The Olympics are now underway, and we are eager spectators of every thrilling minute! We've saved some of our favorite photos from the first few days in London. View below the athletes battling for Olympic gold, giving their all in practice and competition. I include the official "serious" captions for each photo, but you can have fun creating your own captions in the Comments.
German diver Sascha Klein doing a cannonball into the Olympic swimming pool. . . Well, actually, that might be a lie. He's probably doing something much harder than a cannonball.
Jana Berzko-Marggrander trying to tie her leg to her arm with that pretty ribbon. . . . or maybe she is performing her Rythmic Gymnastics routine.
A soccer ball miraculously explodes out of Honduras player Alfredo Mejia's head while Zakaria Labyad from Morrocco looks confused about this strange event. . . OK, I admit I totally made that up.
Brazil vs. Great Britain in Round 1 of a new Olympic event for 2012: Crazy Hat Wrestling. (Um, I don't need to tell you that's not really an Olympic event, do I?)
While the Olympic Games continue, leave YOUR captions to these photos in the Comments.
— Sonja, STACKS Staffer
I don't want you to think I really swim a mile - or even half a mile - every day, as I did for a time when I was at school (well, every weekday, pretty much). I still enjoy swimming but my Olympic ambitions did not last long. I got as far as swimming for my (smallish) town, was beaten by the girl from Castleford, and that was pretty much it. Even if I'd had the talent, I don't think I'd ever have had the resolve and determination to do all that training day after day.
Like many others, I'm currently enjoying the Olympic Games and especially the swimming - marvelling at the performances, the dedication, the sportsmanship and the articulate interview responses of these inspirational youngsters.
My swimming ambitions fizzled out long ago but I do still have ambition of a kind, at least where my writing is concerned. In these last few weeks - a time of reflection following the sad and sudden death of my father - I've been trying to work out what ambition means, if anything, when you reach the age of 57. What exactly do I hope to achieve by all this writing I do every day? Is it really just a hobby, like going for an early morning swim or dabbling my feet (when I get the chance) in the sea? No, I think I'm fuelled by something more powerful than that - but what am I pointing myself towards?
I thought I was aiming to earn enough from my books (some hope?) to buy myself a little seaside retreat. But, as it turns out, my wonderful father, who never earned a high salary in his life but never spent much either and invested wisely, has left me enough to make this dream come true. So, all being well, I will have my seaside hideaway, which I hope to share with family and friends. But where does that leave my writing ambitions? Intact, I'm sure of that, but the question remains - why I am working so hard?
It's not for fame, I know that much. I'm old enough to know that fame is not what Rosalies like best (not this one, anyway). Not that I've ever experienced it, but you know what I mean. I hate attention, being stared at, having my photo taken, being expected to behave in certain ways and having things to live up to. Nor is it for money, since I'm also old enough to know that fortunes bring troubles of their own.
I suppose it all boils down to wanting to write the best books I can - and wanting people to read them. I think my deepest ambition is to go on being active, both mentally and physically, for as long as I possibly can. And never to stop trying something new, especially where my writing is concerned.
Alongside that is a wish to be part of something wonderful - something that involves inspiring young people both to read and write. When I hear youngsters enthusing over books - and when I see them having a go at writing for themselves - it makes me happier than just about anything else. Yes, of course it's extra special if they like my
books and engage with my
characters, but, leaving ego aside, to be part of the tradition (beautifully enacted in that Olympic opening ceremony) of writing for children and YA - is a wonderful privilege. So I guess my ambition has to be to try to find better ways to connect with my readers through my books, and maybe to get some children reading who might not otherwise have thought of it. And to try to support, as well as be supported by, other writers, teachers, librarians, publishers, etc, who are doing the same. Not very original, perhaps, but enough to keep me going for as many years as I have left!
So I will continue to write my daily mile, and try to keep up the swimming too.
Native American Athletes to Compete in the London 2012 Olympics
By Cheryl Cedar Face · 07/27/2012
From: American Indian Report
Indian Country has an extra reason to celebrate today’s opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics: four Native American women will be competing for a medal in London.
The women are competing one hundred years after Jim Thorpe won two gold medals at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. If they win, they will join Billy Mills (Oglala Sioux), Duke Kahanamoku (a Native Hawaiian), and Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox), as Native American medalists.
Mary Killman, a member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma, will be competing in the Synchronized Duet Technical swimming event. She and her partner Mariya Koroleva qualified by placing 7th at the Federation Internationale de (FINA) Olympic Games Qualification tournament.
