February 20, 2014
Terrible violence is happening in Kiev as the Ukrainian government (closely aligned with Moscow) comes down hard on protestors who want closer ties to Europe. According to CNN (reporting information from “the protesters’ medical service”) the current death toll may be as high as 100 civilians with another 500 wounded.
Ukrainian skier Bogdana Matsotska (Graham Dunbar/AP)
Today, two members of the Ukrainian Olympic team, Alpine skier Bogdana Matsotska and her father and coach Oleg Matsotskyy, withdrew from the Games in support of the protestors and returned home.
“We wanted to wear black armbands to mourn the people who have died in Kiev, but the IOC told us it was not allowed,” Bogdana said. “In these conditions it is simply not possible to compete. We don’t feel comfortable here and we can’t compete.” Her father wrote on his Facebook page that he and his daughter were returning home “…in solidarity with the fighters on the barricades… and as a protest against lawless actions made towards protesters, the lack of responsibility from the side of the president and his lackey government, we refuse further performance at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.”
I greatly admire them both for prioritizing the well-being of their countrymen over a chance to win a gold medal.
Teachable Moment: The choices we make in life define who we are.
February 14, 2014
Sometimes we’re down
Jeremy Abbott came down so hard on his right hip he just lay there, his music weaving on without him. But the crowd of Russians who adore skaters and know a thing or two about overcoming adversity would not abandon him.
They clapped in unison. They cheered encouragement. They sent a tidal wave of compassion across the ice aimed at the broken skater pressed against the wall. All that love, with its powerful mojo, washed over Jeremy and he stirred, got to his feet and glided forward into the hearts of the crowd. He skated the rest of his program, through the pain, like an angel in love.
Sometimes we are lifted so high
When he took his final bow, the crowd stood and roared their approval. Jeremy Abbott graciously savored his Olympic moment. Who needs a medal when you have this?
Teachable Moment: Life knocks us down. Love raises us up.
February 8, 2014
I’m delighted to be blogging daily with the awesome #OlympicMoms team (through February 24th). Also kinda proud I managed to stay awake for my first assignment and watch every minute of last night’s opening ceremonies. I loved the magic of it!
Unlike some of my colleagues who’ll be encouraging parents to prepare healthier foods, play with our kids more and exercise daily in order to jump-start a year of health and wellness within our families, my angle on the Sochi games: tips and teachable moments to help your child expand his mind and his character. Which brings me to Tip#1 of the XXII Olympiad: If you really really want to stay up late for something special, take a nap. Bonus tip: This works for kids too!
For most people the Olympics are about bringing home the gold for your country, but for this bibliophile and history geek, it’s a golden opportunity to learn about the culture of the host nation. Want to stretch your child’s mind and your own as well? Take some of these Russian cultural “learning prompts” from the Opening Ceremonies. Team up with your child for an internet scavenger hunt. Have fun learning together!
- What is a troika?
- What are the letters and sounds of the cyrillic alphabet?
- What made Peter the Great so great?
- Find a poem by Pushkin and read it together.
- Find video from the Russian Ballet. Compare the dance “moves” to that of “hip hop.”
- What’s the story of Swan Lake? Find some the music, close your eyes then share what you “saw.” Get some paper and crayons/markers, continue listening to Swan Lake or chose the Nutcracker or something by Mussorgski or Rimsky-Korsikov (ah those Russian composers!) and draw whatever moves you.
- Bonus: Where in the world is Timor-Leste?
One teachable moment from last night. Everyone’s talking about the light failure of the 5th snowflake to transform into the 5th Olympic ring. Russian TV interrupted its broadcast and seamlessly inserted footage from the rehearsal where the lights performed perfectly, apparently so Russian viewers at home would only see a flawless performance. This got me thinking about what we teach our kids about making mistakes (and learning from them) vs the need to be perfect every time.
4 rings and a snowflake (Reuters)
See you tomorrow for Teachable Olympic Moments from Day 2.