Thursday, July 21, 2016

Olympic Dreams in South America

In the Copacabana bairro of beautiful Rio de Janeiro, I am getting ready for the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony!  I have waited until now to make any announcement about my involvement for rather selfish reasons.  I needed some "calm before the storm" this time around.  But I am super excited to share some of the Brazilian culture (or what I experience of it) with you all over the next several weeks.  In case you don't know, I have joined the performance operations team for the ceremonies, which will be incredible.  So don't forget to tune in to watch them on the evening of August 5!

I'll try to not be detained like I was in Russia!  Click here to reread that amazing journey of the making of the 2014 Sochi Opening Ceremony.
The view from the top of my building here in Rio!
Before I get started - please check out my Olympic website, to learn all sorts of facts about the ceremonies that I've put together over the years.  Best of all, it's the largest collection of ceremony video online.  It's always a work in progress, but if you're crazy for these gigantic artistic events like me, you'll love it!

In the meantime, I suppose we should start with a little lesson on Olympic semantics.  I'm looking at you, Bob Costas!

Many people are already incorrectly calling these games the "Summer Olympics."  Instead, the correct name for the Rio 2016 Olympics is rather archaic, "The Games of the XXXI (thirty-first) Olympiad," but they're called this for good reason.  It is currently WINTER in Rio.  Since the seasons of the Southern Hemisphere are opposite of the Northern Hemisphere, it makes it very confusing for everyone down here when you see "Summer Olympics" on a commercial.

I first landed in Santiago, Chile where it was a brisk 34 degrees.  Everyone was wearing winter coats and pants.  Where I, in my brilliance, left 100 degree Kansas in shorts and a t-shirt.  For what it's worth, it's in the 70s and 80s here in Rio since it is along the coast - perfect weather, if you ask me.

The cool, damp, diesel-filled air of Rio reminds me remarkably of Sochi.  And Sochi was confusing enough for that matter - it was a city in a subtropical climate with palm trees hosting a Winter Olympics!

K-S-U in Sochi - with palm trees!?
30 minutes from there, is a winter wonderland in Rosa Khutor
In fact, these aren't the first seasonally misplaced games.  The first modern "Summer" Olympics were held in Spring.  The Games of London in 1908 ended on Halloween and the St. Louis Games in 1904 ended the day before Thanksgiving!

Prior to 1994, both the Winter and Summer Olympics occurred during the same year. This format helped to allow for one of the strangest years in the Olympic movement, 1956.

 When horses were barred from entering Australia for the Melbourne 1956 Summer Olympics, the IOC added a full-fledged Olympics (ceremony, parade of nations, torch relay, and all) just for the equestrian events in Stockholm, Sweden earlier in the year.  You can check out the 1956 Equestrian Olympic Opening Ceremony here!  That meant that in 1956, there were THREE Olympic Games!  The Winter Games occurred in Italy, during Winter of course. Then the Equestrian Games occurred in June in Sweden and the Summer Games in November and December in Australia; both during their hemisphere's Spring.  Craziness!

Cauldron Lighting of the 1956  Equestrian Games
But to bring us full circle, Rio not only will be the first South American games, but they will also be the first "Summer" games completely contested during Winter.

I'm looking forward to new adventures, tidbits, and pictures to share with you all of the course of the next few weeks!

"Summer" Olympics held outside of Summer
1896 Athens - Spring (6-15 April)
1900 Paris - Spring, Summer, & Fall (14 May - 28 October)
1904 St. Louis - Summer & Fall (1 July - 23 November)
1908 London - Spring, Summer, & Fall (27 April - 31 October)
1920 Antwerp - Spring & Summer (20 April - 12 September)
1924 Paris - Spring & Summer (4 May - 27 July)
1956 EQUESTRIAN GAMES Stockholm - Spring (11 June - 17 June)
1956 Melbourne - Spring (22 November - 8 December)
1964 Tokyo - Fall (10-24 October)
1968 Mexico City - Fall (12-27 October)
1988 Seoul - Summer & Fall (17 September - 2 October)
2000 Sydney - Winter & Spring (15 September - 1 October)
2016 Rio - Winter (5-21 August)


  1. Thanks for sharing Bryan. I am looking forward to following your newest adventure. Have a great time.

  2. I agree! Thanks for sharing!!! This will be such an added bonus for all of us that love the Olympics! Can't wait to see the ceremonies! Have fun!

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