Countries at the Olympics: Learning New Things All the Time

August 10th, 2012 08:30am CDT by Tamara Schaad

Countries (and people) from around the globe come together at the Olympics.I continue to have question after question as I read about the Olympics. For those of you that instantly pick up information the moment it’s in your radar, I envy you. Those like myself, we have to stop and look at the information and often read about it, to even have a chance at recalling anything related to what we’re learning. In fact, I’m slightly hands-on, and will take notes and even doodle as my brain is processing what’s going on.

Anyhow, one question that came up in my mind multiple times was “I’ve never heard of this country.” Looking down the list of participating countries, I recognized maybe a quarter of the countries listed, a half at most. So I started investigating.

I was not aware that some of the “countries” listed as competing in the Olympics are not all countries. For instance, Puerto Rico isn’t a country, but they participate in the Olympics. (I also found out that for Puerto Rico, a “referendum on statehood, independence, or continuance of the status quo will be held on November 6, 2012” – thought that was very interesting.) In another case, I didn’t realize Taiwan is technically not recognized by as a country, as China claims it to be part of their province.

So there are 195 to 196 countries (depending on how you view it) recognized in the world. That’s a lot more than I realized! Couldn’t tell you why, or how many I thought there were, but it probably has a lot to do with my Western-minded viewpoint. The entire United States is a country, so sometimes it’s easy for me to see continents and think those are countries. Yet that just isn’t so. Much more for me to learn!

Here’s some of the resources I used:

  • http://geography.about.com/cs/countries/a/numbercountries.htm
  • http://geography.about.com/od/countryinformation/a/capitals.htm
  • http://geography.about.com/od/politicalgeography/a/puertoricoisnot.htm
  • And many others, mostly from the all-knowing Wikipedia.

PS – The pic for today was by an app our new Sr. Graphics Designer showed me called Paper. Waaaaay too much fun to work with!





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