With the European Football Championship officially over (go France! ahem, Portugal) it’s time to prepare for the Olympics.
I’m joining other bloggers from the Multicultural Kid Blogs in a new series – Olympics for Kids (scroll to the bottom of this post for more info). The way we see it, the Olympics are a great time to teach kids about the world and explore different countries and cultures. From now until the beginning of August we’ll be doing exactly that so stay tuned!
Latvia has been participating in the Olympics since 1924 and won its first medal in the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympics (in case you’re wondering: it was silver for the 50 km walk). Over the years Latvia has been particularly good at summer Olympics. 19 medals is an honorable number for a country of just two million people, and that doesn’t include the Latvian athletes who won medals between 1952 and 1988 as part of the Soviet Union.
It’s not a coincidence that many of those achievements are in disciplines particularly suited for the country’s nature and thus enjoyed by Latvians of all ages. So, without further ado, let me give you my (slightly subjective) countdown of the top three summer sports in Latvia!
Nr. 3 – Boating & rafting
Springtime flood waters aside, Latvian rivers are perfect for leisurely rowing and enjoying the fresh air, the stillness of the forest around, and the occasional sights of high sandstone rock coasts. It’s possible to spend a few days on the river without meeting a person who doesn’t belong to your travel party, yet all the while enjoying great network coverage. And if you feel hungry or want to make a stop for the night, just row until the next riverside camping ground and pitch your tent!
Nr. 2 – Cycling
Fun fact: did you know that Latvia is the first and currently the only Olympic gold medalist in BMX cycling? Over the last decades cycling – not only of the BMX kind – has become more and more popular in Latvia and the infrastructure continues to improve as well. Most cycling routes and tours are perfect even for beginners as the landscape is relatively flat. You won’t encounter anything steeper than gentle rolling hills on your way along forests and meadows, beautiful seaside, and the occasional small town or old country manor. Or you can always join the locals in one of the bicycle races that take place throughout the year!
Nr. 1 – Beach sports
When the Latvian beach volleyball team beat the USA in the London 2012 Olympics on their way to the securing the bronze medal, fans in the US took to the internet to figure out what Latvia is and whether this northern country has summer and beaches to speak of. I can assure you that Latvia knows what a proper summer heat means and the Latvians make a good use of the country’s 500 km (approx. 310 miles) of seashore. As soon as you leave the resort towns, you will be welcomed by beautiful, almost deserted beaches, both of the white sand and rock variety. And, if suntanning, swimming, and beach volleyball ever become too boring, you can always try your hand at windsurfing or kiteboarding!
Have an active summer and share your favorite summer sports in the comments!
Welcome to our Olympics for Kids series! The Olympics are a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about the world and explore cultures together.
Today, you can find more about other sports/games from various countries thanks to our participating bloggers:
Exploring Indonesian Badminton – Multicultural Kid Blogs
Popular Summer Sports in USSR – Creative World of Varya
Handball, France and the Olympics – Lou Messugo
Capoeira: a martial art with a great beat – Brynn in Brazil
The big 3: soccer, rugby, cricket – Globe Trottin’ Kids
Copa América: We Are the Champions – La clase de Sra. DuFault
Football in the Netherlands: The Men in Orange – Expat Life with a Double Buggy
Summer sports in Latvia – Let the Journey Begin
Valuable Lessons From The Olympic Sports to Kids – Hispanic Mama
Fencing with Ibtihaj Muhammad – Kid World Citizen
Puerto Rican Olympians – Discovering the World Through my Son’s Eyes
Don’t forget that you can also download our Summer Games Unit activity pack to learn more about the world and have fun during the Olympics.