With the Winter Olympics in full swing, we have been watching each night. My boys are taken with the sliding sports! Early on came the question of, “what country would I represent in the Olympics?”
During the opening ceremonies the commentator talked about Julia Marino being the first Paraguayan Winter Olympian. She was adopted as a baby and raised in a town next to us. When asked about this Marino said, “The Olympics are about representing where you are from, and Paraguay is where I’m from.” (espn.go.com, 18 Dec 2013) This was not lost on either of my sons.
Then there was the gold medalist in the snowboard halfpipe who was born in Russia but competed for Switzerland. Now he wasn’t adopted, his family moved. The idea that you could represent a country other than the one you were born in, or live in, was interesting. It brought up questions and spurred conversation. Might they get to the Olympics, not by being the best in the USA where there is greater competition, but by competing in the country of their birth where there are fewer people competing? We did let my boys know you still have to qualify by winning on the world stage, but that you might get the chance to compete in a country with fewer athletes in your sport. Is that fair or right? Great discussions to have with young active boys!
It never ceases to amaze me how little things bring up adoption issues in our family. Where you live may influence your language and culture, but genetics and history will always play a part in who you are. I’m glad my boys are thinking about their options. Will they be Olympic athletes? I’ll be happy for them to enjoy actively participating in what ever sport they choose.