For the past couple of weeks, the world’s attention has been focused on Sochi, Russia, where the 2014 Winter Olympics took place. The events officially began on February 7 and ended on February 23, 2014. It was the first time Russia had hosted the winter games in its 22 year history. Recently LSI Boston sat down with four students to talk about the 2014 Winter Olympics. The following is a conversation between four students: Bruno (Brazil), Ramazan, (Turkey), Katerina “Kat” (Czech Republic) and Abdulaziz “Aziz” (Saudi Arabia).
What do the Olympics represent to you?
Katerina: “It represents people who have worked really hard to get there. The athletes are the best in the world.”
Aziz: “The Olympics represent another area besides politics and economics. It shows the ability of people who want to achieve their goals in the sports field.”
Ramazan: “It is an organization where people can show themselves.”
Bruno: “It’s not just for the athletes, it is for the countries.”
Are the Olympics important in your country?
Katerina: “I believe the Olympics are important in my country. The people like to watch and support the Czech athletes. If the athletes succeed and they win some medals, it brings the nation together and people are proud to be Czech.”
Aziz: “For some it is and for others it is not.”
Ramazan: “For Turkey it is not so important when I compare it to the World Cup. We are not so interested. The country’s population is young but we still aren’t interested in it.”
Bruno: “For my country the summer Olympics are very important. The winter Olympics are not so important. We only have 14 athletes in Sochi. But in general the Olympics are important. Normally the whole country watches it on TV. The next summer Olympics are in Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro!”
If you could participate in one event which would it be?
Katerina: “If I could participate, it would be in the opening ceremony. I’d like to organize the events, the programs. I could be useful.”
Aziz: “I would say soccer, but for the the winter games, any competition would be awesome.”
Ramazan: “For the winter I would want to participate in the snowboarding event because I like adrenaline!”
Bruno: “I would be a snowboarder…an extreme sport. Or I would do speed skating. It is beautiful.”
Do you prefer to watch the winter or the summer games?
Katerina: “Personally, I prefer to watch the winter Olympics because part of the winter Olympics is ice hockey. Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in the Czech Republic and it is my favorite too.”
Aziz: “The summer games because it is closer to my environment.”
Ramazan: “I prefer the summer Olympics because my country is better in the summer than in the winter.”
Bruno: “For me, of course I prefer the summer. I know the rules and I know the sports. I like to watch the winter sports because it is curious and different for me. But I prefer the summer Olympics.”
What is the best part of the Olympics?
Katerina: “The best part is the opening ceremony. And also the sports where the Czech athletes participate. To be honest I always watch ice hockey. If we beat Slovakia like we did yesterday, then I am very excited!”
Aziz: “In my opinion, the best part is the competition and allowing people to focus on the different sports.”
Ramazan: “I thought about the opening of the games. All nations from all over the world can stand side by side without fighting. This is my favorite part.”
Bruno: “The final moments of a game are the best. Everyone is looking, waiting, and expecting. It is an important moment for the fans, the athletes, and the country. The fans are crazy, and people are cheering.”
How can you relate the athlete’s dedication in training to the dedication required to learn English (or any language)?
Katerina: “In both you have to have the will to succeed and you have to work very hard.”
Aziz: “You have to plan and imagine. There is no magic You have to practice and practice until you reach your goal.”
Ramazan: “You have to practice. The athletes have to practice to be successful, and the same for English.”
Bruno: “For me you have to like the language or the sport. You have to practice every day. If you can speak another language or you are good at a sport it can open doors in your life.”
The Olympics games play an important role in the international community. It is not only a time for athletes to compete against each other for the coveted medals, but it is also a unique two weeks when athletes from all over the world meet and develop cross-cultural relationships. As our students note, the Olympics can serve as a great reminder to students learning English, or accomplishing any life goal, that to be successful one has to, plan, practice, work hard, and love what you do!