2012-08-13    The Olympic Games and "Add Oil!"  (加油 - Ga Yau, Jia You)


If you put "liu bo wen add oil" into Google, you'll find a most interesting article which says that the phrase "Ga Yau" was first used about 700 years ago. The Chinese phrase does not have an exact English translation.
In English, people don't call out "Add Oil", but "Go, Go, Go, Keep Going!"

The performance of athletes greatly improves when a large crown of supporters call out encouragement.
Which is why in all sports a "home game" played before a team's local supporters is always a big advantage.

This was certainly true in London. The British team surpassed all expectations and won a record number of medals.
Many of the team said how the local crowd's support gave them extra "oil"!  In fact, I have a theory that British athletes respond more than any other nationality to calls of "Add Oil!". Why?  Because British fans don't just call out "Go, Go, Go etc". They sing! They sing stirring songs, and they sing them passionately. And when "Add Oil" is put to music, even more oil is added!

As as Australian I've been trying to avoid "Brits" at this time, because Britain  won many more Olympic medals than Australia. The fierce but friendly rivalry between Britain and Australia in sport is something like that between India and Pakistan or that between the US and Canada.

Also as an Australian I've been embarrassed by the way Australians call out "Add Oil". What they call out these days is "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!" which is the same sound in Cantonese as “excrement” (?便).  No wonder the Australian men's basketball team defeated China. The Chinese team was thoroughly distracted!