Olympic Tree Brings Back Poignant Memories

first_imgA tree is a great way to remember an event like the Olympics. A living, growing treehelps refocus fading memories.Trees represent a renewing of life over generations and an investment in the future.Tree planting can mark the passage of time and great events and accomplishments.One particular tree’s life marks many things, including the Olympics. On the Universityof Georgia campus, just southwest of Stegeman Coliseum, grows a small tree with a roundedcrown. Planted in 1936, the German oak (Quercus robur) is native to centralGermany.In the forests where it grows, the German oak is wide-spreading and broad. German oakscan grow to more than 100 feet tall. The leaves have six to 10 lobes, are roughlythree-by-five inches and are similar to our American white oak (Quercus alba). Theacorns are fairly large and dangle from long stems.In 1936 the Olympic Games were in Berlin. The city, stadium and other venues were awashin the harsh banners of fascism. The National Socialist party had been brought to powerthree years earlier by Adolf Hitler, who saw the Olympics as a way to show cultural andracial superiority to the world.The German oak grows across Europe. Every country where it grows calls it by thatcountry’s name — French oak, Italian oak, Austrian oak and Spanish oak.Here in the United States and in the South, the most common name is English oak.Regardless of its common name, the tree is large, strong and beautiful.The massive size and strength of this native oak symbolized for Hitler the greatness ofthe “Fatherland.” Olympic winners were given a small German oak as well as theOlympic medals.The Olympic athletes carried these young oaks back to the far reaches of the world.Most of the trees didn’t survive.In Georgia, German oak has a hard time growing. Many pests attack it. But by far theworst problems are the warm winters and occasional spring freezes. German oak doesn’t godeep into dormancy during our winters and then tends to grow much too early in spring.Frost is always damaging it.German oak doesn’t handle the hot summer well, either — especially our warm nights.Several plantings in Georgia have died or had to be removed because of growth problems. Atree growing poorly and under constant stress is ripe for attack by many pests and can’trespond well to damage.The German oak on the University of Georgia campus is the tree given to Forrest Towns,who was the university’s first Olympic gold medal winner. Mr. Towns held the world recordin the 110-meter high hurdles for 12 years. For 37 years, he coached track for theBulldogs.The German oak on campus symbolizes many things to the university community. Asmemories fade, the tree grows and reminds us of the Olympic spirit of athletic endeavorsand excellence. The rich green tree reminds us of the man and his accomplishment. Mr.Towns passed away in 1991.Sadder times are caught up in those dark green leaves, too. A few years after hisvictory in Berlin, Mr. Towns lost his brother in the European theater of World War II. Atree lives to help us remember.Maybe you should plant a tree to commemorate your own Olympic experiences.last_img read more

Stage was set for Ki to strike

first_img Press Association Swansea’s Ki Sung-yueng revealed his first Liberty Stadium goal against QPR was even more special as his actress wife was in the crowd. “It happens sometimes in games that you can’t, but I’ve tried to improve myself and I wanted to score more. “Normally I stay at the back but I got the chance to push on and my first goal in front of the home fans was very meaningful.” Swansea travel to West Ham next on Sunday with Sam Allardyce’s side two points better off than the Welsh club a fter their 2-1 win at West Brom, and Ki said he is expecting a tough physical examination in east London. “It’s not always easy away from home, especially at West Ham,” Ki said. “We have to be physically ready. “I’m sure we will have chances so we know we have to concentrate on our defensive work and give us possibility to win. “I am not sure if we are better than when I first came here but we are getting better results. “We are sixth after this amount of games for the first time and all the boys are mentally prepared to achieve. It is different.” The 25-year-old scored his first Swansea goal in a 2-1 win at Manchester United on the opening day of the season but he had to wait until Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over QPR to register in front of Liberty Stadium fans who included his wife Han Hye-jin. Ki celebrated his goal by making a heart sign with his hands, and said: “It was for my wife who was in the crowd. “She comes to every game so she’s been waiting a while. “Normally I’m not a player who scores – it happens once every three months – but it was nice to score in front of her.” Monk said after Swansea’s victory that he had told Ki “it was about time he scored” – and his late effort was perfectly timed as it finally broke QPR’s resistance before Wayne Routledge added gloss with a second against his former club. But Ki said there was no extra pressure on him to score, even if the return of midfield anchorman Leon Britton a fter long-term injury allowed him to play in a more advanced role. “He (Monk) doesn’t want to put us under pressure to score, he just gives us more encouragement and is patient with us,” Ki said. “We have great attacking players in front of me who are always making great chances, so we are not worried about scoring. The South Korean midfielder joined Swansea for a then club record £5.5million fee in August 2012 but was sent out on loan to Sunderland last season where he was influential in helping the Black Cats win their battle for top-flight survival. Ki returned to south Wales last summer and the former Celtic playmaker has repaid manager Garry Monk’s faith in him by playing in every Barclays Premier League game as Swansea have climbed into the top six. last_img read more