Category: athlete names
The World Cup means many things to many people–mostly rooting for their country’s team–but to name nerds it also means a chance to sample a smorgasbord of international names. They’re all here–Slavic names, Norse names, Hispanic names, African, Asian and Anglo names…
Here’s a selection of some that we found particularly intriguing and possibly exportable, together with the team they play for (understanding that it doesn’t necessarily represent their own ethnnicity). In some soccer cultures–especially Portugal and Brazil–there’s a tradition of using only one name (one Brazilian superstar moniker I’m NOT including is Kaka, even if the accent is on the second syllable), and some of the choices below are the nicknames the players are known by.
ABOU Diaby (France)
ACHILLE Emana (Cameroon)
AURELIEN Chedjou (Cameroon)
BECARY Sagna (France)
BOJAN Jokec (Slovenia)
BROU Angoua (Ivory Coast)
BROWN Ideye (Nigeria)
DANILO Turcios (Honduras)
DANKO Lazovic (Serbia)
We’ve talked about the names of great poets and painters and musicians and worthy political and social namesakes, but one area we’ve somewhat neglected is athlete names.
The names of tennis champs are interesting because they include both genders and are international in scope. And since the US Open (then called the US Men’s Singles Championship) dates back to 1881and the Women’s to 1887, with Wimbledon starting in 1877 and the Davis Cup to 1900, there’s plenty of opportunity to look back and include some cool vintage names as well.
DAPHNE Akhurst Cozens
EVONNE Goolagong Cawley
In the wild and wooly barnstorming, daredevil days of aviation from its beginnings to World War II, there were few occupations outside the home open to women other than teaching, nursing and secretarying. That’s when a group of adventurous females—some of them girls still in their teens– took to the skies, risking their lives flying flimsy wooden aircraft in open cockpits. Often disparaged and mocked by the male pilots, there was both camaraderie and competitiveness among these flygirls as records for speed, distance and altitude were swiftly set and broken, and there was a constant succession of ‘firsts’.
Here are their names, some common and some unusual, any of which would make an admirable namesake. (btw, some of these ‘first’ claims might appear to be contradictory).
ADRIENNE Bolland, a Frenchwoman who was the first to fly across the treacherous Andes mountains.
ANESIA Pinkeiro Machado was Brazil’s first female pilot.
BERYL Markham was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.
BESSICA Medlar Raiche constructed a biplane in her living room and made her first solo flight in 1910.
Guest blogger JILL BARNETT gives out Olympic medals. No, not for the sports, silly; for the names. But before we begin, an Olympic name trivia note: Roughly 20 percent of the U.S. men’s ice hockey team is named Ryan. Why? We’re guessing the inspiration might have been the hockey-playing heartthrob played by Ryan O’Neal in Love Story.
When I was in second grade, I had figured out two things: that the Rubik’s Cube could be easily solved by simply peeling off the colored stickers and reaffixing them onto the correct squares, and that I was destined to roller skate in the Olympics. Granted, there was no artistic roller skating event, but I was confident that if just one member of the International Olympic Committee could see me doing my best Xanadu routine while wearing my new unicorn-embossed roller skates with fuzzy pink pom-poms, he or she would recognize the need to include it in future Olympiads.
Being firmly grounded in reality, however, I soon realized that my gold medal dreams would more likely be realized by transferring my exemplary roller skating skills (I could skate backwards and forwards, and when I needed to stop, I’d gracefully dive into the grass) onto the ice. I would become a figure skater–the next Dorothy Hamill–and after a brief stop at the Olympics, I’d join her in the Ice Capades, or better yet, become a cast member of Disney on Ice!
With my new ice skating obsession, I was naturally fixated on the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics, rooting for Rosalynn Sumners as she skated her way to the women’s silver medal, and cheering on Scott Hamilton as he won the men’s figure skating gold. I even stayed glued to the TV long enough to watch other events such as skiing, speed skating, curling (which I affectionately call “shuffleboard on ice”) and bobsledding, which of course inspired me to ride a greased cookie sheet down the hill in front our house and into oncoming traffic.
And even though my ice skating dreams quickly melted after I crashed into a wall at my friend Monica’s fourth grade skating party (I never quite grasped the concept of braking), I’ve continued to faithfully view the Winter Olympics on television every four years. But it’s not only the sporting events that I enjoy; I also love to hear the athletes’ names!
They’re all Americans. OK, that’s a start.
They all have great names. That’s also true.
They had inspirational lives? Also correct.
But what links this Depression-era photographer (Evans), former slave (Truth), and Southern writer (O’Connor) with people named Journey, Amble, or Voyage? Names like Strider, Skip, March, Hiker, Pacer, Saunter, Trek, Ramble, Lane, Pike, Track, Racer, Skipper, Dash, Lane, Streeter, Strada (Italian for ‘street’) also fit the bill.
Still stumped? Saunter, in French, is Flanerie. Mais oui, c’est vrai. (Translation: but yes, it’s true!)
And Saunter, we learn from Thoreau in his 1850s essay, Walking, has its etymological origins in the Middle Ages, “from idle people who roved about the country…and asked charity, under pretence of going à la Sainte Terre“—to the holy land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer”, a saunterer—a holy-lander….
Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere.” At home anywhere.
If I could choose a single identity for myself, it would be that. A saunterer, at home anywhere. And everywhere. In fact, that urge to walk the world and see it up close and from the ground is what got me started on My Big Walk, a year-long daily walking project that I’m chronicling on my new blog.