Mary Spencer, First Nation Ojibway, will be competing in the 75-kilogram middleweight boxing event for Team Canada in women’s boxing Olympic debut. Spencer has been hailed as one of Canada’s best bets for Olympic gold. According to her official website, Spencer is a three-time world champion and an eight-time national champion.
Tumua Anae, a Native Hawaiian, will be competing as the goalie for the U.S National Water Polo team. She began training with the National Team in 2010. Anae recorded sixteen saves at the 2012 FINA World League Super Final.
Adrienne Lyle, 27, is one of the youngest American dressage riders to compete in the Olympics. Lyle is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She earned a place on the American team after placing in the top four at the U.S. Equestrian Federation Dressage Festival of Champions and USEF Dressage Olympic Selection Trials on June 16th.
All four women are distinguished athletes competing not only for their countries, but for their Indigenous nations. Be sure to watch out for their events!
Filed under: culture
, Diversity Issues
Tagged: American Indianas
It’s Olympics time! Have you all been glued to your televisions and various electronic devices for the last 5 days? Or, conversely, have you been dodging your televisions and electronic devices, trying to avoid spoilers?
Either way, the Olympics are one of my favorite things. And while it’s tons of fun rooting for all the current big names (Michael Phelps! Kerri Walsh! Gabby Douglas!) it’s also worth spending a few minutes remembering some great Olympic athletes from the past who paved the way. Here are three to start with:
1. Sammy Lee (Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds): Diver Sammy Lee was born on August 1, 1920 in Fresno, California. Growing up, Sammy was barred from the public pool six out of seven days of the week because he was not white; despite that, Lee became a world-class diver and at the 1948 Olympic Games in London, became the first Asian American to win a gold medal. There’s a great picture of Sammy Lee, now 91, in this now-and-then piece on athletes from the last London Olympics.
2. Jim Thorpe (Jim Thorpe’s Bright Path): Jim Thorpe is often described as one of the greatest athletes of the twentieth century. He was born in 1887 to a Pottowatomie mother and Sac/Fox father, and was sent to an Indian boarding school when he was very young. He eventually began playing football and running track under the eye of the famous coach Pop Warner at Carlisle Indian School, and in 1912 won gold medals in the Pentathlon and Decathlon at the summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden.
3. Duke Kahanamoku (Surfer of the Century): Born in Hawaii, Duke Kahanamoku started off as a surfer and learned how to swim in the warm waters of the Pacific ocean. While swimming in the ocean one day, he was discovered by an attorney named Bill Rawlins who thought he could make Duke a star. Rawlins coached Duke all the way to the 1912 Olympics in Sweden. Duke later competed in the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium and 1924 Olympics in Paris, France. In all, he won three gold medals, two silver medals, and one bronze, and held the record as the fastest swimmer in the world for twelve years.
It’s heartening to see so many countries this year bringing female athletes as part of their delegations for the first time – here’s hoping that decades from now there will be a whole new set of athletes we can celebrate who have broken records inside and outside the stadium!
Filed under: Summer
Tagged: Add a Comment
Oscar Pistorius: first double amputee runner at the Olympic Games!
I'm sure by now you all know about the 2012 Olympics taking place in London this week. But do you know about the Paralympic Games? They will take place immediately following the close of the Olympic Games. "Para" is the Greek word meaning "beside," used to emphasize how the two Games exist side-by-side. Paralympians are athletes with physical disabilities (such as vision impairment, limb deficiency, or intellectual impairment) that would otherwise prevent them from equally competing with other athletes. They compete in the same sport events (swimming, volleyball, rugby, archery, etc.) as other athletes, but in their own league.
Meet a couple of amazing Paralympians:
- Natalie Du Toit
At 17 years old, she had to have her left leg amputated after getting hit by a car on her way home from swim practice. In 2008, Natalie didn’t just compete in the Paralympics. She made history by becoming the first amputee ever to qualify for the Olympic Games! She swam in the 10-kilometer open water event without any kind of artificial limb, just her 2 arms and 1 leg!
- Oscar Pistorius a.k.a. "Blade Runner" and "the fastest man on no legs"
When he was only 11 months old, he had to have his legs amputated halfway between his knees and his ankles. He runs using specially made, J-shaped artificial lower legs. And he’s FAST! So fast that he has been selected to be a part of the 2012 South African Olympic team. He will be competing in the 400 meter and 4 x 400 meter relay races as the first double amputee runner at the Olympic Games!
