You’ve Forgotten Them Already, Haven’t You

Assuming you knew about them in the first place….

One top medalist from every country that won a medal at the Rio Olympics.

If you won your country’s only medal, you’re in.

If you won your country’s highest medal (gold > silver > bronze), you’re in.

After that, it’s pretty much personal preference. I did try to choose a good variety of sports, and those athletes who won multiple medals.

I tried to be consistent with the captions. It’s not really easy when you’re trying to put this together as quickly as possible so it doesn’t get dated. I hope I at least got everyone’s names right.

By the way, you’ll note I use “Gymnastics” and “Track & Field”. I’m a traditionalist; I don’t believe in “Artistic Gymnastics”, and “Athletics” means ALL sporting activities. To keep things a bit simpler for myself, I lumped a few categories together. If a bicycle is used, it’s “Cycling”, and if it’s in a boat with oars, it’s “Rowing” – no matter what the actual “Olympic” term might be.

One thing I’ve noticed poking around the medals table is that the smaller and (let’s face it) poorer countries – the ones at the bottom of the medals table – tend to win medals in sports like taekwondo and judo. I think that this might be that those sports don’t really require a lot of equipment or specialized training facilities. And they have several weight classes. So those countries have a better chance at being competitive in those sports with the larger, wealthier countries. It might be worth further study.

With regards to the music, something like this slide show needs music that’s lively, uptempo, and “celebratory”, if you will. I also wanted something from Brazil. There’s a lot of good bossa nova, samba, and jazz music out there, but the pieces generally aren’t long enough. I’m not good enough at music editing to knit together two or three songs. Most of the jazz is of a slower, relaxed tempo anyway.

In classical music, the one Brazilian composer most people have heard of is Hector Villa-Lobos. I listened to some of his work to get a feel for it; most of his work is chamber music or sonatas. Not really the sort of thing I’m looking for. Especially when I need something about seven and a half minutes or so long.

But before I had to do any real serious digging into the works of Villa-Lobos, I happened to hear the overture to Il Guarany by Antônio Carlos Gomes (1836-1896).

Bingo. A reasonably proud and bombastic piece, and of the right length.

A little reading up on Gomes and the work, and I had to use it.

Gomes was born in Campinas, Brazil, to a musical family. The success of his early works won him a royal scholarship to study in Italy. After finishing his studies in Milan he decided to write an opera based on a subject from his native land. The opera is based on an 1857 novel by José de Alencar. Set in the early 1600s, it’s a love story between an Amerindian and the daughter of a Portuguese nobleman.

Premiering in Milan in 1870, the opera was a smashing success, earning him comparisons to Rossini and Verdi. Gomes received equal praise when he returned to Brazil and the opera premiered in Rio de Janiero. Over the years, it’s stayed one of the most popular Brazilian classical works in that country.

This particular version is by the Banda Sinfônica Da Cidade Do Recife (Symphony Band of the City of Recife).

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