And so they have begun; Rio got it’s last-minute act together and the world is now avidly and awe-edly watching the 28th Summer Olympic Games. The thrills and spills of super-human ability and endeavour is being played out on a screen somewhere right now. Inspirational, as they are meant to be. Not dirty and cheap and cheat-ridden.
But less obvious so far, is Rio’s cultural contribution (you may well have participated in London’s cultural olympiad of 2012). Alongside the physical muscular stuff the Olympic Charter (the set of rules and guidelines for the organization of the Olympic Games) states that
“The LOCOG shall organise a programme of cultural events which must cover at least the entire period during which the Olympic Village is open.”
But of course Brazil is doing the cultural thing it’s way; https://www.rio2016.com/cultura/en
In the build up to the opening there were reports of some visible cultural works;
Brazilian graffiti artist Eduardo Kobra has attempted a Guinness World Record for the largest mural created by one artist inspired by depictions of the Olympic Rings
Whilst French statement artist JR has built these 2 immense installations (using canvas and scaffolding) in commemoration of the city’s games. JR has history here, in 2009 as part of his Women are Heroes project he pasted huge female faces on to the walls and roofs of a favela to give women a visual presence.
Watch: 10 best Olympics films. Cool Runnings is probably the favourite here – the quintessential underdog movie about Jamaican bobsledders, it’s the ideal combination of funny, goofy, and uplifting and made a whole generation know about and care about bobsledding.
Listen: Recommended podcasts recalling past games – http://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcastplaylist/5-historical-podcasts-on-the-olympic-games-1.3693635
Read: Sport-writing often stands out. This is non-fictional work in a league of it’s own and the Olympics has inspired some of the best writing;
10 Books on the Greatest Olympic Moments of All Time – https://www.bookish.com/articles/10-books-on-the-greatest-olympic-moments-of-all-time/
and 10 best books about the Olympics – Daily Telegraph
For more literary interpretations try these novels inspired by a range of sports: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/aug/05/best-books-for-olympics-john-dugdale
Look (or buy): From poster to canvas Olympics inspired art is available to view in various ways;
47 Artworks Inspired by the Olympics curated by SAATCHI ART
BRILLIANT BRAZIL: A RIO OLYMPICS INSPIRED COLLECTION – eclectic find this; hand-picked original art curated by one-of-a-kind emporium, Culture Label.
Official Olympics posters have been around since the 1912 Games in Stockholm. Selected by the Organising Committee to embody the spirit of the host country and live on as souvenirs once the games are over. Brazil commissioned 13 official posters for the Rio de Janeiro Games by a diverse roster of 12 Brazilian artists and one Colombian to showcase its diversity.
PS – Art Competitions were held at the Olympics 1912 to 1948. The winners of the competitions were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals, similar to the winners of the athletic competitions. The events were inspired by Pierre de Coubertin, who wished to meld the competitions in sports with competitions in the arts. The art competions were dropped from the Olympic program because of the difficulty of determining the amateur status of the artists. http://olympic-museum.de/art/artcompetition.htm
Featured image: Juarez Machade, Official poster – Olimpiadas Rio 2016