Suomi hockey team beats Slovenska for bronze at 2010 Jeux Olympiques

Finland beats Slovakia for 3rd placeWhat does it say across the front of the Finnish hockey jersey “SUOMI?” Is that an acronym or an internet initialism? While it could be enthusiasm for Olympic mascot Sumi, Suomi is Finnish/Saami for what they call their country. Apparently the Finns didn’t get the memo about bringing Olympic text into uniform English-compliance.

Swedish jerseys use the abbreviation SWE for example, even though they spell their name Sverige. Similarly Austria, AUT, which otherwise goes by Österreich, and Japan, who spell it Nippon.

Norge, Polska, Nederland, España, Schweitz/Suisse, Belarus, Latvija and Kasakctah are perhaps close enough not to confuse American television viewers. Other hold outs are Hungary’s Magyarország, Germany’s Deutschland, and Russia’s ?????? -even the Asian nations know to romanize their Olympic alphabet. When in Rome, even the Greeks speak English.

It amazes me that American interviewers expect Olympic athletes to speak English. Where they don’t, their names don’t even get a mention. South Korean speed skaters are referred to only as “the Koreans.” Chinese free-style ski jumpers were given English nicknames so their “Chenglish”-speaking American coach could tell them apart.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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2 Responses to Suomi hockey team beats Slovenska for bronze at 2010 Jeux Olympiques

  1. Avatar Brother Jonah says:

    Yeah, I saw one of their sweatshirts hanging up at the ARC store a couple of years ago. Suomi. It’s laid out like a college sweatshirt.

    Even the Royal Crest on it looks collegiate. Now (mostly because it’s 4 a.m. and I haven’t had my coffee yet) I wonder about its provenance, how it came a quarter of the way around the world to end up in a thrift store in the middle of Greater Redneckistan.

  2. Avatar Brother Jonah says:

    The Cherokee Nation or perhaps a broader group like AIM ought to field an Olympic team in 2012.

    Jim Thorpe leaps to mind. From the wiki:

    Thorpe was raised as a Sac and Fox, and his native name was Wa-Tho-Huk,

    It means “Shining Path”. I can easily see where that would create a little bit of a stir.

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