Lost in Translation: Cultural, Political Implications In Play at Games

Typically, the Olympic Games are viewed as a respite from global conflict and politics. However, this isn’t always the case.

This article by Reuters details how the British recording of the Hungarian anthem was out of touch with traditional rhythm and tempo, an error discovered after a Hungarian fencer won gold.

Interesting to note that the London Philharmonic Orchestra recorded this and more than 200 other anthems and presented the recordings to the IOC as a gift. Oh and by the way, they recorded them at Abbey Road Studios.

The Hungarian Olympic delegation simply asked that a proper recording be used, but as for any ill will over the mishap, they decided to just “Let It Be.”

Event managers in London also gaffed on the soccer pitch, putting up South Korea’s flag when the North Korean women were about to start playing. The reps from the People’s Republic refused to take the pitch for an hour after the gaffe. In a swimming event, a Tunisian swimmer refused to enter the pool with an Israeli swimmer who happened to be in his country’s military and took part in military exercises against Palestine.

Even during the Opening Ceremony, such tense situations were relevant. Commentators wondered about Argentina’s reception during the ceremony, as England and Argentina have been at odds over islands off the coast of South America. Taiwan, in order to participate in the Games, has acquiesced to being referred to as Chinese Taipei. Also, newly-christened South Sudan is not represented at the Games, though a South Sudanese athlete is participating. He escaped the war-torn area and, at last check, was awaiting visa clearance to get to London and compete under the Olympic flag as an “Independent Olympic Athlete.”

Anthem gaffe tarnish gold medal for Hungarian

LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) – Aron Szilagyi’s perfect rhythm won him gold in men’s individual sabre but the Hungarian Olympic Committee said on Monday London’s organisers were off-key with the country’s anthem and asked that it be changed…

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