While we eagerly await the return of the winter sports, it’s important to remember that the summer Olympics are a whole other ballgame. Yes, we will get a chance to watch the most iconic athletes from all over the world competing in spectacular winter sports like figure skating and skiing, but the summer Olympics are about so much more.
The summer Olympics are about the future of our sport. It’s about discovering young talent and giving them the opportunity to showcase their skills and talents. It’s about inspiring an entire generation. It’s about making the Olympics relevant for the modern day. It’s about making the greatest show on earth relevant for our time. This year, the theme is “Inspire and Celebrate” and the motto is “Together, Active, Inclusive, Equitable and Sustainable”. Let’s take a minute to appreciate all that the summer Olympics have to offer.
The Future Of Our Sport
For years, the winter Olympics were the only real alternative for fans who couldn’t attend the annual World Cup circuit. The winter Olympics are about discovering young talent and giving them the opportunity to showcase their skills and talents. The games are about inspiring an entire generation and making the games relevant for the modern day.
But now that we have the World Cup circuit, fans can experience the thrills of an entire season of world-class skiing without having to rely on the British climate. It used to be that if you were a ski fan, there was only one place you could go – the winter Olympics. But now that the season is longer and the snowfall more sporadic, the World Cup is a viable alternative. And what a fine alternative it is.
Take Canada’s Vincent Hancock for example. The 26-year-old is a two-time Olympian and has been a part of some of the biggest and most memorable events. In 2018 he won the silver medal in the men’s giant slalom.
But it wasn’t always easy for Hancock. A couple of years ago, he was working as a ski instructor in his home country of Canada when he decided to throw everything he had into one final, Olympic-worthy season. He wanted to prove to himself and others that he could still compete at a high level, despite his age.
“When I was younger, I always wanted to be an Olympian. It’s something that just has always been in the back of my mind,” Hancock told the Associated Press. “I had opportunities to compete at the World Cup level when I was younger, but chose to focus on school and graduating. After Graduation, I decided to give it a go. I decided to put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak, and try to make the Olympics as a last hurrah.”
Hancock finished third at the World Cup circuit last year, taking home $165,000 in prize money. But this year he proved everybody wrong.
“I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people did not see this coming,” Hancock’s coach, Peter Russell, said. “Even I was surprised by how well he did.”
While we’re used to seeing top skiers win multiple gold medals at the winter Olympics, this is probably the first time we’ve ever seen somebody win a gold medal at the summer Olympics and then go on to take home the bulk of the money from the World Cup season. We’re going to see more than one Canadian emerge as a star in the coming years.
Showscapes & Designs
The 2018 winter Olympics were a spectacular event to behold. Pyeongchang, South Korea was magnificent in every way and the range of showscapes and designs reflected the spirit of the games. Host cities have the unique privilege of choosing the design of the Olympic rings, which can be incorporated into everything from athletes’ uniforms to the buildings and infrastructure surrounding the games. The Pyeongchang Olympics were the first to feature an inside-outside track layout, with the rings spiraling around the entire perimeter of the arena.
We’re used to seeing traditional Japanese aesthetics in the design of the Olympic rings, with Mount Fuji as the central image and a chrysanthemum flower as the emblem. But there was more than one design proposed for the Pyeongchang Olympics, with one designer even proposing a depiction of a taco, in reference to the host country’s national dish.
Although the Olympics are about showcasing the best of sport, the event also has a cultural side, with thousands of fans and tourists flocking to see the sights and catch a game or two, as well as buy some traditional Korean culture, like kimchi and beer. This blending of sport and culture is something we’ve never seen before, and it was a feature of both the winter and summer Olympics. Maybe even tacos and beer will feature on the menu in the coming years.
Skiing has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, which saw some great events at the Winter Olympics, including the gold medal performances by Chloe Massary in the women’s freeride and Arielle Grimaud in the men’s slalom. Massary became the first Frenchwoman to win a gold medal in 52 years and the first in the history of the Summer Olympics.
But it wasn’t just the medals that made for an exciting Winter Olympics. The French ski federation even decided to spice things up a bit, by incorporating hip, young culture into their events. They had a DJ and a snowboarder who incorporated techno music into their sets.
We saw a similar trend in the 2018 Winter Olympics, with athletes incorporating different musical genres into their performance, from techno to classical music. This is a trend that will continue at the next winter Olympics in Japan.
Inspire & Celebrate
Inspire is one of the four themes the summer Olympics are based on. It refers to the ability of sport to inspire creative thinking and inspire change. The motto for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing is “Inspire and Celebrate” – a great way to sum up what the summer Olympics are all about.
The theme is carried over into the events themselves, with the venues reflecting the artistic and cultural aspects of the games. The opening and closing ceremonies will be held at the National stadium in Beijing, which is also the venue for the final competition. The stadium was designed by British architect David Gandy, who was also the architect for the Wembley Stadium, the home of English football.
North Korea will also be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Korean War this year. The country is renowned for its monumental propaganda posters and billboards depicting the great generals and leaders of this war. It is likely that we will see a lot of images of these great men when the country celebrates the 70th anniversary of their civil war.
Whatever the theme, the winter and summer Olympics are a glorious celebration of winter sport – one we can’t wait to get back to in the coming years.