In my earlier post of 212’2021 (2021-07-31), I talked about how fantastic it was to enjoy the Olympic Summer Games from Tokyo, but also showed an example of an anachronic feature, the use of security pins to secure the number tags of the participants, something that really should be improved in Paris in 2024.
Another thing that really needs to be improved is how the organisers treat the names of the participants. It seems that we are still in the stone ages of information technology, when all texts had to adhere to the 128-character ASCII set, with no non-US characters allowed. Fortunately, that has been improved through the UTF-8 and UTF-16 character sets, so why should IOC still behave as it was the 1970’s? Can we hope that the four athletes below, and their colleagues, may have their names written in the correct way in 2024?
More about current text coding can be found in reference # 1 below.
It is always interesting to see photos from the same place during different seasons. You may remember that in my post of 120’2021 (2021-04-30), I showed a photo from Hundfjället (“Dog mountain”) when there was a ski season. Now it is Summer and of course nature looks very different.
We are half-way through the Summer Olympics and if you thought that Beijing would be the first city to host games of both the Summer and Winter Olympics, when they will take on the Winter games in 2022, then you are WRONG!
The fact is that the Northern Japanese city of Sapporo already held the Winter games in 1972, only eight years after Tokyo had arranged the memorable Summer games in 1964, and now Sapporo is back again. As everone knows, Tokyo is the main city of the games, but some sports are organized in different cities around the Japanese islands. In fact, Sapporo organized an olympic football match already two days ahead of the official opening ceremony this year. On July 21, 2021, Great Britain beat Chile by 2-0 in a female football match in the Sapporo dome, and other examples of events to be held in Sapporo involve the marathon road races and the race walk events. The reason is that these time-consuming events should be kept away from the normally hot Tokyo streets in summer and permit better conditions for the athletes further north in Japan.
If you are interested in more about the Sapporo Winter Olympics in 1972, see reference #1 below.
As I mentioned above, Tokyo was already the host of the Summer Olympic games in 1964 and the plans were to come back with the games in July and August of 2020. But as everyone knows, the on-going pandemic postponed the games one year. Tokyo had been awarded the organization of the 1940 Summer Olympics, but that honor was subsequently passed on to Helsinki due to Japan’s invasion of China, before ultimately being cancelled due to World War II.
More about the Tokyo Summer Olympics of 1964 can be found in reference #2 below.
I had the pleasure of visiting my sister-in-law and her family in Tokyo in April of 2005 and I must admit it was one of the busiest cities I have ever known. More about that visit can be found in my post of 108’2016 (2016-04-17).
As you probably already have heard, today exactly 30 years has gone since the government of East Germany was pressed to permit its citizens in East Berlin to visit West Berlin, which eventually led to the extinction of the whole East Germany and its reunification in 1991 with West Germany.
The first time I visited Berlin was in May 1970, when the Wall, which divided the city into two parts, was going on its 9th year. My German language class went on a field trip for almost a week. First, we took the train to the South of Sweden, where the train boarded a ferry to Sassnitz in East Germany. After four hours on the boat, it arrived on German shores and from there it was no longer an electric locomotive pushing the train, but an old steam engine with its heavy black smoke, paving its way through the grey landscape, all the way to West Berlin. See also reference #1 below.
Unfortunately, I do not have any photos left from the trip to show, but I remember well the contrast between the two parts of Berlin. We stayed at a hotel in modern West Berlin, close to the business street Kurfürstendamm and had quite a few interesting and funny days there. On 1970-05-08 was the 25th anniversary of the end of World War II, which of course created some heavy demonstrations, and on the following day we went to Berlin’s Olympic Stadium to see the West German football team beat Ireland with 2-1.
But the strongest memory of the whole week was no doubt from the visit we paid on 1970-05-07 to East Berlin. We took the S-Bahn and after quite some waiting in the checkpoint, we were “free” to walk around in East Berlin. I remember the visit to the Pergamon museum with its majestic Pergamon altar and other impressive artefacts. But the most vivid memory comes from the film of the trip that my friend Jan Johansson and I had been commissioned to create. He was the Super-8 camera man, whereas I made the sound recordings on the brand new cassette tape recorder and interviewed people on the street about how life was in East Berlin for everyday people, a dangerous task. Only later would our teachers learn about that and reprimand us.
My second visit to Berlin only occurred in October 2006, when I was there for a brief business meeting, but I also returned in June 2007, when I had a whole day to go on a guided walk through the streets of Berlin. It was extremely interesting and our guide, who was a native Berliner, had extensive answers to all of our questions. No wonder that the originally planned 4 hour walk only ended after 6 hours!
