A Gold Medal in English

unevenbarsThis week much of the world is, like I am, watching the Olympic games in Rio. It seems like every Olympics has its own problems and scandals (doing something wrong that causes the public to have strong negative reaction). But somehow, when you actually start watching the athletes compete, you forget about all of that and just enjoy the magic of our fellow (similar to us) human beings doing some really extraordinary things.

My favorite sport to watch is gymnastics, perhaps because my father was a gymnast (a person who competes in gymnastics) when he was in high school and so he loved watching those events on television. Gymnastics involves lots of different activities, including swinging on the uneven bars (see photo) and moving and jumping on top of a balance beam (a long piece of narrow wood about four feet (125 cm) off the ground).

If you need a reminder of some of the English vocabulary used to describe the Olympics, check out (take a look at) our episode on that topic from a few years ago. (And if you want to learn a little Portuguese from our very own webmaster, Adriano Galeno, take a look at his Brazilian PodClass.)

Lucy described some of the more popular sports during the 2014 Sochi Games, so I thought I would talk a bit about the two “new” sports for this year’s games, sports that are actually returning to the Olympic games after a long absence (time away from something).

Golf is returning to the Olympics after being dropped (removed) after the 1904 Games in St. Louis, Missouri. We spoke about golf briefly here, but as you probably know, it is a game that uses long sticks called clubs that are used to hit a small ball (called, logically, a “golf ball”). The ball is placed on a tee, a small piece of plastic or wood that holds the ball up in the air, a few inches from the ground. The object (purpose) of the game is to hit the small balls into a hole that is located several yards from where you begin hitting the ball.

The other sport returning this year after many decades (a period of 10 years) is rugby. Rugby is not popular in the United States, and I would guess that most Americans have never even seen a complete game of rugby (that would include me). From what I understand (which is very little), it involves a bunch of men and women (but not together) running around a field with a ball that looks like an American football. From the photos I’ve seen, it seems like there is a lot of hugging (people putting their arms around each other), but I could be wrong about that part. Technically, there are different kinds of rugby: the one being played in this Olympics is called “rugby sevens” since there are seven players on each team who play for periods of seven minutes. If you want to know more, don’t bother asking the average American, who I’m sure doesn’t know any more than I do.

What are your favorite sports to watch in the Summer Olympics?


Image credit: Pinterest

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16 Responses to A Gold Medal in English

  1. Hilario says:

    According to some ratings of TV watchers one of the sports with more share is beach ball, specially when women are at play. Wives are fed up with husbands staring at screen as if it was their favourite baseball team was playing finals. I was surprise watching the iranian women team playing against the Spaniard girls, while these were wearing the standard bikini with total free-movement, the iranian girls were wearing clothes from feet to the head, and this covered by a tight scarf. So weird that really shocked a lot of this huge legion of the unconditional supporters this sport discipline really have.

  2. Dan says:

    Hello everyone.

    Short answer..None.

    Today I surveyed my colleagues to see who’s watching these games.
    Apparently nobody’s following this year’s Olympics games, myself included

    After that, just for curiosity, I checked the ratings online.
    I found some articles that confirmed my personal findings.

    It seems as though the ratings are around 30% less than the last Olympics which were held if I remember that correctly, in London.

    I prefer to practice sport myself, and recently I have been clocking up kilometres both pedaling and running. You can call me iron man if you want.


  3. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Just to say hello.
    From B?razil

  4. Paul Paquin says:

    14th August final for gymnastic, waiting for that.

  5. emiliano says:

    Jeff, something new about you and your life being a boy, your father was a gymnast?.
    Always I thought he was a coach of some team like rugby or baseball, never I thought he was a gymnast.
    Having a father like him, what about you my dear friend?.

    As you I like to see this difficult and incredible discipline knowing it was impossible for me to do
    such things.
    Being a young boy I was somehow flexible and could do some good movements
    being with the friends, but nothing more.
    Here in Spain these sports were nearly impossible of practice for boys like me being from humble
    families, only at the university could do some of these sports, but university was for other people
    with wealthy families, not for me or people like the one who lives my sourroundings.

    I have always missed to go the the university but it was unthinkable for a boys like me on those
    time when my father worked so hard to maintain his family, giving us food and some studies, but
    never he thought about sending us to the university.

    Just a pity.
    Thank you so much Jeff, I always read your post with so much pleasure.


  6. emiliano says:

    K?hei Uchimura
    Congratulations to him and Japan
    Incredible last gymnast were he won the gold medal just in this moment.

    Sorry for the Ucranian so good too and he lost the gold at the last
    gimnast movement.


  7. Tania says:


    I miss you all.

    All the best for you,


  8. Tania says:


    I know the song All By Myself by American artist Eric Carmen. But I have not known that it is based on the second movement (Adagio sostenuto)
    of Serghei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2.
    Thank you, Jeff.

    When I was young
    I never needed anyone
    And making love was just for fun
    Those days are gone.

    Living alone
    I think of all the friends I’ve known
    But when I dial the telephone
    Nobody’s home.

    I think this is valid for everyone of us. We have to take care of every our friendships, every old or new friend, keeping in touch with them.
    If not,
    “But when I dial the telephone
    Nobody’s home”.

    And we have to keep in our mind
    don’t make love just for fun.
    We can hurt someone very badly.

