If you have tuned into the NBC network this week, you have no doubt heard the daily countdown they mention, in preparation for their broadcasting of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, in Sochi, Russia. The poster shown in this photo of the 1948 Olympic Games is a reminder that we can all be thankful that such announcements can be made. That is because the 1948 games were the first ones to be held in 12 years. The Olympic Games were cancelled in 1940 and 1944 because of World War II. They were also cancelled in 1916, because of World War I. The photo shows the 5 intertwined rings, representing unity of the 5 inhabited continents---Africa, America, Asia, Oceania, and Europe. The colors---blue, yellow, black, green, red---were chosen because every nation has at least one of them in its national flag.
When a city wins the bid to host the Olympic Games, it usually means there will be a boom in construction, as new sporting venues have to be built to accommodate the influx of large crowds of fans who come to witness this gathering of athletes from around the world. The current promotions being done about the Sochi winter games make me recall my experience with the winter Olympic games in Vancouver, Canada in 2010 (which is where I took this photo of one of the hockey arenas used for those games).
Besides the thousands of spectators that witness an event in person, there will be millions of spectators around the world who will witness the event on television, and on-line streaming via the Internet.
Considering the proliferation of smart phones with Internet access, the number of "witnesses" via smart phones, may break the 2012 record of the Summer Olympics, which were said to be the most watched event in U.S. history!
Often, the elite athletes we witness on television may take on a "larger than life" persona. These "hockey players" in Vancouver, Canada, are an example of that!
If you ever have the opportunity to visit a city that is hosting the Olympic games, you will probably find that it is as much fun to enjoy all the "free" promotions going on throughout the host city, as it is to sit in on the actual event!
This mischievous hockey player on stilts, outside one of the venues, had swiped a young boys cap, and was making him look high up in the sky to try to find it!
There are always more people in town to witness the spectacle of the Olympic games, than there are tickets to an event, so large outdoor TV screens around the city keep the crowds updated on the latest competition results.
Likewise, there are all kind of performers and musicians to entertain the crowds between competitions. In keeping with the intertwined rings of the Olympic emblem, this dancer in Vancouver did some very fancy footwork with intertwined rings, while the band played behind her!
One witnesses an amazing variety of people when you are in a large crowd. On the day I took this photo, I was completely bundled up with several layers, from head to toe, while this young man seemed very comfortable with just his shorts, and "red maple leaf tattoos" to keep him warm!
I was particularly intrigued by the sport of curling, which was a part of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. It is definitely NOT something I had ever witnessed in Arkansas!
My mind recently went back to the photos I had taken at the Olympics because I was trying to think of a visual aid to one of the memory verses for my First Place 4 Health ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) class for the phrase "crowd of witnesses". However, when I re-read the verse, I realized I was using the wrong phraseology. The actual words in Hebrews 12:1 say "cloud of witnesses", and not "crowd of witnesses": "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." So, perhaps, this photo I took of the Olympic rings lit up on a barge in the Vancouver waterfront---completely surrounded by clouds---is a better visual aid for this verse. It is a reminder that even though we can't see them, the saints of heaven who have gone before us, are the witnesses to the race we are running here on earth. And they are cheering for us! If you would like to join in the cheering for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, just log on to www.olympic.org to find out how. It will give you "miles of smiles"!! Tricia