Your Little “g” greatness Is Still Worth Finding

I’m only about one and a half olympics behind on this post, but at least I have the editors of Advertising Age’s Creativity Daily Newsletter on my side. Back in 2012 they said,

Arguably, the campaign that will continue to resonate with viewers well after the Olympics are over is Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign. . . .

I’m a little late to the party, since I hadn’t seen any of these videos until a couple days ago, but they still resonate with me—four years after they were made. Do you remember them?

Art director for the campaign, Sezay Altinok, says,

Greatness isn’t reserved for the chosen few in one special city, it can also be found in London, Ohio, and London, Norway, and East London, South Africa, and Little London, Jamaica, and Small London, Nigeria and the London Hotel and London Road and anywhere else someone is trying to find it.

This sounds like little g greatness to me, which must be a close kin to little h heroes.

(Nike: Find Your Greatness – Jogger — Best of 2012 TV #1Creativity Daily Newsletter, August 2, 2012; Find Your Greatness, Sezay Altinok Creative)

Eight Olympic Facts for Impressing Your Friends

Since you’re probably not competing in the London Games, your best bet for standing out from the crowd may be in the area of Olympics trivia. With that in mind, here are eight facts that you can slip into conversation at the water cooler. Hurry, while there’s still time.

  1. Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin is considered the founder of the modern Olympics, which began in 1896 in Athens, Greece. Coubertin pushed for the inclusion of an arts competition, which became part of the games in 1912. From that time until 1948, 151 medals were awarded in the areas of sport-themed architecture, music, painting, sculpture, and literature.
  2. Women first joined the Games in Paris in 1900, with 22 females competing in tennis and golf.
  3. In the 1904 Olympics, held in St. Louis, Missouri, in conjunction with the World’s Fair, George Eyser won gold for the vault, parallel bars, and rope climbing, all after having lost his left leg in a train accident when he was a child. He competed with a wooden prosthesis.
  4. The 1912 Games in Stockholm, Sweden, were the first to include athletes from all five continents.
  5. The five rings on the Olympic flag represent the five continents, while their five colors—blue, black, red, yellow, and green—plus the white of the background, includes at least one color from the flag of every country in the world. The flag was first used in 1920.
  6. In the 1924 Paris Olympics, Dr. Benjamin Spock, author of the famous Baby and Child Care, won a gold medal as part of the US rowing team.
  7. At the 1964 Tokyo Games, the final torchbearer was Yashinori Sakai, who was born in Hiroshima on the day that the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city.
  8. The 2012 Summer Games in London mark the first time every participating country has sent at least one female athlete, with Brunei, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia adding women to their delegations.

And to round it all off, you’ll also want to have the following ready for when someone asks, “Where will next Olympics be?”

(How Well Do You Know the Olympic Games? The Olympic Museum; “Factsheet: The Games of the Olympiad,” International Olympic Committee, May 2012 update; “‘Sporting Art’ An Olympic Event Left by the Wayside,” National Public Radio, July 27, 2012; “Test Your Olympic Trivia Knowledge,” National Public Radio, July 28, 2012; Scott Stump, “For First Time, Women from Every Nation Ready to Rock Olympics,” TODAY in London, July 24, 2012)

[photo: “Olympic Rings,” by Danny Nicholson, used under a Creative Commons license]

Volleyball and Football: New Dress Codes

Up until  two weeks ago, female beach volleyball players were required by the International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB) to wear a one-piece body suit or a bikini . . .  and not just any bikini, but one “with a maximum side width of 7 cm [2.76 inches].” Who knew? But now that’s all changed, as the FIVB has changed its rules to allow for “shorts of a maximum length of 3 cm [1.18 inches] above the knee and sleeved or sleeveless tops.” This new rule will be applied in all official beach-volleyball tournaments, including the 2012 Olympic Games, which will take place this summer in London. The reason behind the change, as stated on the FIVB site “is to respect the custom and/or religious beliefs.” While it is easy to think of countries with customs and religious beliefs that would have kept them from competing in revealing swimwear, the US as a whole would not be included in that category. But it will be interesting to see if individual senses of modesty will affect American uniforms. It will also be interesting to see if anyone is challenged or disqualified during an extremely close match for wearing too-long shorts. Where exactly does the knee start, anyway?

(“Uniform Change for All Beach Volleyball Events,” Fèdèration Internationale de Volleyball, March 18, 2012)

This isn’t the only recent change in women’s sports uniforms. The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), has now decided to allow women to wear head coverings during football games (soccer games for us Americans). In June of last year, the Iranian team was disqualified from playing its Olympic-qualifying games against Jordan and Vietnam because they refused to remove their hijabs. FIFA considered the head coverings, which also wrap around the neck, as choking hazards. (Three Jordinian players were also banned for wearing hijabs, but the rest of their team stayed in the competition.) But now, following an effort begun by FIFA vice president, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, and the development of a newly designed hijab, which uses Velcro instead of pins, the rule has been changed. Willfried Lemke, the UN secretary general’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, praised the decision, saying it will give everyone “an equal chance to participate in football, without any barriers and regardless of gender, race, ability, age, culture or religious beliefs.”

(Jens Juul Petersen, “Football Now a Game of Inclusion for Muslim Women,” Common Ground News Service, March 20, 2012; Graham Dunbar, “Hijab Scarf Rule Comes to a Head as Iranian Women’s Soccer Team Banned,” Toronto Star, June 6, 2011)

[photo: “Beach Volleyball,” by Blake Bokky Bentley, used under a Creative Commons license]