Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Friday, August 12, 2016



The Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are in full swing! They are defiantly true to the Latin motto established back in 1894: Citius, Altius, Fortius. (Faster, Higher, Stronger). Our mailbox is jam packed with questions. So let's get started:

What's the story with the Tongan Flag Bearer? Jessica, NYC. Few of us stayed up until 11:15pm to see all 200+ countries in the Parade of Nations. But those who did were handily rewarded when the delegation from the Pacific nation of Tonga's delegation entered Marcana Stadium. Proudly carrying the flag was Pita Taufatofua. He wore traditional Tongan dress and was covered in coconut oil. The Taekwondo athlete instantly shot to internet super-stardom. But it came with an ugly side: TODAY SHOW hosts Matt Lauer and Hoda Kotb insisted on touching his chest. Yuck!

What's the deal with the Refugee Team? Francisco, Peru. The theme of the original Olympics in ancient Greece was to suspend all political issues and instead compete athletically. This spirit is kept alive during this years' games through the Refugee Team. It consists of ten athletes who are displaced by conflict and cannot return to their home nations. Five are from chaotically new South Sudan. Two are Syrian Christians. Nice gesture, but no chance of medaling either!

What happened in the stands during a tennis match? Dmitry, Moscow. The Brazil / Argentina rivalry is well known in South America, but now the rest of the world is learning how intense it has become. During a tennis (!) match between the two, shouts escalated to blows and both spectators were removed. In the parking lot, they continued to debate who's better: Pele or Maradona...

What gives with the Michael Phelps Death Stare? Brad, San Diego. Prior to a race against Chad le Clos, a longtime rival from South Africa, the American athlete swam in a sea of anger. Phelps has yet to elaborate on what occurred beforehand. We here at the DUNER BLOG say: Whatever works for you, MP. Do it! On Tuesday, the man from Baltimore broke a record that has stood for 2,168 years: the most individual gold medals collected throughout multiple Olympic games. Sorry, Leonidas of Rhodes, but you're #2 now.

What's the story with the Uber driver from Philly? Frank, Philadelphia. OK, this a sweet Feel-Good story that you might have missed. Few Olympians have lucrative contracts endorsing Subway Restaurants...like Michael Phelps. Take shot putter Darren Hill, for example. This Team USA member couldn't afford to fly his family to Brazil. BUT.. when his dad Ellis, an Uber driver, mentioned this to passenger Liz Willock, his luck changed. She organized a 'Crowd-Fund' and sent the proud papa on his way to Rio. See? This is what the original Olympic spirit is all about!

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