Each class got to select a country to represent. His class was team France. The kids made giant flags, sprayed their hair and painted their faces to show team spirit. My boy opted for a half red, half blue combo making his hair more clown-like than usual. It was awesome.
As a little sidebar, I offered to help paint faces prior to the big event. When I first heard that my boy's class was going to be team France, I thought it would be fun to give all the boy's a French-style mustache. In addition to dozens of French flags, I happily drew mustaches on a few of their faces, my boy included.
To my shock, his teacher flipped her lid. Apparently I had crossed the line with my application of pseudo facial hair. I apologized and offered to remove the whiskers with a baby wipe but she declined my offer. Cranky old spoilsport.
Thankfully, this minor altercation was not enough to spoil the afternoon.
While all the parents waited eagerly in the stands, the classes representing France, Greece, Honduras, Jamaica and Italy marched into the gym, flags waving, while the olympic theme song played. Then a group of kids sang the National Anthem to officially start the games.
The students got to compete in a variety of winter olympic events... everything from speed skating, hockey, one and two-man bobsled, luge and many more. They use scooters, roller racers, mushroom paddles, carpet squares, hula hoops and a variety of other equipment. To keep things fair, boys raced against boys, and girls against girls.
Each event had two rounds. During the qualifying rounds, five boys and five girls from a single class would compete to see which team member would advance to the finals. The top qualifiers then went head-to-head in the main event.
Students would earn points for their team based on how they placed in each event. After all the events had been finished, the points were tallied and the winners were announced. My boy's class came in third.
I have to tell you that I was really impressed by how all of the kids behaved. I did not see one single instance of poor sportsmanship. Everyone happily cheered for both their own teammates and those representing the other classes. Even in defeat, the kids were jubilant.
When my boy looks back on his time spent in elementary school, I know that the 5th Grade Olympics will be one of his fondest memories. Mine too.