After two months, South Korea is planning to hold 2018 Winter Olympics. This event will take place in Pyeongchang and is scheduled from 9th to 25th of February, 2018. The Olympics will feature 102 games in 15 kinds of sports, which qualified participants from about 85 nations. Sport has frequently been a way to merge various nations, and the Olympics is one of the rare chances that can make people from different countries gather around and watch the games together. For some athletes, it seems that bringing a medal to their country means more than just a pride and thinking it could be a life-changing events. As a lot of nations are looking forward to the event, The Dongguk Post interviewed some international students regarding similar sport events that have been held in their countries before and the atmosphere of the events in each country.
|Allison Seidi Ito Nissi (Business Administration) from University of São Paulo|
Q. How does the government prepare for the sport events in your country?
A. The government always uses a lot of money to build up many stadiums that are usually not made on time with the expected structure. However, nowadays, they build up so many stadiums and some of them are just empty and useless. Since the maintenance expenditure is really huge, we had some issues related to homeless people and the Brazilian slums called “Favela.” The government did not want foreigners to know such a reality. They just built up some big walls, so it would be difficult to see the slums from the roadways. Also, they made homeless people to go out of the streets so that they would look “cleaner.” I feel that the government just tried to make Brazil looks like a neat place to foreigners.
Q. Has your country ever hosted any sports competition in the international scale?
A. Yes, Brazil has been the host of a lot of different international competitions The most famous ones were the World Cups in 1950 and 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, where 32 countries participated. Also, the Olympics was held in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, where 206 countries participated. These events had some games at many cities such as São Paulo, Manaus, and Fortaleza or Brasilia, but the main events like the opening and ending ceremony and finals were usually held in Rio de Janeiro.
|Iker Rodriguez Fernandez (History) from Universidad del País Vasco|
Q. Has your country ever been a host for the international sports competition?
A. Spain actually has hosted the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup once each. The Olympics was held in Barcelona in 1992, where many countries participated in. Then, 1986 was the year when Spain hosted the FIFA World Cup and countries from all over the world came to compete in different cities in Spain. In addition, the most popular event concerning cycling is the Vuelta de España, in which cyclists from all over the world would compete in all the regions and landscapes of Spain. Also, in my region, we have got the Vuelta a Euskadi, which is smaller in scale but much more beautiful event because its course involves the marvelous mountainous landscape of the Basque Country; a nightmare for the cyclists but a good view for the public.
Q. What is the most popular sport in your country?
A. The most popular sport in Spain is soccer. When I was a kid, I always played the games during school breaks and on weekends. If someone did not support any team or did not like soccer, he or she was regarded as an outsider. Yet, in the region where I live, the Basque Country, I would say that the second most popular sport is cycling. During summer, you will see many people watching the tour de France in their living rooms and even betting with their friends to see who is the best cyclist.
|Dewi Dresden (International Event, Music, Entertainment Studies) from Fontys Academy for Creative Industries|
Q. What are the popular sports in your country? Is there any competition for that sport?
A. The most famous sport in Netherlands is soccer. Each year, there is a competition like in every European country. There are also European and World Cup competitions, which are held abroad every four years. When it comes to Winter Olympic Games, it seems that Netherlands is the best at speed skating. Field hockey is also pretty popular. The female field hockey team is doing better than the male team.
Q. Who are the most popular athletes in your country?
A. We have a lot of famous soccer athletes such as Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, and Memphis Depay. Korean soccer fans usually know Arjen Robben, and even Guus Hiddink, who actually coached the South-Korean soccer team in 2001 and 2002.
Q. Which kind of changes are made when your country prepare for international sport events?
A. It is pointless in Netherlands to build any more fields for the athletes because we do not want to build any equipment anymore, which will not be utilized well after the event. This was what happened to the stadium built in South Africa for 2010 World Cup; it became a ghost stadium. In Netherlands, during the international sport events, we can see the police enforcement, global rise of prices in shops, and more transportation like night buses and extra trains.
|Miku Okano (International Studies) from Kwansei Gakuin University|
Q. Has your country ever been a host for a sports competition with international participants?
A. The Olympic Games have been held in Japan two times, in 1964 and 1998, and the third one will be held in 2020. Japan also held the FIFA World Cup 13 times. The most recent one was in December, 2016 and about 30 countries participated.
Q. How does your country prepare for the international sport events?
A. For the upcoming Olympics, a lot of things are prepared in my country. A huge amount of volunteers who can speak foreign languages are currently hired. Facilities are also being built. A stadium is under construction in Tokyo. Actually, they had destroyed the previous stadium to build a new one. It is designed by an English architect and planned to be finished in 2019.
Q. Have you ever been to any sport competitions in your country?
A. In 2017, I went to baseball game just before coming to Dongguk University. The team representing my region is Hanshin Tigers, so I always cheer for them. There was a game Hanshin Tigers against Yomiuri Giants which is one of the most popular team. This game was amazing because until the end, the two teams’ scores were so close that we could not predict which one would win.
Even though the features of national sports vary from one country to another, sports take an important place in every country. Sports events are very popular, and the Olympics is one of the most famous international events around the world. Some international students may not be in Korea during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. However, for sure, they are going to witness the competitions for themselves or watch it on TV to give support for the competitions.
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