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The 2012 Olympics

Global Immersions - Thursday, August 02, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Games in London are in full swing! The world greatest competition, which started on July 27th and will continue until August 12th, features the best athletes from all over the world competing for both personal and national glory. While the competition is fierce, it’s also a time of worldwide camaraderie and a shared pride in the athlete’s abilities.  This is a great opportunity to share the Olympic tradition with your visitor! Many of Global Immersions current visitors are from China and Japan, and both countries are performing spectacularly in this year’s games. Here is a guide to the Olympic tradition in those countries, so next time you’re watching the games with your visitor you can really share the experience! 


Japan was first represented at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games by a two-man team in sprinter Yahiko Mishima and marathon runner Shizo Kanakuri. The country’s first Olympic medalists were in Tennis that year. Gymnast Takashi Ono is his country's most successful Olympian, winning five gold medals over three successive Olympic Games. Three Japanese cities have hosted the Winter Olympic Games; Tokyo in 1964, Sapporo in 1972 and most recently Nagano in 1998. Out of a total of 360 metals’s won during the country’s Olympic career, 92 have been awarded for artistic gymnastics, 65 in Judo and 62 in swimming. 

So far this year the real exciting competition for Japan  has been the artistic gymnastics, lead by three-time world champion Kohei Uchimura. His performance has solidified him as one of the best gymnasts in the world and added a gold metal to the one silver Japan had already won in an earlier gymnastics event. 



The host nation of the 2008 Olympic Games, the Chinese have had success in many sports since returning to the Olympic fold after an agreement was brokered by the IOC in 1979. While China has competed in part in a number of Olympic Games, the country’s first full competition was at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. In the first event of that year, shooter Xu Haifing won the men's free pistol to become the first Chinese to win gold. Gymnast Li Ning collected three gold medals, two silver and a bronze, making him the outstanding individual performer of the Games. Table tennis has been dominated by Chinese players since its introduction to the Olympic program. They won all four gold medals in Sydney 2000 and in Beijing 2008 they took every medal open to them. Out of a total of 365 metals awarded during China’s Olympic career, 51 have been in artistic gymnastics, 49 in diving, 43 in weightlifting and 41 in table tennis. 

At this year’s Olympics the world has been floored by 16 year old Ye Shiwen, who has won two gold medals in the swimming events of the 200 and 400 individual medley. In the 200 meter race Ye shattered the world record by more than a second and knocked five second seconds off her personal best in the final 50 meters of the race. 

If you have a visitor from another country, make sure to celebrate the Olympics with them! This is a great opportunity to really "Go Global" in appreciation of the world's best athletes. Share your stories of how you enjoyed the 2012 Olympics with Global Immersions!   

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