Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Modern Mom Chaunte Lowe Rises for the 2012 Olympics

Chaunte Lowe is an Olympic athlete in the sport of track and field. She is originally from Riverside, CA and currently resides in Decatur, GA. This year she qualifies for her third olympic team after winning the 2012 Olympic Trials, clearing 2.01m/6-7. Lowe competed in Athens and won a silver metal at the 2005 World Championships. Her Olympic career continued when she represented the United States in the 2008 Beijing games, finishing sixth. Shortly after she went on to set three personal records in 2010, one of which included an American-record 2.05m/6-8 in the high jump. 

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All of these accomplishments at just 28-years of age, oh and did we mention she is a graduate of Georgia Tech and mother of two? Now that is a modern mom! Lowe gave birth to her first daughter, Jasmine, on July 30, 2007. She resumed training just eight weeks after she gave birth. She admits that getting back into it was a struggle, for the first few weeks jogging was difficult and jumping was simply out of the question, but she didn't let her challenges hold her back or break her spirit. She gave birth to her second daughter, Aurora, on April 20, 2011 but is back in the game for the 2012 London Olympics! 

'Blade Runner' Pistorius races toward Olympic Dreams

The London Olympics have proven to be unique and exciting in many ways this 2012, but one thing setting it apart from all the rest is athlete Oscar Pistorius. The South African double amputee will make history in the 400 meters this summer. Pistorius' chances at winning gold are doubtful, but many say he has already won the biggest challenge of all- the ability to participate. 

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Originally Pistorius was banned from competing in able-bodied events, such as the Olympics. He fought before the 2008 Summer Games in Beiging to overturn the ban on athletes with prosthetic legs, and eventually won. After much struggle to make the qualifying time for the Summer Games, he earned his spot in London. Squeezing a spot on the South African team, he will be competing in the London Olympics this 2012, and doesn't plan on letting his prosthetic legs slow him down. This will make him the first amputee to compete in track and field at any Olympics. This became possible for Pistorius nicknamed 'Blade Runner', thanks to his carbon fiber prosthetic legs. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

2012 Olympics Opening Brings Brits Strength

The media praised the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics for its humor and eccentricity. In its review The New York Times headlined "A Five-Ring Opening Circus, Weirdly and Unabashedly British", while newspaper's London correspondent, Sarah Lyall, called it a "slightly insane portrait of a country that has changed almost beyond measure since the last time it hosted the Games, in the grim postwar summer of 1948." Zhou Libo, a host on "China's Got Talent", commented that he felt the 2008 Beijing was solemn while 2012 London represents humor. He further commented that "solemnity and stateliness tells the world you are strong. Humour lets the world feel you are strong; it's about confidence." The true strength of the ceremony was in the light-hearted nature and self-mocking tone. Its ceremony proved to be very unique to any others, and just plain fun! It was clear that even the Queen was enjoying herself! 

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Despite much praising of the ceremony, it did receive some criticism. Greek media praised the ceremony to be entertaining, but felt it lacked the true sprit of the Olympics. They felt it was "too British" and had a "sense of exaggerated British national pride and a sense humor which not all the world understands." Critics said that it was like a big party and very fun, but lacked what a proper Olympic opening ceremony should have. Russian observers also felt it was "incomprehensible to non-Britons." 

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Much praise came to the Queen for her role alongside 007 Daniel Craig in the James-Bond feature. In the past the Queen has been seen as reserved or unapproachable, but that was all changed after her participation in the opening ceremony. She proved to be very involved and let her true Olympic spirit shine

Tell us what you thought of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bali Summer Festivals show Arts and Kites for Tourists

Tourists and locals flock to the busy beaches of Bali to cool themselves from the summer heat in the sea breeze. Around this time of year is an especially good time to visit Bali, not just for the tropical seas, but also to experience the excitement and chaos of the Bali Arts Festival and Bali International Kite Festival

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The Bali Arts Festival is a full month jam packed with cultural activities of everything from daily performances to handcraft exhibitions. During this month locals and tourists enjoy spectacular sights, dance, and music. The Balinese take great pride in their culture, warmly welcoming tourists to experience the joys Bali has to offer. In 1965, tourist attraction in Bali was growing at a rapid rate and the Balinese decided they wanted tourism to be strictly cultural, of "pariwisata budaya." From this desire came the saying "Tourism should be for Bali, instead of Bali for tourism."

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The Bali International Kite Festival draws competitors and tourists from around the world to the winds of Sanur Beach. This event is a religious festival intended to send a message to Hindu Gods, asking for abundant harvests. Three traditional kites are used during this festival; the Bebean, or fish, kite, the Janggan, or bird, kite, and the Pecukan, or leaf, kite. The giant kites are generally 4 meters in width and almost 10 meters in length.They are made and flown by the people in the village of Denpasar.  The traditional colors of this festival are red, white, and black. Consisting of 10 teams, each team competes for the best launch and longest flight time.  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Extreme Action to Perform at Olympics 2012 [VIDEO]

Streb Extreme Action performers have been appearing at various landmarks across London, catching spectators off guard with their spontaneity and daring moves. The performance, choreographed by founder Elizabeth Streb, is called "Surprises: Streb." Elizabeth Streb says the performance is designed to show the human body being pushed to its limits. "Streb" is a sudden explosion of human energy and art demonstrated through dare-devil feats of intense athleticism. 

Regarding the addition of the new and unique performance, director of the London 2012 Festival, Ruth Mackenzie, says "Streb is a wonderful and inspiring element of the 12-week UK-wide festival celebrating the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. We're in the middle of a truly amazing series of events."

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The addition of the Streb Extreme Action performances promises to be one of the most creative, as well as mind-blowing, highlights of the 2012 Olympics! 

