Site of Black River Falls High School

BRFHS Paw Print

Remembering Olympics: Past and Present

With the Olympics at the forefront of television coverage right now, I have been thinking about all the memories of the Olympic Games I have acquired throughout my life.
In Mrs. Druckery’s kindergarten class at Third Street Elementary, the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, were a fascinating thing. We learned how to say hello (konichiwa) and goodbye (sayonara) in Japanese.

The gymnasium was even decked out in Olympic attire with hula hoops of various colors duct-taped to the balcony, arranged to look like the logo of the Olympics. In Mr. Olson’s physical education class, the Olympics were a perfect opportunity for us to partake in our own Olympic Games, involving obstacle courses and relays. The obstacle courses consisted of crawling through tunnels and strategically walking across “hot lava”, events that apparently have since been omitted from the Olympics.
You can bet that as a warm-up for these activities, Mr. Olson had us doing the legendary “Nordic Track” exercise. If you were not one of the lucky ones that got to attend Third Street Elementary and have Mr. Olson for a teacher, you’ll have to ask one of your Third Street friends to demonstrate how the Nordic Track works. The Nordic Track is a cardio-vascular exercise machine and is essentially an elliptical treadmill commonly used in home gyms. It is important to emphasize that the Nordic Track is a piece of equipment that is absolutely necessary to carry out the exercise. The humorous aspect of this is that as wealthy as the school district was during the late 1990s, Third Street Elementary did not own a Nordic Track for every student in gym class. Instead, what you got was a class of 25 hyperactive children attempting to run in place on a treadmill, without the use of the treadmill. This was perhaps my first introduction to moonwalking.
Although not exactly a memory because I was barely two years old at the time and did not discover this until a few years ago, the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994 inspired a famous sketch from Saturday Night Live, a favorite show of mine. The sketch consists of a figure skating routine featuring SNL-great Chris Farley and Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.

Jumping ahead six years after the Lillehammer Olympics were the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, in 2000. Needless to say, the Sydney Olympics were the first Olympics of the new millennium.

Much to the dismay of Armageddon theorists throughout the world, nothing ended at the turn of the century except the bologna arguments that Y2K would be lights-out for everyone. As a seven-year-old, I remember going to Wal-Mart with my dad on the morning of Friday, December 31, 1999, to buy a flashlight and batteries in case the electricity went out at the turn of the century.

But anyways, back to the Olympics. In a men’s basketball match in Sydney between the USA and France, the USA’s Vince Carter made one of the most famous dunks in basketball history. After getting the ball off a steal, the 6’6″ Carter drove to the basket, with 7’2” Frédéric Weis in his way. Carter jumped, spread his legs in midair, scraped Weis’ head on the way up, and dunked. It was amazing.

The Summer Olympics of 2008 in Beijing were the most memorable ones of my lifetime. In 2008, we had Michael Phelps, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin and Usain Bolt. What I remember the most about Beijing was Michael Phelps winning an unprecedented eight gold medals in various swimming events and Usain Bolt’s epic finish to a record-breaking 100-meter dash.

The unique thing about memory is that everyone’s is different. I encourage you to leave your Olympic memories as comments to this column. Who knows, maybe you’re not the only one that remembers that minor detail from the past!

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    MorganMar 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I also remember the 1996 olympics from Mrs. Druckery’s green group class. I distinctly remember wearing slippers at school to mimic the Japanese culture.

    And I don’t think that any Third Street student that had Mr. Olson could ever forget the Nordic Track 🙂

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Remembering Olympics: Past and Present