The Expat Olympics

Many, many years ago (well it was really only 12 years but anything before kids feels like it happened in the Middle Ages) I was in a country other than Australia during the Olympics.  Two other countries to be precise – Kenya and Tanzania. Or you could argue it was 3 as Zanzibar likes to think of itself as a different country.

So, anyhow, I was out of Oz for a fair chunk of the Sydney Olympics so all of my Sydney memories are tied up with my Africa memories.  I learnt of Cathy Freeman’s gold medal on a bus in Tanzania, and I attempted to explain Bananas in Pyjamas during the Closing Ceremony to the bewildered staff at our hotel in Zanzibar.  I’m pretty sure they are still puzzled over that.

But I never really watched the Olympics from Africa like I have watched them in Singapore.

Intellectually I knew that all countries tailor their Olympic coverage to the tastes of their populace. Australians like swimming, cycling, diving and athletics. We like them even more if Australians are competing, and even more if we are winning.

Singapore likes table tennis, badminton, table tennis and table tennis. Yes, table tennis. And they won 2 bronze medals, so they are pretty darn good at it.

I have tried, valiantly, to think of my Olympic viewing as an exercise in cultural differences but…. but..

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4 thoughts on “The Expat Olympics

  1. I keep being somewhere else for the Olympics too. And find myself cheering on two teams – but always Australia if we are in it. Thankfully at least US and Australia has similar taste in events, although their coverage is as fantastically biased as Australia’s so you would barely know any other country was competing.

    • And you would never know the US coverage wasn’t live!! They put it in their prime time and almost ‘pretend’ its live. Sooo annoying. The number of times my husband explained to people in bars that the coverage they weren’t seeing was live – 3. The number of times someone tried to tell him that no – London had changed it’s timing and was running events on US East Coast time – 1. Still – 1. When he then explained to them it was 3am in London and did the guy really think they could fill the athletics stadium with 80,000 people at that time that the guy got out his ‘smart phone’ to confirm.

      • Awww….bless a country that assumes the rest of the world changes the timing of their day to suit their television programming!

        So, all media must’ve been complicit in this?

  2. Haha a little late but this is so funny! I was a Singaporean watching the olympics in a foreign country for the first time (Australia to be exact) and couldn’t understand the hype over sports that I had never watched in my life. (Rowing, indoor cycling…)

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