  9. Tania says:


    And the artist’s message is

    “All by myself
    Don’t wanna be, all by myself anymore”.

    I don’t want to be alone. Thank you for the explanation of the phrase” I am by myself”.

  10. Tania says:


    These days , from personal reasons, I am feeling alone.
    No, I don’t want to be by myself.
    But I like to be on my own.

  11. Tania says:


    I’ve never heard about “Puff the Magic Dragon” song by Peter, Paul and Mary. I have listened it on You Tube. It is nice , just for children.
    Instead, I remember of Piff-Puff, the 80’s French magazine for children from my country.
    No way of “puff” with the meaning of “to smoke marijuana”. We did not know this phrase as children.

  12. Tania says:

    I do not watch the Olympic games in Rio.
    But my favorite sport to watch is gymnastics as we were the best in the world many years ago.
    According to Wikipeadia, on July 1976, at the 1976 Olympics, Montreal, 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci performed
    in the uneven bars, and was awarded a score of ten.
    Because the scoreboard only allowed three digits, it had to display her score as 1.00.
    This led to total confusion, until the announcer informed that she had score a perfect ten.
    Nadia Comaneci scored a total of seven 10s at the 1976 Olympics, four on the uneven bars and three on the balance beam.

    First perfect ten in the gymnastics history.

  13. Tania says:

    Thank you for telling us about the new sport to me called “rugby sevens”.
    I have just seen on TV the headline, rugby sevens gold is Fiji’s first-ever olympic medal.

  14. Tania says:

    Something about friendship… dear Emiliano,
    I think that your new friend from Italy is our dear blog friend, Dan, an extraordinary man.
    I agree with you.
    “One of the best things a man/woman could have it is only to have at least ONE real friend… sometimes it is enough.
    I have one of my best … far away… but to me is absolutely important to have him like one of the best.”
    I think that one of your best friends is our dear teacher, Jeff.
    Yes, Jeff is a wonderful man with a gold voice, a great teacher , and a very good friend.

    Maybe you have forgotten me.
    I think about you like a dear blog friend.

    Best wishes to you and Cuca,


  15. emiliano says:

    Ja, ja, ja, Tania, you make me laugh a lot, and that is very good for me now.

    No, never I could forget you dear Tania, but if fact you are the misterious girl or woman in the Blog since
    just from the begining where I tried to know something about Tania´s life, but no, she never told us a bit
    about her.
    Being so closed about you dear misterious friend Tania, it is difficult to create a strong bond of friendship.

    In fact we don´t know anything about our poet´s life. Could be that good? or not?. Who knows?.
    The only thing I could think and say is that you are good very good blog´s friend of mine and I have talk
    a lot with Cuca and other friends about you dear.
    Yes I love the idea I could have about you Tania, that could be enough, don´t you think so?.
    But if anybody asks me about you, I could say nothing, I don´t know your age, I don´t know if you are rich or
    poor, I don´t know if you are single or married, I don´t know if you have children or not.
    Even I don´t know which are your work, are you beautiful?, yes, inside you are but how about your face and
    More or less like Lucy for every one here in the blog, our misterious dear teacher.

    Well Dan and me have some kind of relationship, we have sent mails and photos each other so I know
    something about his life, even he told us something from time to time. Everybody knows which kind
    of person he is, and what is the life he loves.
    Of course we know he has three cats that are his best friends and more or less how is the way of life
    he wants to have.

    Everyone knows about him, he is open, he has told us about his own life, his family, his parents, his youth
    his age, and of course everybody here loves him because his is an excelent person in all ways.
    Not to talk about English best teacher.

    I know that even better that the rest because Jeff and me are close friends by all means, he is one of the best
    persons I have met along my life.
    Yes, emiliano is a fortunate person that has friends, since too long ago, in fact last wensday a friend of all life
    came home to pick me up and we went to see Cuca.
    I know him since he was fourteen and I was sixteen, we were in the same school doing just the same
    industrial enginering, he follows but I gave up.

    That´s all my dear Tania, you will be always in my mind as the misterious girl or woman friend of the blog.

    I think it is enough for today. bye friends.


  16. Peter says:

    Well ,it is Olympic we are talking about. Typically , a lot of people plug in to it ; some even become obsessed.
    I like track and field and swim competitions.
    However , I don’t think it is the actual Olympic Games and scores we should bring to the spotlight but a lot of controversies that are brewing around Rio Olympic 2016.some we hear about it throug media outlets ; some just slip through media scrutiny.
    My good friend Aecio ,
    I was looking for ur name to read what u have to say about what is really happening just a few steps away from all the guady and glory.
    But , I must say I m surprised thst u Seemomgly ,decided to sit on the sideline.

    U r down there my good friend observing what is actually going down as Rio Olympic progressing , unfolding some might say.

    I hear people are not happy with the fact that the government has spent milion of dollars in Olympic preparation ranging from upgrading to Restiration while ignoring the pressing needs of the majority to welfare and education and health.

    I hear,every day ,not far from the dolled up arenas , people take to streets to voice their complaints against the government overspending on Olympic while there a lot of poverty-stricken people _In hard hitting neighbourhoods not far away from Olympic glories _are suffering through for it.

    Shed the light Aecio on the real puls of the cities and what our good people in Brezil really view it



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