Friday, August 15, 2008


Like most people, folks in the Faroes are paying close attention to the Olympic games in Beijing. But Olympic fever in the Faroes is not without its side effects. You see, the Faroes aren't completely sovereign (Denmark runs their national defense and court system), so they can't field their own Olympic team.

That means Faroese athletes have to make a tough choice: attend the Olympics with the Denmark team, or boycott the games altogether.

Katrin Olsen is a Faroese rower (in the middle of the above photo... I think) who has chosen the former. According to an online bulliten board, Olsen is the first Faroe Islander to ever participate in the Olympics. While people back home are intently following Olsen's progress (her team could well win a medal), the celebration is tempered a bit. Having a hometown hero have to compete under the flag of your colonial overlord is never a good thing. But Olympic rules forbid Olsen from even displaying a Faroese flag during the games.

Then there's the story of Pál Joensen. He's one of the best young swimmers in Europe, scooping up three gold medals in the European Junior Championships earlier this month. But he chose not participate in the Olympics because he couldn't represent his country.

There is, however, much online video of Joensen winning his gold medals, and I thought I'd post this medal ceremony found through this German language blog about the Faroes. I love this video for a few reasons. First, the flag raising is pretty funny. Italy and the UK have these full sized flags heading into the rafters. But he Faroe Islands flag is so small that you almost don't see it at first.

Second is the Faroese national anthem. It's played during the ceremony, and is sung enthusiastically by whoever shot the video. I'd be lying if I said I knew what the actual tune of the Faroese national anthem is, but I'm pretty sure whoever was singing it was way off key. But it's sung with such endearing sincerity and gusto that you really don't mind.

This week's Faroe photo comes, once again, from Erik Christensen.
It's of the football pitch in the village of Vágur. The village has a population of more than 1,400, making it one of the larger villages on the Faroes. They've even got a soccer team called Vágs Bóltfelag (can't tell if this photo is of their stadium, which holds about 3,000 people). Alas, the Vágs have been relegated to the lower ranks this season, so all the seats in the stadium may not be full this year. But you have to admit, it's a great location for a sporting event.

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At 6:22 am, Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Now that would be a tough decision — go to the Olympics for the chance of a lifetime but have to be on another country's team... or pass on that opportunity to stand up for what you believe in. It's too bad they have to make that choice and I wonder if anyone gives Olsen a hard time about her (what I assume was a very difficult) decision.

So when're you and the family taking your first trip to the Faroe Islands?


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