Two Cents Worth

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I think there is way too much hugging in the Olympics.

Many of you really don’t want to hear about more countries, but there are likely a whole bunch who don’t want to read about sports either. So you all have to pick and choose, but bear with me. There are only a few more nations I want to tell you about because they have an interesting history and some of it is so relevant. It should be noted most of these countries earned independence from the French or the Dutch, who seemed to be bouncing all over this part of the world.

Andorra is a baby nation, receiving sovereignty in 1995. It is situated in the Pyrenees Mountains on the border between France and Spain. Seychelles is an archipelago country in the Indian Ocean made up of 115 individual islands. It gained independence in 1975. They have a history of civil unrest and coup attempts. Suriname is a sovereign nation on the northeast Atlantic coast of South America. It received independence in 1975 but there were several coup attempts during the 1980s and 90s. From 1861 to 1863 President Lincoln, that’s Abraham, negotiated with the Dutch to colonize Suriname with freed slaves but dropped the idea in 1864. Now that’s interesting is it not?

The last two, Kiribati and Tuvalu, are connected. Kiribati is a country made up of islands in the Pacific Ocean which won liberation in 1979. In the late 50s and early 60s some of the islands were used by the States and Britain for nuclear testing, including the Hydrogen Bomb.

Several of the islands making up Kiribati earned the right to self-rule and they became Tuvalu which is a Polynesian island half way between Hawaii and Australia. Tuvalu gained independence in 1978. Both Kiribati and Tuvalu came into existence in 1976 when Gilbert Island and Ellice Island ceased to exist.

In June 2008 officials of Kiribati asked Australia and New Zealand to accept their citizens as permanent refugees. In 2012 Kiribati purchased land on Fiji so they could evacuate the entire population. In 2013 the residents of Kiribati were urged to evacuate and migrate elsewhere.

For all those naysayers out there, let it be noted Kiribati is expected to be the first country to lose all its land to global warming. Will it be a country forgotten? Will we learn anything?

OK, enough lessons for today.

It’s wonderful our athletes are doing so well. Even if they don’t come anywhere near the podium they have worked hard, trained hard, sacrificed much just to be the best they can be and that is all that counts, right? Citius, altius, fortius is the Olympic motto which is commonly recognized as faster, higher, stronger. Actually it was faster, higher, braver but somewhere along the way the meaning got changed. So how did golf get into the Olympics? But that is another story.

The Olympics used to be all about amateur sports. That means you compete for country and glory, not cash. Did you know Mr. Schooling of Singapore who beat Michael Phelps earned $375,000 for that gold medal? Other countries pay much more including all living expenses. Did you know our gold medal winners receive $15,000? Now, $15,000 is a lot of money, but who do you think is competing for country and glory? Oh right, and endorsements.

twocentsworth40@hotmail.com 

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