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GLOBAL ISSUES IN LANGUAGE
EDUCATION NEWSLETTER
April 2004 - Issue No. #53

Redesign the Olympics!

Issue #53 contains a number of activities that you might find useful for teaching about the Olympic Games:
  1. Why Teach about the Olympics?
  2. Teaching Ideas
  3. Teaching Resources (websites and books)
  4. Reading Passage: The Olympic Games
  5. Activity: Redesign the Olympics!
  6. Other activities: quizzes, games, quotes, world peace...
Also, don't forget to check out Issue #54 and Issue #55 for more ideas!

Redesign the Olympics!

(CLICK HERE to download this page as a pdf file)
The United Nations has asked you to re-design the Olympics to more faithfully reflect the Olympic ideals of world peace and international understanding. Look at the suggestions below and choose the best 5 ideas, writing the numbers 1 to 5 in the spaces. Then, explain your 5 choices and the reasons why you like them.
____ Continent Against Continent Make all team competitions 'continent-against-continent' instead of "country vs country" to de-emphasize national rivalry. That way, Koreans, Japanese and Chinese, for example, would all belong to one 'Asia team' and would have to live, train and cooperate together in order to win. ____ Multi-National Dream Teams Make all team sports more international by having players from different countries on the same team. Require each team to have members from every continent with no more than 1 member from any one country. Allow these "dream teams" to get together and practice for 6 months, then hold the Olympic events to see which team is best.
____ Eliminate National Anthems and Medals Eliminate national anthems and national flags during the award ceremonies. Focus on the winning athletes as representatives of humanity, rather than of particular nations. ____ Replace Violent Sports with Peace Sports Eliminate all violent Olympic events such as boxing, wrestling, judo, fencing and shooting. Replace these with peaceful sports and games which emphasize friend-ship, teamwork, trust and cooperation.
____ Global Education for Olympic Athletes Introduce a global education curriculum for all participants who wish to take part in the Olympic Games. This should include special courses on world issues and on the countries and cultures of their fellow competitors. Give a test which all athletes must pass in order to join the games. ____ Demonstrate Sports from Local Cultures Add demonstration sports from local, indigenous and traditional cultures so that people can learn about the rich variety of sports and games in the world. Introduce Australian aborigine sports such as the boomerang for the Sydney Olympics, for example, or have a sumo event for Japan.
____ Hold Events in Multiple Countries Use multiple sites in different countries to make each Olympics a "shared" event like the Japan-Korea World Cup. Include poorer nations that normally can't afford to host the Olympics. This would enable spectators to see a wider range of cultures and countries while enjoying the events. For example, you could hold track and field events in Kenya, team sports such as volleyball in Venezuela, swimming in Finland and cycling in India. ____ Non-National Uniforms Do away with national uniforms and substitute costumes created by fashion designers around the world. These could be designed around a theme chosen for each Olympics (e.g. peace, the environment) and emphasize styles from different cultures.
____ New Opening Ceremony Change the Opening Ceremony so that athletes enter the stadium with others in the same event, not with people from the same country. That way, all the swimmers would enter together, all the gymnasts together and all the soccer players together. ____ Socially Responsible Athletes Select Olympic athletes not just for athletic accomplishments, but also for their actions as global citizens. Make the Olympics more like modern universities which emphasize not only grades but also community service and volunteer spirit. Have TV stations focus on stories about socially responsible sports heroes (a weightlifter who works for human rights, the soccer team which raised $1 million for AIDS research) instead of the usual stories about who defeated who or which nation has the most medals.
____ Invent New Global Issue Sports Add new events to the Olympics to raise awareness about some of the many world problems which face our planet. Examples could include events such as Olympic land mine clearing, team litter pick-ups, competitive rescue operations, group tree-planting races, oil spill clean-ups...
Kip A. Cates, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori City, JAPAN 680-8551
E-mail: kcates@gilesig.org Work Tel/Fax: 0857-31-5650
Website: http://www.gilesig.org
Newsletter: www.gilesig.org/newsletter