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The Olympic Spirit: A Dual Identity



Joined: 2/16/2014
Posts: 2
puffdaddy
The first time I paid attention to the Olympics was when I was twelve years old, when my father told me that China would hold the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Having ancestral roots in China myself, I was naturally interested in this year’s Olympics and made a point to pay attention to the competitions this year.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee to two Chinese immigrants, I was quite unfamiliar with my home nation’s culture, and honestly did not feel much of anything for being Chinese I was more American than Chinese, preferring a cheeseburger over wonton soup and Saturday morning cartoons over Chinese Cartoons of Son Wukong. I was unsure to be proud or ashamed of my “home country” since I did not visit often. At the time, I only had made one visit to China, and that was during kindergarten so my memory required a little jogging.
Late summer that same year, the Olympics started and my family and I sat down to watch the opening ceremonies. I remember being astounded by the acrobatics, fireworks, and the lighting of the torch. The architecture of the Bird’s Nest intrigued me and I wondered how the architects built such a threadbare structure without it falling down and collapsing. However the most impressive pat of the competition was when I saw the sea of moving blocks. The precise timing and coordination made me wonder how the Chinese or anyone for that matter had the technology to implement some sort of device beneath the ground to control all these blocks. The truth however, was far more fantastical. I was amazed when a sea of people greeted me on television from below the blocks showing that the event was not created by electric work, but by human brain and man power. This performance demonstrated to me at the time the strong work ethic and determination of the culture of my roots, something I began to feel a part of.
Although the Olympics did much to reinforce my ties with my Chinese heritage, it did not make me forget the patriotism I felt to my country. It matter of fact it reinforced it. Watching Michael Phelps break records in swimming and win an unprecedented amount of medals was a testament to me of the power of an individual that America is well known for.
The Olympics helped me realize a duality pertaining to my identity, being born to first generation immigrants to America. Watching the closing ceremonies, I learned to appreciate both aspects of my culture, and accept them as things that shape my identity even today.
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