Here's a performance by Elizabeth Streb's Streb Extreme Action dancers:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Olympics Moms are #ModernMoms

For all the women who are familiar with the struggles of balancing motherhood and climbing up the corporate ladder, try being a mom in addition to one of the top athletes in the world

While women who are both mothers as well as top-ranking athletes is a relatively exclusive group, there are several who belong. The women who are major players in world sports and have at least one child under the age of eighteen make the list of the most powerful women in sports. These women prove that just because you are a mother doesn't mean you can't be an Olympic powerhouse

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Take swimmer Dara Torres for example. She won two silver medals In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which fell shortly after the birth of her daughter. Captain of the US women's Olympic soccer team, Christie Rampone, led the team to a gold medal victory during the 2008 Beijing games, all while raising a young daughter. Mother of three, Melanie Roach, also makes the list after placing sixth during the Beijing games in weightlifting and remains a top-ranking woman weightlifter in America. 

Another inspiring woman in the sports world is Kim Clijsters. Once ranking number one in the world for tennis, she came back stronger than ever after the birth of her daughter Jada. She won the US Open in 2009, beating out the top-ranked Williams sisters, when her daughter was less than a year old. Nicknamed the greatest volleyball player of all time, Kerri Walsh hasn't been slowed down by her infant son. Even with another child on the way, Walsh plans on competing in the 2012 London games. 

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Basketball powerhouse, Candace Parker, recently gave birth to her daughter Lailaa and jumped right back into playing for the Los Angeles Sparks a few months later. 

These women find the strength to raise children while not letting it slow down their game, and for that reason they deserve recognition! No matter what profession, women around the world can relate to the battle of balancing work with motherhood and the joys as well as difficulties it can bring. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2012 Olympics Presents the First 'Social Games'

The 2012 Summer Olympics are featuring some of the world's most popular sports, including soccer, basketball, swimming, and track and field, but new to the Olympics will be the role of social media. 

The Olympics in London are actually being nicknamed by some the first "social games." There is no doubt that sports conversation will be driven throughout July and August by popular networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. 

These networks were present during the last games, which occurred in 2008, but the reasons for the 2012 games being touted the first social games are simple- since 2008 social media has exploded. 

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In 2008, there were about 1.5 billon Internet users around the world, making up 23% of the world's population. Going into this year's Summer Olympics, that number has increased to 2.3 billion users, about one third of the world's population

In 2008, Facebook was used by 100 million people, passing MySpace in popularity. Today, Facebook claims more than 900 million users. In 2008, Twitter saw explosive growth when it had about 6 million users, sending about 300,000 tweets a day. Today, over 500 million users collectively send about 400 million tweets a day

To find Eileen Wacker's acclaimed books, the Fujimini Adventure Series, click ONCEKids.

It has become a main source for sports news and is where much of the London 2012 Olympics conversation is sure to take place. Five hundred years' worth of YouTube video are watched via Facebook every day and more that 700 YouTube videos are shared through Twitter each minute. 

Due to this dramatic increase in the last four years, the big role the social media will play in how information is passed around from London this summer is undeniable. Thanks to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Foursquare, and Google+ the best moments of the London 2012 Summer Olympics will be able to be replayed and shared across the world. All of this change since the last olympics, just four years ago, can only make you wonder what is in store for us for the 2016 Olympics. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Korean Olympians Cha and Hwang Target Gold

Korea is the birthplace of taekwondo and since its introduction to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the nation has truly lived up to its high reputation. The national team has won nine gold, one silver and two bronzes since 2000.

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Reigning Olympic taekwondo champions, Cha Dong-min and Hwang Kyung-sun, stress the importance of providing extra support for individuals during the games. Hwang, who has experienced both winning and losing, says a single mistake under the pressure of such high expectations can quickly turn a competitor from a hero to a villain among fans. Hwang describes how failure to bring home a bronze can make a competitor feel guilty as though they are crushing the fans' hopes. 

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Cha and Hwang continue to prepare themselves for the games, as well as deal with the tremendous pressure and nervousness they feel as the day approaches. Cha is in the 87-kilogram division and Hwang will be in the 67-kilogram division, and both say it is their goal to win gold. All previous four participants returned home with gold at the Beijing Olympics, further raising fans' expectations. The coaches and players are truly putting their hearts into training to achieve their goal of gold for the London Olympic Games this summer.

Korea's team becomes more and more threatened as investments in taekwondo expand in other countries around the world. The team stresses that the country must value and respect their traditional sport, and asks for more support from others. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Incheon Airport Provides Exclusive Culture between Flights

Travellers won't dread layovers anymore if it means a stop at the Incheaon International Airport! In an attempt to break away from the rigid stereotypes that airports have, the Incheaon International Airport has created a revolutionary idea that will change the way people travel. Instead of sitting around feeling bored and tired while waiting to board the plane, passengers can now indulge in a range of diverse cultural events offered

To learn more about the Asian culture in this article and Eileen Wacker's acclaimed book series, visit ONCEKids.

Performances ranging from classical to traditional are held in the Korea Traditional Cultural Experience Center within the airport. In the center, waiting passengers can play traditional Korean instruments such as the "gayageum" and "janggu" or try handicraft such as kite and fan making

While travelers can also try on traditional Korean costume and purchase traditional crafts, such as Korean ceramics. Watch a reenactment of the queen and king of the Joseon Kingdom during the "Walk of the Royal Family" parade, at the passenger terminal. Another exciting feature of the cultural experience at the Incheaon Airport is that it is free for foreigners! 

To find Eileen Wacker's acclaimed books, the Fujimini Adventure Series, click ONCEKids.

The Incheon International Airport has topped the Airport Service Quality, which is conducted by Airports Council International, for seven years in a row for fabulous service.