Jackie's IOA Journal: Settling In

What a great day today! The weather is excellent! Really hot and sunny, but a nice breeze so it isn’t uncomfortable. Perfect for the opening ceremonies this morning in Olympia. It was a beautiful event with readings and wreaths laid at the stele of Pierre de Coubertin, renovator of the Modern Olympic Games, and at the commemorative monument of John Ketseas and Carl Diem, pioneers of the International Olympic Academy.

I also sent a few postcards home and they were stamped with a commemorative seal made especially for the 51st session of young participants and it will only be used today. Tomorrow it will be destroyed. Hopefully the postcards make it home eventually (since there are strikes in Greece and Canada right now), but if not they also stamped an envelope for me.

Last night I moved into my room and unpacked. My roommate is Pirkko from Finland. She is very nice, lives near the arctic circle and was a cross-country skier. Our room is a decent size and we have a private shower & bathroom, plus air conditioning. We have to keep the door closed at all times due to various insects, and we have to check our bed and shoes for snakes, scorpions & centipedes before we use them! There was a giant grasshopper in our room last night and we managed to get it out of our room without killing it. Humanitarianism is an Olympic value and I`m sure it extends to non-threatening wildlife.

We also had a dance class today and I learned both a Russian and Swedish folk dance. It was very fun and pretty simple to pick up. Most of the participants were there, so it was a very full class. I am definitely going to that again tomorrow. There are sports later too – I signed up for basketball & table tennis. The 90th ranked women’s player in the world is here along with many other ranked men & women table tennis players – I am going to get smoked!

The meal times are a bit different here. Breakfast is at 7:30, lunch at 1pm & dinner at 8pm. Good thing I have snacks. They play music over big speakers outside at 7am as a wake up call. It was nice enough music today, very peaceful, but I think it changes every day, so we’ll see what we get tomorrow.

This afternoon we heard a lecture on the establishment of the National Olympic Academies and their role in Olympic Education. The presentation was given by Professor Maria Bulatova of the Ukraine and it was very good. Only a thirty-minute presentation and there was an hour of questions afterwards. Ukraine seems to be doing a lot for their athletes and their country in the way of education with many great publications. Canada also has many great programs and I’ve been telling everyone here about them. Especially all of the teachers who love the online resources at http://olympicschool.ca.

I have also learned that the macarena is universally known and that you don’t need translation services for a smile, laughter or applause!

Be sure to check in again Thursday as we will be travelling to visit the site of the ancient Olympic Games and I can’t wait to share that experience and a few photos too.