Olympic Inburgering

The 2010 edition of the Winter Olympics is now finished. What on earth will we watch in the evenings? I’ve seen more ski jumping and cross-country skating that I ever have before. Watching the Eurosport channel’s coverage of the Olympics is much different from watching the NBC coverage in the US. You get to see whole competitions instead of just a few bits and pieces. On the other hand, sometimes you end up missing whole sports. One thing that they didn’t seem to focus on quite as much was speed skating. You have to understand that for the Dutch, not focusing on speed skating is like not focusing on hockey in Canada. Skating is huge here!

Even if you’re not Dutch, you probably heard about poor Sven Kramer’s disaster in one of the races when his coach pointed him into the wrong lane. Poor Sven! A nation was heart-broken! Even I felt bad for the guy. And yes, I did know who he was before the Olympics. That’s how famous he is here. I like to think of that as another step in my unofficial inburgering (integration).

Friday night, at the Potdeksel, the tv came on for the speed skating and snowboarding events in which the Dutch were taking place. Everyone stopped to watch. Nicolien Sauerbreij won gold in the women’s snowboard parallel giant slalom, giving the Dutch their 100th winter Olympic medal! Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well for the men’s team pursuit skating event. Worst of all, it came down to the Netherlands vs USA to see who would go to the finals. I was actually cheering for the Dutch team against the US team, even though it was the US team that eventually won the challenge. Surely, I must truly be integrating.

To be honest, I found myself somewhat removed from cheering for the US athletes in general. To be fair, that was the only time I was cheering against them, and there were plenty of times I wanted them to win. But I just didn’t feel a strong connection this time around. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the coverage I was watching was fairly neutral and not the big USA love-fest that I grew up watching. Perhaps it’s also because I’m trying to make my home here now. I’m not saying that we’ll never move back to the States, but it’s also not something that we’re honestly planning for the future, either.

Do I feel guilty for not feeling more patriotic? A bit. Mainly, I prefer to be multi-patriotic.

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7 thoughts on “Olympic Inburgering

    • I usually do cheer for any number of countries: Italy, US, UK/Scotland, and now the Netherlands, but in this particularly race, I truly did want the Dutch to win. Maybe it’s because the US had so many medals already. ;)

  1. I have to LOL at the US Olympic lovefest..my hubs always complains about i! He was quite happy to see stories on a few Dutch athletes in speed skating though :-)

    • Admittedly, I didn’t watch much of the NOS coverage of the Olympics, but they did seem to focus mainly on the Dutch athletes and events, so I guess every country is guilty of it to some degree. ;) I don’t miss Bob Costas, though. From what my friends were saying these past few weeks, he’s as annoying as ever! The other plus side of watching Eurosport was that I didn’t see all the tear-jerker stories about the athletes. Those always make me cry, which gets embarrassing.

  2. I felt the same. I was hard core NL this year. I was thrilled when Sven won, heartbroken when he didn’t and didn’t really care at all that Shani Davis didn’t win the 1500m. To be honest, if NL wasn’t competing I didn’t watch. I think you’re made to feel more connected to athletes here than in the US. In the US they’re still thought of as demi-gods I think. But good question – what will we watch now that it’s all over??

  3. You know I gotta say..I was all in for Holland this time around:) the more time I spend here the more disconnected I feel about the U.S. sometimes..Im still super proud ot be an american but like you said about making a home here now..Im doing the same.

    POOR Sven Kramer!! I could not believe it when I saw what happend! Im thinking he is going to continue to blow them away for years to come!

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