i was once an olympian

3 Aug

I was once an Olympian, competing in the 2006 World Choir Olympics in Xiamen, China with the International Children’s Choir (ICC). Being a Choir Olympian is nowhere as cool as being a real athletic Olympian and watching the Olympics, especially London 2012 makes me wish I were an Olympian.

If I could compete in any Olympic sport, I would choose gymnastics and snowboarding. I remember watching gymnastics on TV, then begging my mom to allow me to take gymnastics. It took a lot of convincing and while taking gymnastics for several years, I worked the hardest I could, dreaming about future meets and the Olympics. My dreams ended shortly after minor ouchies, which included hitting my head on a spring board and falling in the middle of a balance beam during a cartwheel. In fear of drowning, my mom made me take swim lessons so I would know how to swim. Turns out I didn’t like being in the water and when I was told I could move on to the swim team, I freaked out and stopped taking lessons. My snowboarding story is similar to gymnastics. Again, it took a lot of convincing to learn snowboarding. After seeing Shaun White and Seth Wescott in 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, I dreamed of being a snowboard Olympian. I figured I still had time to train. Some of the boarder cross Olympians were in their early thirties. Then I realized that all these athletes started at a really young age and the Olympics were out of my reach. I can’t help but think, what would I be if I had worked really hard and continued gymnastics, swimming and snowboarding?

Watching the Olympians compete is awe-inspiring to me. I love seeing all these athletes in their best element. These athletes go through huge feats of hard work and sacrifice. It’s absolutely incredible, without a doubt. There is much competition among the best of the best. Even though everyone is fighting for the gold and glory, I think they are all heroes and winners. To be there competing with the best in the world is a huge accomplishment in itself. Being there is reaching the highest of mountains and overcoming victoriously. Not everyone can say, “I went to the Olympics” or “I was an Olympian”. The mind and body is still a wonder to me and it’s unbelievable what humans can do and achieve. During all the gymnastic events, I keep thinking to myself, “this does not look humanly possible at all” and “definitely not natural, but amazing”. I also have a great love for the Olympic spirit and true sportsmanship. Every time I see a hug in the swimming pool between different countries, I get all happy inside, knowing that even the greatest athletes can still be human, humble and loving.

With these London Games on my mind, I reminisce back on my days with the ICC in the 2006 World Choir Olympics. Going to China for the first time was one of the most eye opening experiences I’ll never forget. I learned more about my heritage and culture. The scorching temperatures along with the humidity made my body all uncomfortable and in a Chinese courtyard, I laid down on the cool floor and sang. All of us sang and sang. I wore this Miao minority costume which dyed my skin purple and always made my head severely uncomfortable and so much pain. There were lots of good times and I experienced lots of new things. I made new friends in my choir and met lots of other people from different choirs. I had never met so many people from around the world. I learned a lot about different cultures. The South African boys proved to be popular both vocally and in terms of being highly attractive. I took a picture with the hottest Hong Kong guy I had ever seen. I had moments of almost tearing up in happiness and sadness seeing the Great Wall of China and the mountains in Guilin. The experience itself was unforgettable and I wish I could take another choir tour, now that I’m older and a little wiser to appreciate it all.

For now, I’ll have to come down to terms that being a Choir Olympian is the closest I’ll ever come to being an Olympian. Watching the Olympics on TV, tweeting my favourite athletes and hopefully one day attending an Olympic event is the closest I’ll ever be to Olympians. What I do hope is to learn from the greatness of these athletes. I want to set goals and defeat my personal records like losing weight, releasing singles, EPs and an album one step at a time.

Here is a picture from the 2006 World Choir Olympics in Xiamen, China:

(I’m the only one not raising their arms in the picture.)


13 Responses to “i was once an olympian”

  1. Frances October 18, 2012 at 10:26 #

    Sorry if this is late. You were in the ICC? Cool! I’m currently in it right now, and I love it! I heard the World Choir Games was an experience never to forget, and I did find a video when the ICC performed several songs.

    • Sum October 18, 2012 at 10:37 #

      Hey Frances,

      Yes, I was in the ICC from when I was 6 to 16 years old! I’m glad to hear you are loving choir! Which costume do you wear? I hope you guys get to go to future World Choir Games! Where did you find the videos? I would love to see!



