The Olympics

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The Olympics
Humanities Course
Course CodeOLYM
Year Opened2016
Sites OfferedLAJ, SAN, STP
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (2016):

Can Michael Phelps swim faster than a penguin? Why are the Olympic rings blue, yellow, black, green, and red? How many calories will Tiki Gelana burn in the women’s marathon–and how many slices of pizza is that?

This interdisciplinary course goes beyond medal counts and world-record finishes as students explore the history, science, math, and cultural significance of the Summer Olympics. Beginning in Greece in 776 BCE, students trace the games’ history, myth, and significance through their modern re-imagining at the beginning of the 20th century. Applying concepts from the physics of sports, participants determine which angles create the smallest splash in diving competitions and calculate the force of boxing strikes. Students examine symbol and meaning when analyzing flags, ceremonies, and uniforms, then predict what kinds of images they will see at the next games. Students leave this one-week course not only as fans of the Olympics, but also as anthropologists, scientists, and historians of this important worldwide event.