Olympic pageantry, tradition and politics | Gateway Beacon

The rhythm of the drum starts boom, boom, boom. The cymbals crash alternately. Then the music swells to seven notes in E flat major, Ba-ba-ba-BAH-BAH. This is the brass and percussion band called “The Bugler’s Dream”.

You probably recognize it as the Olympic theme song. This is not the official Olympic anthem, but the music used on American television channels to signal that the Games are taking place. Not just any games, but the long-awaited games every four years – the Olympics, now the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.

I LOVE the Olympics like only a self-proclaimed, non-athletic fan can. It’s a major highlight for me every two years. I like everything – bright-faced youngsters and grizzled old veterans. I love the opening and closing ceremonies. I love up close and personal interviews (we don’t watch them because Dennis doesn’t like them.) But I want to know what the athlete had for breakfast and what time his mom picks him up from the school for training. I like to hear the national anthems at medal ceremonies. I delight in everything.

We started watching years ago; I believe our first year was 1988. We had friends who recorded the Olympics for us on VHS tapes and they sent them to us in Kenya. Our TV was programmed for European broadcasts and not for the United States. Don’t ask me what the difference is. But the most concrete version was – VHS tapes were played only without any sound. That didn’t stop us. We watched all the tapes made by our friends. Thanks to the friends of Northside Christian Church in Columbus. It’s been a love story ever since.

Thursday night I curled up on the couch with the DVR running so I could skip the commercials. I will give some general impressions of the opening ceremonies. How crazy were those 30-foot-long glow sticks that the dancers waved to make the flower open? I didn’t really understand why the Winter Olympics started with the spring symbol of a flower. It was interesting to learn about the Chinese calendar and the 24 divisions of the year. Gaming technologies surely come as no surprise to anyone who knows what the Chinese are capable of.

Ninety nations (one report says 84) marched in the parade, a tradition since 1908. Some sportsmen step out of the parade, but I think it would be a supercharger to get in with all your teammates and other competitors. The parade always begins with the Greek team – a tribute to the Olympics originating in Greece. Their uniforms were the traditional blue that we all associate with Greece – the blue of the sea.

As is the tradition, other countries enter according to the alphabetical system of the language of the host country. I didn’t understand everything, but something about the number of lines in the Chinese symbol, so the order seemed random to me. The penultimate country in the parade is the next host country. Last is always the host country – a sea of ​​red this time around. One activity that amazes me is the dance that the host country does to welcome the parade. The dancers flank both sides of the road and their feet are in constant motion as everyone enters. How long can you dance, I ask. I admit that I did not last very long to watch the parade. I can go back and finish it later.

Haiti and Peru have only one athlete and a small delegation of coaches. They will participate in bobsleigh events and also alpine skiing.

Did you know the island nation of Jamaica has a Winter Olympics team? The team is pumped, according to reports, fielding a four-man bobsled team.

A diplomatic boycott is organized by the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada in light of human rights violations by the host country. Interestingly, China chose Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a cross-country skier, to light the Olympic cauldron. According to state media, Yilamujian has Uyghur heritage. Most people see this decision as a slap in the face. To say it’s a shame is an understatement. The Olympics are a time when the best nations can compete and forget about geopolitics for a few days. As the Games progress, it looks like irregularities could allow the Chinese to win plenty of medals in 2022. The final tally might surprise us all.

Mary Reid is a Haralson County resident who dreams of writing a memoir about her family’s time in Africa.

Mary Reid is a Haralson County resident who dreams of writing a memoir about her family’s time in Africa.

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