Tuesday, February 13, 2018


"According to historical records, the first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 BC. They were dedicated to the Olympian gods and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia. They continued for nearly 12 centuries, until Emperor Theodosius decreed in 393 A.D. that all such 'pagan cults' be banned. Olympia, the site of the ancient Olympic Games, is in the western part of the Peloponnese which, according to Greek mythology, is the island of ;Pelops', the founder of the Olympic Games. Imposing temples, votive buildings, elaborate shrines and ancient sporting facilities were combined in a site of unique natural and mystical beauty. Olympia functioned as a meeting place for worship and other religious and political practices as early as the 10th century B.C. The central part of Olympia was dominated by the majestic temple of Zeus, with the temple of Hera parallel to it."

A Global History of the Olympics
By David Goldblatt
"Because sports are a religion, it’s difficult to imagine a world without the Olympics, and to be sure, they have given us many glorious moments. It would be easy to conclude that the Olympic 'movement' has lost its way since the time of Coubertins lofty vision, but that, as Goldblatt demonstrates, would be to rewrite history, since the idea of a clean and easy way to achieve peace through sport was a benevolent myth in the first place."

The opening of the 1936 Olympic Games, taken from the film Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl.

 "In 1978, Riefenstahl published a book of her sub-aquatic photographs called Koralleng√§rten ("Coral Gardens"), followed by the 1990 book Wunder unter Wasser ("Wonder under Water"). In her 90s, Riefenstahl was still photographing marine life and gained the distinction of being one of the world's oldest scuba divers. On 22 August 2002, her100th birthday, she released the film Impressionen unter Wasser ("Underwater Impressions"), an idealized documentary of life in the oceans and her first film in over 25 years. Riefenstahl was a member of Greenpeace for eight years."
(1 hour)
9-25 February 2018
I watched the entire four hour extravagant opening broadcasting live on Channel 4 Friday night till nearly 4AM (with captions so as not to disturb neighbors). I've since read criticisms of some of her commentary, but Katie Couric did a great job of translating and explaining the Korean symbolism of colors, designs and meanings for some of the set ups! It was way over the top and I thought of our Mr.Ts competitive leanings, like his current desire for a BIG military parade...thought of people starving all over the planet in relation to the actual cost of these theatricals...thought back through the decades to that infamous German Olympiad moment. Non the less, I was touched by the tiny countries in the line up, those with one or two competitors and by the individual athletes with their amazing dedication. It was a perfect propaganda event and the message of peace and unity was undeniably effective irregardless of the reality of differing agendas and life as it's actually lived at ground level.
It's addictive. Not naive hope for some fairy tale future, but hope as a tenacious belief in the goodness we wish for. Hope as a shield against the easy out of cynicism. After all, how did some people survive the horrors of events? How did some live to forgive?
I think, not by cynicism.

 This morning I asked myself
"What do you know about Korea?"

When was Korea divided?

 "What do you remember about the Korean war?"
As I recall, war was never declared and the conflict was considered a police action throughout 1950 to "1953, when an armistice was signed. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea and allowed the return of prisoners. However, no peace treaty has been signed, and according to some sources the two Koreas are technically still at war."
What is a Frozen conflict?





Mo Crow said...

when the Olympics were hosted here in Sydney in 2000 the atmosphere was amazing as if someone had put happiness in the water, it was contagious!

Anonymous said...

I didn’t watch the opener yet but have it recorded. Reading your description makes me want to. Reading your blog helps me live by hope instead of cynicism, BTW (even when I don’t follow all the links).