Olympic Medal Efficiency By Country

     We took a look at the countries with the top 20 overall medal count (As of the end of August 17, 2016) to see how they compare in terms of their population.  We found some interesting results.  There are currently only 4 countries that have a better than a 1 medal / 1 million people ratio: New Zealand, Denmark, Hungary, and Australia. 

German Football Games at the Goethe Institut (German Cultural Center)

My favorite embassy events in Washington, DC actually take place at the German Cultural Center downtown.  My first experience watching games at the Goethe Institut came in in June of 2012 during the EUFA Euro Championships, broadcast live from Poland and the Ukraine.  As a football fan in general, and fan of the German National team, I wasn’t sure what to expect when a friend sent me the notification that the games would be broadcast live at the Goethe Institut.  I had pictured a sparsely populated watch party, and thought of a room full of German businessmen in suits quietly watching the games. 

As I walked over to my first game I realized right away that this preconception was going completely off.  Walking down 7th St. toward the Verizon Center I saw a line already formed, with probably 50-100 people already waiting to get in (and this was 30 minutes before game time), German national team jerseys and scarves at the ready.  I realized how poorly prepared I was for this game as I noticed that besides the German team gear, everyone seemed to be equipped with plenty of beer, German and otherwise.  Talking to people in line I learned that many people had a connection to Germany in some way, former Foreign Service workers, people who had studied abroad there, etc., but plenty of others who were purely just football fans. 

About 10 minutes before game time the line was let in and we were led upstairs into the event space, which I learned later hosts art exhibitions, lectures, and a variety of other events besides football games.   As soon as the game started the crowd started chanting German football songs and the party was in full force.  The first German game was against a Portugal team that had barely made the tournament over Sweden but the game was a close 1-0 win for the Germans, on a goal by the very un-German-like named Mario Gomez.  The loudest cheers of the day came on the Gomez goal but also every time Angela Merkel was shown on TV.  At the end of the game I knew I was hooked.

I ended up going to every German game during the tournament at the Goethe Institut.  German wins over the Netherlands and Denmark led to the knockout stages.  The quarter-finals saw a great 4-2 German win over Greece to set up a meeting in the semis with Italy, who had just beaten England on penalty kicks.  The match didn’t go the way the crowd had hoped sadly, with Mario Balotelli scoring 2 great goals in the 2-1 victory for Italy. 

Since the 2012 Euros I’ve been back to the Goethe Institut for countless games and other events, bringing new friends with me every time.  I’ve watched everything from the Champions League Final in 2013 that featured 2 German teams, to this years US Women’s World Cup game vs. Germany.  I’ve also seen numerous films in their theater during Filmfest DC.  I had been in DC for several years before attending my first football game at the Goethe Institut and I couldn't be happier that I found this cultural gem downtown. 

Matthew W., Washington, DC

My first embassy event at the Embassy of Chile

            My favorite embassy to visit for events is the Embassy of Chile, on Massachusetts Avenue close to 17th Street NW.  They have a wonderful gallery space on the main floor and they always have great exhibitions with the themes and types of art always changing, from paintings to charcoal drawings, traditional to modern. 

“Untitled” (Resin, pigment, enamel on panel wood, 2012) – artwork by Pablo Jansana

“Untitled” (Resin, pigment, enamel on panel wood, 2012) – artwork by Pablo Jansana

            My first visit to the Embassy of Chile was for an art exhibition back in December of 2012 when I first moved to Washington.  The exhibition was titled, “VISIBLE ARCHITECTS: New Chilean Art at a Global Crossroads”, and the show featured works by contemporary Chilean artists living in New York City with most of the artist present in person to answer questions about their works.  The artists themselves were wonderfully accommodating, despite a few minor language barriers, and were very generous in explaining how they conceptualized and executed the pieces in the show.

            Another great surprise from the evening, and a treat every time I return for exhibitions at the Embassy of Chile, was their offering of Chilean wines during the exhibition, both whites and reds.  On my first visit, shortly after my arrival, waiters suddenly appeared with trays of wine glasses.  I was not only impressed with the generosity but with the impressive quality of the wines being served.  As somebody new to DC this was the sort of event I had always pictured.  I was essentially visiting a foreign country only minutes from my apartment and their staff could not have been more friendly and welcoming.  I look forward to returning every time I see events posted at the embassy. 

Michael S., Washington, DC