      • Frances November 1, 2012 at 21:44 #

        I wear a costume from the Philippines (that’s where I’m from). Here is the video (it’s on a Chinese website).

      • Sum November 2, 2012 at 23:37 #

        Ahhhh! THANKS A MILLION for sending the link my way!!! I’ve been freaking out! I have never seen this video until now. Brings back so many memories. 🙂
        Nice! What does your costume look like? Have you guys performed with any famous musicians or cool events recently?

  2. Frances November 3, 2012 at 17:33 #

    We have. We have performed with the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir from South Africa, Kronos String Quartet, Jessie Clark Funk, Alex Boye, etc. We performed at the 2010-2011 New Year’s Celebration at the Tabernacle, a 9/11 Memorial Performance called Awakening, Days of ’47 in 2010, and we’re performing at the Christkindlmarkt on November 30 at This is the Place Heritage Park. It’s been great!!!!

    • Sum November 3, 2012 at 22:52 #

      Awesome!!! We sang with Alex Boye a long time ago, too. Do you follow him and ThePianoGuys on YouTube? They are amazing and I love the ‘Peponi’ rendition of Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’! I didn’t fully appreciate all the cool people we got to work with when I was younger, but looking back, all that hard work and all those experiences were unforgettable and paid off. I’m glad you are loving choir! 🙂

      • Frances November 12, 2012 at 22:02 #

        Sorry if I’m late on the response; I’ve been busy. I love Alex Boye and The Piano Guys! I also really enjoy other music as well, especially the Vienna Boys’ Choir (Wiener Sängerknaben), the Drakies (Drakensberg Boys’ Choir), MoTab, musicals, opera, and more. I recently just found another video from the World Choir Games with the ICC (Praise His Holy Name): http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTQzNjgyOTA4.html (it’s unfortunately not professionally filmed like the other one). I also really like your music!

        By the way, did you sing Schubert’s “Serenade” (Zögernd Leise) at the World Choir Games?

      • Sum November 13, 2012 at 01:11 #

        Thank you for sending me the link! I hardly remember singing on that stage. It was so weird for me to watch and not really recognize myself in the video! How do you find all of these videos? I tried searching on YouTube and Google, but I don’t find anything. Now that you ask me, I don’t remember if I sang “Serenade” at the World Choir Games. I know I sang that song lots of times, but I can’t remember. What songs do you guys sing now? By the way, we should totally hang out. I would love to meet you in person! 🙂

      • Sum November 13, 2012 at 01:12 #

        p.s. Also, thank you for your kind words about my music! 🙂

      • Frances November 13, 2012 at 20:47 #

        I just Google translated “International Children’s Choir World Choir Games” in Chinese, and I just saw the videos. By the way, do you have Facebook?

        We sing songs like Delibes “Flower Duet” from “Lakmé”, “Winter was Hard” (in Swedish), “Let Him In” (an original song we recorded for Honor White Stone – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/honorwhitestone (We also recorded “Christmastime”, “Christmas Eve”, and “Away in a Manger”). We’ve also sung “We are the World”, “Each One, Teach One”, “Alma Llanera”, “Mata del Anima Sola”, “Te Quiero”, Yes, we still sing “Serenade”, “La Carita”, “Ah! Si Mon Moine Voulait Danser”, “Salama Ya Salama”, “Dormi Dormi”, “Vesi Vasyy Lumen Alle”, “Dixit Dominus”, a birthday medley (for the twentieth birthday of the choir), and more!

      • Sum November 13, 2012 at 22:11 #

        I never thought of that. How clever of you! 🙂 YES! I just added you on facebook. Thanks for ‘liking’ me! haha I feel so awkward saying that. I have never heard of any of those songs you mentioned at the beginning of the list. The holiday songs must have been fun to record. Every time I hear a children’s choir, I totally want to be in one again. haha! I have to hear all of these now. Has the choir released a new CD lately?

  3. Frances May 15, 2013 at 21:05 #

    Hey again. I have no access to Facebook right now, and before I forget, do you have any video recordings of the ICC singing Schubert’s Serenade. Thanks

    • Sum May 16, 2013 at 00:29 #

      I wish I had video recordings! Unfortunately, I grew up in the era before smart phones and before technology allowed us to record everything and instantly upload videos on YouTube, the internet and all. I might have an audio recording of Serenade on a cassette though. I feel old saying all this. Sorry!

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