I've had the television on in the background for the last few days and not once was I distracted.
Is it me? Seems I'm not alone in this feeling. Is it the commentators? Is it cuz we're not winning anything? But the ennui seems to cross national borders. There's no enthusiasm. Is it the oppressive Greek heat that's sapping the energy of our people on the scene and seeping through our television screens?
It wasn't always this way.
Via So Many Books, The Literary Olympics:
With the Olympics kicking off in Athens, the connection to the ancient Greeks has made every Bud-swilling couch potato feel somehow related to the Apollonian ideal. But we pallid, bespectacled book lovers shouldn't miss out on all the nostalgia. The world has forgotten that literary "happenings" were once an essential ingredient of all ancient athletic festivals; for those well-rounded Greek crowds, the 90-pound-weakling writers could be as compelling an attraction as the beefcake that paraded stark naked around the stadium. In fact, we should thank the first Olympics for several crucial breakthroughs in the Western literary tradition — including the pioneering act of self-promotion by a celebrity-hungry author.
Debuting at the Olympics, it turned out, was antiquity's equivalent of appearing on Oprah.
More links via The Literary Saloon:
Artists and the Olympic Games:
For the ancient Greeks, there was no separation between the idea of culture and the Olympic Games. The Games were the manifestation of a full civilization, and all aspects of culture were honored. Fine arts were elements of the ideal of the ‘all around man’ as citizen, soldier, and athlete. This concept of the ‘ideal’ was celebrated in various ways, including sculptural representations of winning athletes, often with idealization of the proportions of their physical form.
Art competitions at the Olympic Games.
From 1912 to 1948, rules of the art competition have varied, but the core of the rules remained the same. All of the entered works had to be inspired by sport, and had to be original (that is, not be published before the competition).
Art competitions have been held in the five areas of architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture. At one time or another, there were suggestions to also include dancing, film, photography or theatre, but neither of these art forms was ever included in the Olympic Games as a medal event.
Olympic medallists in art competitions. In the modern games. Really.