Friday, February 19, 2010

The New Geography?


With the Olympics here I love noting how people don't always represent the country of their home, for instance...

Reed, 15, is an ice dancer from Warren, N.J., but she is competing in the Olympics for the Republic of Georgia. In a move that is not unusual for a sport in which compatible partners are hard to find, she and the Georgian ice dancer Otar Japaridze paired up last May. Four months later, they unexpectedly qualified for these Games. By November she had a Georgian passport. Now she is a dual citizen.

The Reed family celebrated. Suddenly, they had three Olympians, not just two, at the dinner table, but none were skating for the United States. Allison’s older siblings, Cathy, 22, and Chris, 20, were headed to Vancouver as ice dancers, too — for Japan. The ice dancing competition began with the compulsory dance Friday.

“I know it sounds a little crazy and confusing but we’re so happy to be at the Olympics together, no matter what country we’re representing,” Cathy Reed said of the three-Olympian family. “To be honest with you, this whole experience has been a little crazy.”


How exactly does that work? The Japanese dancers, are understandable in a way because their mother is from Japan. However, young Allison (and her siblings) are from Warren, NJ and as far as I could see, do not have any ties to Georgia.

Personally it seems to be a little unpatriotic and maybe, um, selfish? Or maybe I am thinking of the word childish instead. You know, it went down like this ...

"Y'all aren't good enough to be on the American ice dancing team"

(extra side... why is ice dancing an Olympic sport anyway?)

"Oh yeah, we'll show you"

"Really? And how do you propose to do that?"

"Well, our mom is from Japan, so we'll skate for them!"

"Godspeed young Reeds, and good luck."

So that's how Allison's older brother and sister became Olympians for Japan. As for Allison, I imagine it went like this...

"I can skate, yea I can, I know I can, like can you watch me?"

"Do you have a partner?"

"Um, no. Like do I need one?"

"Well since there isn't a category for a single ice dancer, yes you do need a partner."

"Can't you like, pair me up with someone?"

"Nope, they are all taken."

"Even like, that cute one over their?"

"Yep."

Later that day, a young 14 year old girl was seen crying at the ice rink, when...

"Hello, are you okay?"

"No."

"Well, what seems to be the problem?"

"They won't let me skate without a partner."

"Well, I can skate, shall we be partners?"

"Sure, where are you from?"

"Georgia"

"Oh, like Atlanta?"

"No, like the Georgian Republic, formerly of the Soviet Union."

"The Sovi.. a what?"

"Never-mind. Anyway, I'm sure we can make you a citizen and we'll go to the Olympics. What do you think?"

"Like that is really cool, by the way my name is Allison."

"I'm Otar."

Yeah, I'm sure that's how it went, right?

The Olympics definitely seem to make some strange bedfellows, and some interesting geography questions.