Below are some photos I took on that city walk on 2007-06-09.
Photos taken in chronological order during the city walk:
Photo #1: Fernsehturm (TV tower) at Alexanderplatz. Since most people in East Berlin could watch TV broadcasts from the West, although it was forbidden, the East German government decided to build an enigmatic TV tower that would be seen all over both parts of Berlin. There is a rumour that the Swedish engineering firm that made the design on purpose made it so that when the sun shines on it from a certain angle, a golden cross appears on the globe. The Berliners call it the Pope’s revenge, since East Germany was so hard on religion.
Photo #2: In central Berlin there is an island named Museum Island, where many interesting museums are located. I already mentioned the Pergamon museum in 1970, but of course there are many more. This a photo taken from the steps of Altes Museum (Old museum), home to antiquities. To the left is the catholic Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) and beside it, under construction, is the cultural building Volkspalast, which substituted the former GDR parliament building. The construction of Volkspalast was heavily debated both among politicians and people in general.
Photo #3: In one of the pillars of the old buildings on Museum Island can still be seen bullet holes from the fightings at the end of World War II.
Photo #4: Zeughaus (Ammunition building) is the oldest structure of the former parade avenue Unter den Linden, with parts from the beginning of the 18th century. Today it houses the German historical museum.
Photo #5: Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg gate), located at the opposite end of Unter den Linden, is a war victory monument from the end of the 18th century. This is probably the best known landmark of Berlin still today.
Photos #6 and #7: Two photos showing what is left today of the former Wall that divided the two major parts of Berlin between 1961 and 1989. Photo # 6 is from Bernauer Strasse, taken from the former West Berlin, showing a 60 m long part of the Wall that is kept as a remembrance still today. Behind it, on the former East Berlin is now located Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial). Photo # 7 shows one of the memorial plaques spread out all over Berlin on the exact locations of the former Wall.
Photo #8: Checkpoint C(harlie), the best known crossing points between West and East Berlin, active between 1947 and 1991. On the right side of the photo is a sign saying, in English, Russian, French, and German “You are leaving the American sector”.
More about Berlin can be found in reference #2 below.
Today, I listened to an interesting live transmission by Radio Sweden from Berlin. The reporters were standing on Bernauer Strasse, exactly on the place where I took photo #6 12 years ago. If you understand Swedish, listen to the program, see reference # 3 below.
Finally, Berlin also makes part of my series of cities around the world that has been the host of an Olympic Game. It happened in 1936, when the Summer Olympic Games were held here, with the Olympic stadium I mentioned above in my visit in 1970 being the main venue. See reference #4 below.
My prediction on 2018-04-15 was correct, 2018 would be the year of AIK. After the last round of Allsvenskan, the Swedish football championship league, once more AIK ended up being the very best! Oh how happy I am!
And as a tribute to the Stockholm region, where AIK has its headquarters, today’s photo shows a marvellous view of Stockholm. The photo was taken on 2018-11-04 from Skinnarviksberget, Södermalm and it shows the City Hall and Riddarholmen.
Furthermore, it is another photo in my series of hosts of the Olympic Games. Most people know that Stockholm was the host of the Summer Olympic Games in 1912, but did you know that it also hosted the Games in 1956? Since Australia had harsh quarantine restrictions, the equestrian events of the Melbourne games were moved to Stockholm. More about the Stockholm games can be found in references #1 and 2 below. Finally, today marks the exact centenary of the armistice after World War I. Exactly one year ago, I wrote about it extensively, you can find it here.
Once more, I woke up this morning with a tune in my head. And this time it was presented by the Beatles, and they dedicated it to me! Watch and listen to reference # 1 below.
Another extremely skilful Englishwoman is the amateur golf player Ali Gibbs. On 2018-08-17, she defended her club champion title at Croham Hurst Golf Club, South of London, with brilliance. In one of the 18-hole rounds, she hit two hole-in-ones, and in the other round yet another hole-in-one. (She had already scored three hole-in-one shots before in her career, on three earlier, distinct occasions).
Ali Gibbs showing the three lucky balls. Photo by Simon Jacobs/Magnus News
The probability of an average golfer scoring a hole-in-one once in their life is calculated to be 1 : 12 500, for a professional to 1 : 2 500, but to hit three in only 36 holes is more than 1 : 1,9 trillion! Read more in reference # 2 below.
And while we are still in the London area, why not visit the capital. The photo above shows a beautiful bird’s eye view of River Thames and the Tower Bridge. London has already hosted the Olympic Summer Games on three occasions, in 1908, 1948, and 2012. More about those events can be found in references #3, #4, and #5 below.