Cheering the Olympics: it’s all about the syllables, not the country

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Scott McGrewI had the opportunity to attend some Olympic events back when it was in Salt Lake City. If you have ever been to the Olympics, you know tickets can be hard to get – you basically attend whatever event for which you can find tickets.

Which is how my son Zach and I found ourselves at a hockey game between Finland and Belarus. Sure, we would have loved to cheer on the good old USA, but those tickets were sold out.

Obviously, you can’t attend a sporting event without cheering for someone, so we had to choose between two countries we knew very little about.

We chose Finland for three reasons: First, there was a guy selling Finnish flags on the street corner, and we bought one. Second, the government of Belarus is not very nice. Third, Finnish women fans are total babes.

This was a mistake. As it turns out, if you’re faced with choosing to cheer for a team, pick the one with three syllables, regardless of its human rights record. It just “cheers” better. Dictator, smchimkator.

Say it out loud with me: Bel-a-ROOS! Bel-a-ROOS!! See how good that sounds? With a good part of the stadium chanting that, it sounded really powerful. Just think about another three syllable country: USA. We all know how good THAT sounds when you chant it. U! S! A!

Compare Bel-a-ROOS to chanting our choice, “Finland.” Do you put the stress on the first syllable or the second? FIN-land? Fin-LAND? You find yourself adding an “a” just for the rhythm: Fin-a-land. China has the same problem. CHI-nuh! Chi-NUH! Just doesn’t sound as good as Bel-a-ROOS!

And France, God help us. Never, ever try to cheer for a one syllable country.

The three syllable rule incidentally, is why the country of Central African Republic never gets any cheers. CEN-tral Af-RI-can Re-PUB-lic! You give up after a few tries – it’s just exhausting.

So there you go, your guide to picking sides in the Olympics (when USA isn’t playing, of course).

Scott McGrew
NBC Bay Area Business & Tech Reporter

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One Response to “Cheering the Olympics: it’s all about the syllables, not the country”

  1. Keane Says:

    N-B-C!

    hmm… 🙂

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