Oscar, Natalie, and all the Paralympic athletes prove that disabled people are just as capable of accomplishing athletic feats as everyone else. As Oscar said in an interview with The New York Times Magazine, "Everyone has setbacks. I'm no different. I happen to have no legs. That's pretty much the fact."
Show your support for disabled athletes by cheering on Oscar Pistorious during his races on August 4 and August 9, and watching the Paralympics right after the Olympic Games end. Tell your friends to tune in, too. Let’s cheer on these remarkable people, and be encouraged by their stories of hard work and perseverance!
— En-Szu, STACKS Intern (a.k.a. MidnightMagic5)
Images courtesy London 2012
The Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games will be titled "A Symphony of British Music." While the details of the August 12th spectacle are still being kept super-secret, the organizers have said that they "will work with some of the country's most globally successful musicians, along with some of the industry's stars of tomorrow." There are TONS of rumors flying around – One Direction? Jessie J? QUEEN?
Personally, I would be excited to see the John Lennon tribute and Take That's performance of "Rule the World," my favorite song of all time (I really hope The Wanted make an appearance, too; I'm a huge fan)! Darcy Bussell, the famous British ballerina, will be dancing with 300 other members of the Royal Ballet in a grand performance while the Olympic torch is put out. I can't wait for that, either!
So, I want to know. What rumors are you hoping are true? More importantly, what's YOUR dream lineup? Would you have a laser light show, flying acrobats, holograms, colored mist, fireworks? Share your Closing Ceremony wishlist in the Comments below!
— En-Szu, STACKS Intern (a.k.a. MidnightMagic5)
Image courtesy London 2012
It's been exciting, the Olympics - it really has. All those amazing human bodies everywhere you look, doing all those amazing things. But it's important to remember that not all competition is good for us. Let me tell you a story ...
Here’s how it is. I have an older sister. This is not unusual. Many people do. And many people find their older sisters irritating. But no one has an older sister who is as irritating as mine.
Because mine has done everything.
Let me give you an example of how irritating this can be.
When I was about to go to university, my sister came into my room and handed me a nice, leather-bound notebook.
“This is for you,” she said.
“Oh, thanks! Is it a journal, for me to write my experiences with boys and men in?”
“No. It’s a journal in which I’ve written my experiences with boys and men. Read it carefully, and you won’t have to make the same mistakes I did.”
“Oh. Well, what makes you think I won’t make my own, new mistakes?!”
My sister just smiled. “I think you’ll find I’ve already made them all.”
Well, I wasn’t having that. I went off to university and set out to make all the mistakes my sister hadn’t.
I thought, I’ll date my professors – I’ll date my room-mate’s brother – I’ll date the entire football team – I’ll date the janitor … but when I checked, I found that every bad idea I came up with had an entry in my sister’s journal already.
It was when I saw the sign called for recruits for the newly-formed Scottish Historical Re-enactment Group that I realised I’d cracked it!
This she hadn’t done, I was sure!
It turned out the Group consisted of two boys – Trevor (the president) and Greg (the co-president). They were wearing Braveheart wigs and cardboard swords.
“We don’t get a lot of girls,” said Trevor.
“You don’t get any girls,” said Greg.
“Yuckedy yuck. Look who’s talking.”
“At least I’ve had a date!”
“Snogging my cousin when she was unconscious doesn’t count as a date!”
Wow! I thought. This has got to be the best mistake EVER – my sister won’t be able to hold a candle to this!
“Anywho,” said Trevor. “We’d better get started. As you know, Historical Re-enactment Groups strive for absolute accuracy. To that end, we will be performing the Battle of Bannockbuns wearing nothing but our tattoos.”
“What?!” I said.
“In the historical nuddy. You, too, of course, Miss. But don’t worry, it’s not as if we’ll be really naked. Greg and I have painted ourselves with blue runic letters, just to make it decent, and we’d be more than happy to do the same for you, wouldn’t we, Greg? Greg?”
The co-president’s eyes had glazed over in a worrying fashion.
“Never mind him,” said Trevor. “Here, let me show you mine …”
As the president of the Scottish Historical Re-enactment Group began to strip off, I beat a hasty retreat …
I phoned my older sister as soon as I got in, and told her about my experience. I waited for her to say, “Well! Now that’s something that never happened to me!” but I waited in vain.
