Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Better Know An N.O.C. -- Zimbabwe



As noted last week, some Olympic wit is inspired by Stephen Colbert's outstanding "Better Know A District" series.

So with the One Happy Island of Aruba and its national Olympic committee (NOC) as the premiere NOC featured, I kicked of this blog's "Better Know An N.O.C."

Today's B.K.A.N.O.C." (from the other end of the English alphabet spectrum): Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is situated in the southern part of Africa, and via the International Olympic Committee's recently upgraded website, I just learned that Zimbabwe has numerous gold, silver and bronze medal winners spanning three Olympiads.

At the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Zimbabwe fielded a team of women's hockey players who took home the gold (who knew?! -- apparently the IOC, and some tough women in Zimbabwe!).

More recently, in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2004 Athens Olympics, Zimbabwe's "national treasure" Kirsty Coventry swam for no fewer than 11 (!!!) medals, including four gold, six silver and one bronze medal in the pool. This lady could be a perfect date for Michael Phelps!

OK, I admit now to being under a rock -- seriously, until tonight I had no clue about Ms. Coventry's feats, which are World Class.

Now one must also wonder, were the members of the 1980 gold medal field hockey team the previous "national treasure(s)" until Ms. Coventry dove into Olympic competition?

Zimbabwe did not yet enter any winter Olympiads, but their summer Games attendance is consistent since 1980. The NOC office is in the capital city Harare.
Interesting to note that resemblance of Zimbabwe's iconic balancing rocks to the VANOC logo for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games (the Inukshuk).
Photos via Kirsty Coventry's Facebook profile and via Samwise Gamgee via Wikipedia. Additional sources include NBCOlympics.com (a past client of Edelman, the P.R. firm where I work), as well as Olympics.org and Wikipedia.

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