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Hmm. Interesting.

Posted on 2010.30.01 at 16:47
where am I: please warm up, rhode island!
How I feel about it all: curioushmmm
Tags: , , , , ,
I've been a fan of the Winter Olympics since I was a kid (not so much the summer ones, because I'm not all that interested in watching gymnastics or swimming or running, stuff like that).

I love the Luge and the bobsleds and the hockey (without fighting!) and especially, especially the figure skating--ironic because I've never been able to do much more than stand up and wobble my ankles while on skates. A complex skill--like, say, stopping, for instance--is totally beyond my level of expertise.

Annnyway, over the past few years I've been hearing all these bad things about the Olympics, like the way the homeless are displaced how the IOC is evil and the Olympics are more about sexism and homophobia and corporate greed than about peace and love and gold medals, and that environmentally and a bunch more other ways, the Olympics basically suck. And this year, the Olympic resisters are adding one more thing--they're saying that the venues where the games will be played are on land stolen from indigenous peoples.

It all sounds pretty incriminating, so I've decided to investigate. I'm still at square one, basically, but I wanted to share a talk I found that not only makes sense to me but also talks a lot about the history of activism in sport, which I'd really like to know more about--people like Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, and a whole bunch of others.

So here's the talk: The hidden history of activism in sport. The speaker is David Zirin, sports writer for The Nation.

I'd really like to know what you guys think about the whole argument, pro-or anti-Olympics. Feel free to give me links, ideas, arguments pro or con.

I'm planning to watch this year either way, but maybe by the time I get done investigating, I'll decide not to, or not to in four years (like I said, I don't really like the Summer Games that much, but that really has nothing to do with anything political). It looks bad, but I have to see for myself.

Comments:


exbex
exbex at 2010-01-31 03:06 (UTC) ()
I started to have mis-givings about the Olympics during the Beijing Olympics, when I was reading about how Beijing residents were getting kicked out of their homes and about how China has shipped weapons of genocide to Darfur (it's not any culture I have a beef with, it's governments). I shared these misgivings with people and got a lot of "the Olympics is about the world coming together, politics should be put aside, blah blah blah..." I couldn't put my politics aside, and as this talk has revealed, everything is wrapped up in politics.
I tongued Hugh Dillon once.
callumvixen at 2010-01-31 03:41 (UTC) ()
I've been feeling it for a few years now [I live in Vancouver, near one of the skiing venues], what with road and building and venue construction and all the associated local news and planning and such. Really feeling it now with road closures, lots of interesting foreigners in the city, massive security presence, transportation challenges. Pretty head-spinning stuff to be living in. The sheer logistics is incredible. There is SO SO SO much more stuff going on here than 'just' the Winter Games - free concerts and events, theater and protests, famous people and the "Cultural Olympiad". My SiL is volunteering and she's been doing her volunteer training for this for the past couple of years.

Sure, the positive impact of the Olympics on the host city is debatable, and there are tons of people who think the money would've been better spent on health care and education and homelessness etc etc... the mood here is like walking around in a daze. But it has been pretty smooth - it's clean here, the biggest expense [from what I understand] is improving the dangerous windy highway between Vancouver and Whistler [a two hour drive] which is fantastic, and there hasn't been any real inconvenience for people living here until now. Olympic tickets, especially for the medal events, are expensive and a lot of them went to lottery because so many people wanted them. I won't be going to any events because I will be working extra hours - I work just a few blocks from the Olympic Village - but I am going to cheer for my fellow Canadians so much I am sure I will lose my voice.

Ya, a lot of it sucks, ya, it's political and so much bullshit, and ya, there are lots of protests planned here and backtalk and grumblings and whatnot. It's nowhere near perfect but it's a helluva experience. Go Canada! :)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2010-01-31 04:54 (UTC) ()
I've head about the Cultural Olympiad--not sure what it is, but I'll look it up.

What do you think about the opinion that the games are on stolen land? That's the thing that actually bothers me the most, even though the other stuff is also bothersome.

And yeah, I'm going to watch and cheer and everything else this year. And if Canada and the US are ever in a dead heat I'll be in big trouble, because I'm cheering for both countries.
I tongued Hugh Dillon once.
callumvixen at 2010-01-31 05:33 (UTC) ()
Cultural Olympiad is a giant arts event - plays, performances, art, seminars, etc, that happen at the same time as the sporting events... basically the entire city is a huge event centre!

Re: "Stolen land" - Definitely words to make people ask questions and think negatively of the Olympics. Of course the First Nations were here long before European settlers, and they got shafted for the most part. Quite often when a new community or centre or road is being built, they come forward claiming that the land is theirs or is sacred to them, etc. Fair enough. There are some really rich nations [First Nations 'tribes'] here and some that are not so rich. Some of them have casinos and make a ton of money off that. There are many reservations in the area where many First Nations people live, and many support systems in place for them, should they choose to use them. The stolen land part refers to the white man building on what they consider 'their' land, even though there's been no building on reserves or sacred spiritual sites. It's great publicity for them. My MiL works with First Nations helping them start businesses, and I have some First Nation friends, and to me the whole stolen land thing is a publicity stunt to get attention. Everyone wants a piece of the Olympics, the largest televised/publicized event in the world, and First Nations is hosting a ton of cultural events during the Olympics to show off their people and history and art. *shrug* I can only hope that some good comes of it.
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