Proud to be an American

Perry Township’s Jerry Karwowski shares his experience at the 2018 Olympic Games

Jerry Karwoski met many residents of South Korea, including this man who spoke about how much he appreciates the assistance America has offered to his country. *Submitted photos

Perry Township resident Jerry Karwowski has been to a dozen Olympic Games, but this year his trip to PyeongChang County, South Korea from Feb. 11 to 22 made him truly proud to be an American.

All of the trips, “are totally different because of the culture, the food,” he said. “It’s not really all about just going to see the event, it’s everything surrounding it. All the entertainment: the parades, the celebration of the medals, the exhibits, the cultural displays, snow sculptures. This was quite prominent at many locations.”

Karwowski enjoys getting a taste of the culture during his trips, taking the time to talk to other tourists and local residents and sometimes even taking photos with his newfound friends.

“There’s a picture of me with an older man with a dark complexion,” he said. “He mentioned, ‘it’d be an honor for me to have you take a picture because thanks to you and your American friends that were here to help us get democracy, I can’t start to tell you how grateful our country, our family and friends are.’”

Karwowski attended five Olympic events: men’s large hill ski jump, women’s luge, men’s aerial freestyle gold medal skiing, women’s gold medal luge, men’s Super-G alpine skiing.

Karwowski snapped this picture women’s gold medal luge during the 2018 Olympic Games.

“I had dinner a couple hours before the ski jump event with a man from the Ukraine with his wife who was from Moscow and the child who spoke very good English,” Karwowski said. “They were telling us about how one of their favorites was from the Ukraine, and sure enough he got the gold medal. So afterwards, at a party from the venue, we ran across them. They said ‘you brought us good luck.’ They were all fired up.”

When he wasn’t at the events, Karwowski spent some time sightseeing, at hospitality houses or experiencing the entertainment surrounding the Olympics.

“They had a big display area, taste the food of Korea,” he said. “A lot of it was samples and if you liked it, you could buy the food. The food, I really felt good physically and mentally when I was there. Everything they eat is fresh. They don’t have the added preservatives and chemicals. It’s good food, period. … One thing led to another, and I was asked if I’d like to be on this cooking show. I was sitting down and stir frying sticky rice. Next thing I know, this lady said ‘do you mind if you’re on TV?’ Someone took a picture and she said this would be on in the evening.”
Traveling tends to prove how small the world truly is. Karwoski began speaking with a brewmaster at the Czech Republic House, who mentioned he had been in Arizona five years ago. After some time, Karwowski found out the brewmaster and his son who is in the beverage business had met one another in Arizona.

The 11-day trip gave Karwowski so many memories, but the biggest thing he takes from each trip come from his interaction with the people – the overall friendliness and excitement to share in this worldwide experience.

“Every two years, for 16 days, the Olympics turn into Camelot,” he said. “It’s a perfect world. People from different colors, creeds and races, they’re all talking and learning from their differences. The rain only happens at night. It’s clear in the morning. For the athletes, it’s a dream of theirs come true, just being there. It’s gravy if they win a medal.”