“Oh yeah. I did that,” came her voice, as smug and superior as ever. “I think you’ll find some pretty clear advice on the whole re-enactment thing, round about page 87. Look it up. Bye!”
No way, I thought to myself. No bloody way. She’s bluffing. She has to be! But she wasn’t. When I turned to page 87, there it was, my older sister’s warning, staring up at me in big, black, undeniable words:
BEWARE GEEKS BARING GLYPHS ...There are some competitions you are never going to win, and sometimes even taking part is a bad idea. Choose your battles, my friends. Choose your battles.
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By: Betsy Bird
Blog: A Fuse #8 Production
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, Barbara McClintock
, book trailers
, Clifford the Big Red Dog
, Harry Potter
, Louis CK
, Louise Yates
, Natalie Merchant
, Quentin Blake
, Video Sunday
, Add a tag
Finding videos of the Voldemort vs. Mary Poppins nuttiness online was surprisingly difficult. Finally I found a sort of recap of the Olympic 2012 opening ceremonies with reference to the rise of the great children’s literature villains (The Queen of Hearts, a Disney-esque Cruella de Ville, Captain Hook, and Voldemort) and their destruction at the hands of 30 Mary Poppins. “A sweeping rambling narrative” is as accurate an interpretation of what happened as any I could come up with. You’ll see the references at 1:00 in this video.
And since we’re already on the topic of Harry Potter (admittedly we are almost always on that topic) I sure hope you guys had a chance to see the first installment of Harry Potter and the Ten Years Later. I thought it was rather well done. Sort of makes me want to see the whole series now.
Thanks to Boing Boing for the link.
And now for a bloody effective book trailer. If the point of such trailers is to cause the reader an immediate and almost impossible to resist urge to pick up the book and read it, Leave Your Sleep as edited by Natalie Merchant (yes, that Natalie Merchant) now has that hold on me. It does not hurt that the songs featured here, paired with Barbara McClintock’s illustrations, are a delight. A sheer, as they say, delight.
Resist it if you can. And, might I say, this is one of the more logical uses of a celebrity getting involved in children’s literature that I’ve seen. I was seated next to Ms. Merchant at a BEA lunch and to my delight she turned out to be a huge Barbara McClintock fan long before this book. She said this, so I decided to quiz her by asking what she knew. Without missing a beat she rattled off everything from The Gingerbread Man to Adele and Simon to the Aesop’s Fables Ms. McClintock did years ago. Woman knows her stuff.
Okay, gear switch. Obviously if I’m showing a Louis CK video then this is not going to be workplace friendly, though honestly aside from one off-white phrase this is downright pure for Louis. When I read in a recent Entertainment Weekly article that he hated Clifford the Big Red Dog with a passion that eclipses the white hot sun I knew I had to find video proof. Proof I found, and I love how he pairs Clifford with Narnia. If Louis put out a CD that was just children’s book rants . . . okay, that’s a ridiculous dream. But a dream I now have!
And now Louise Yates interviews Quentin Blake. Because I can.
Thanks to Watch. Connect. Read. for the link!
And for the final off-topic video, awwwwww. Baby goats. Manic, remorseless baby goats. Sadly adorable.
Thanks to mom for the link.
I have been having so much fun watching the Olympics all week! Like last week, I captured some of my favorite moments to share with you, dear STACKERS, and included my official and very serious captions, because the Olympic Games are all about serious competition and intense rivalry.
Members of the U.S. women's Gymnastics team bite into their chocolate medals after winning the team competition. . . Wait, I've just been informed those are gold medals, not chocolate. Um, somebody should tell the athletes. A girl could break a tooth!
Maxim Rakov and Elmar Gasimov do a little break dancing for the Olympics spectators before their Judo match. Well . . . it's possible that maybe that IS the Judo match.
Tennis player Veronica Cepede Royg practices her Summoning Charm. "Accio tennis racket!" Why the racket was not in her hand to begin with is a mystery though. You'd think she would have just carried it with her to the match.
Members of the Bulgarian Volleyball team play Simon Says in the middle of their game against Australia. . . or acatually, that might be a lie. They might be waiting for a serve or something.
The U.S. women's Rowing team throw their coxswain into the water after winning the women's Eight event. . . Seriously. I'm not making this up. They really threw her in!
The Olympic Games continue for another glorious week! Yay! Leave YOUR captions to these photos in the Comments.