USA! USA! and go various ancestral homelands, too!

Tonight’s the eve of the London games of the XXX Olympiad!  While we can’t be in London for the summer games, we plan to watch them on TV.  There’s just something about watching Olympic athletes compete.  The Olympics aren’t like other opportunities that occur yearly like the Super Bowl or the NBA Championships– it is the one chance in four years (if they make it after all the trials and rounds) that an athlete will have to compete.  That kind of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity makes the act of competition a honor, and thrilling to watch.

Most people are regulated to watching the games on TV, but LA was lucky to host the games in 1984.  Lucky for us, we’ve found some photos of the Chinese Olympic delegation in the Chinese American Collection in the VC Archives. (Unfortunately, we don’t know the exact descriptions of the photos, but we’re still excited to share them with you here.)  1984 was China’s first time participating in the summer games since 1952!

Table Tennis, a popular favorite in garages and beyond.

And while we like watching certain sports (diving, swimming, and gymnastics) over others, the profiles of the athletes– both American and international– are what really intrigues us.  (We particularly love watching the torch relay as athletes carry the Olympic flame around the world.) Plus, watching the best of the best display their amazing athleticism is pretty exciting.

All photos from the Chinese American Photographic Collection at the Visual Communications Archives.

Let’s not forget the female athletes:

And, it’s not just about the sports.  The games acknowledge and showcase athletes’ talents, brings people of various backgrounds together, and fosters respect and friendship between countries.  Spectators travel from all over the world.  Don’t you love this photo of LA Chinatown’s welcome banner to their brethren from the motherland:

This banner is a symbol of goodwill between countries.

The games also remind us of our dual identities.  Growing up Asian American, we’re sometimes torn rooting for two countries– the United States and our ancestral homelands– even if they play each other.

Do you have favorite Olympic memories, athletes or games?  Let us know in the comments.

All photos from the Chinese American Photographic Collection at the Visual Communications Archives.

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