IOC · Media Coverage

Can You Handle All Olympics All the Time?

Welcome to 2017! We’re just about a year away from the next Winter Olympics, which means our case of Olympic Fever–which had ebbed quite a bit, as can be the case with event fevers–is starting to make a reappearance. This means we’re back in action here on TheFeverr and will be posting more frequently.

The IOC probably would wonder why our fever ever subsided–after all, shouldn’t everyone be concerned with the Olympics 24/7/365? I’m not sure even an Olympic athlete can do that, to be honest, but the IOC is going to try to capture more of our eyeball time anyway. To do so, it’s launched the Olympic Channel, which is a mix of features, replays and original programming that’s available online and via app and–it’s hoping–partnerships with the networks to feature it on terrestrial television

Currently, the features are a bunch of Rio Replays of various sport highlights, as well as highlights from Rio, Sochi, London, Vancouver, Beijing, and the Youth Olympic Games. The IOC has partnered with different sporting organizations to show their major events. Video news rounds out the main categories.

The channel actually has a lot of original content, so from time to time we’ll look at some of its shows and let you know if they’re worth checking out, or if you should stick to the clip highlights to get your Olympic fix.

Transform My Meal (currently 16 episodes)

In this show, chefs help Olympic athletes transform their eating habits from boring to gourmet. I watched two episodes, thinking we’d learn about Olympian nutrition and what athletes in different sports eat on a regular basis. The show does show that a little bit–it talks about how the body needs to perform to be successful in the sport being featured, but it’s really a cooking show where a big time chef takes one staple meal in the athlete’s repertoire and shows them how to cook something that’s similar but 20 times fancier. Of course, the new meal looks and tastes a lot better, and the athlete is totally impressed with what they could be doing in their kitchens. The thing is that you can see see they’re never really going to try cooking like that on a regular basis because those meals usually take a lot of time to prepare, which can cut into the rest of life (and for a small sport, that likely includes having a job outside of training).

The show’s kind of interesting, but ultimately disappointing because I was expecting more education about athletic nutrition and I got a highly chopped up cooking show that barely showed me how to make a specific recipe.

My rating: OO (two rings out of five)

I probably wouldn’t watch the rest of it unless I was really hurting for content (and who’s hurting for content these days?), and that’s saying something, considering that I like cooking shows.

Hitting the Wall (currently 12 episodes)

This show takes “fitness-minded social influencers” who poo-poo some Olympians’ fitness regimes and sees if they can actually train like an Olympian. Hey, guess what? In the two episodes I saw (fencing and curling), the influencers were blown away by the difficulty of the workouts and gained a new-found respect for the Olympians and their sports. Shocking!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that every episode is going to have the same outcome, and that’s pretty lame. However, it is pretty cool to get a glimpse into the skills needed for different sports and see a little bit of the workouts necessary to build those skills. I say “a little bit” because these shows are heavy on the stylistic editing that gets in the way of laying down a lot of facts. This means you can’t get a full sense of what a day is like, but you do see some really cool exercises to try and use in your own workouts.

My rating: OOOO (four rings out of five)

I do hope to catch more episodes of this show because it’s kind of helpful in learning the exercises that help you develop certain skills like balance and quick reflexes. Even though the gimmick of the influencer gaining mad respect gets tired quickly, it’s fun to see someone who’s in shape try a routine that’s out of their comfort zone and see how taxing it is.

 

2020 · Cultural Olympiad · Tokyo 2020

Tokyo’s Other Olympiad

While the Tokyo government is proposing some pretty hefty changes to some venues for 2020, another element of its hosting duties recently kicked off: The Cultural Olympiad.

For about the next four years, the Tokyo Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Arts Council Tokyo and Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. are going to present a bunch of cultural events to showcase the area’s artistry to the world. This is tied in with the IOC’s Olympic Charter that says one of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism is that sport can’t exist all on its own. No, Olympism combines sport with culture and education. Sounds like a lofty principle created by a gentleman, right?

Regardless, the Olympics aren’t supposed to just be about athletes. It’s supposed to remind us to be well-rounded, and a multi-year cultural program can provide exposure to the arts in a way that the IOC would applaud (also, in thinking about being an Olympic host city, it’s another cost that one may not really realize when one thinks about hosting the Olympics).

At any rate, look to Tokyo to produce some interesting events. The kickoff tipped its cap to the roots of Japanese culture with a Sanbaso dance, a historical tradition of Noh and kyogen that’s hundreds of years old, with cherry blossom petals that rained down across the audience.

Not all events will be steeped in history, so it will be interesting to see what’s up Tokyo’s cultural sleeve that fills out our program for Olympism in 2020.

Olympic cities · Olympic venues · Sarajevo 1984 · Winter Olympics

Old Venues, Not Dead Venues

Because it’s an Olympic year–and because Rio 2016 had budget problems–we had to go through another round of Venue Talk: They’ll Never Be Used Again (What a Waste of Money).

It’s a topic that I understand is very true, but it’s also one that I think is a little blown out of proportion. Sure, there is a real problem with massive venues built for the Olympics and then never (or rarely) used again, but there is a lot of venue reuse–or, venues being brought back to life.

Case in point, the bobsled and luge track in Sarajevo. Just Google “abandoned Olympic venues” and you’ll invariably see the carnage from the 1984 Winter Olympics, which war brought about.

Unfortunately, those articles will stick around in web searches (and other bloggers are going to find them and repost them), and they might still supplant this news: The 1984 bobsled and luge run is back in action (sort of).

The Associated Press has reported that a bunch of volunteers have spent the last few years cleaning up the track and repairing it so that it’s usable as a training facility. At first, the goal was for Bosnians to be able to do their summer training on it, but word’s gotten out and now it’s becoming a regional training center because the original track is one of the best in the area.

To me, that’s the Olympic spirit at work. Don’t give up–keep at it until you achieve victory. Even though the reports are that the facilities are still pretty grim (e.g.-no bathrooms), it’s really remarkable that the luging community in Bosnia saw an opportunity and is making something happen.

The article notes that other facilities are coming back as well (or are in the planning stages of coming back). Let’s hope that some of the other abandoned facilities around the world can get life breathed back into them as well.

Know Your Host City · Olympic cities · PyeongChang

GTKPC: So Much K-Pop!

While we’re getting to know PyeongChang, we also have to get to know K-Pop, Korean pop music, which is super-infectious and fun to listen to. Last month, the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization hosted the 2018 PyeongChang K-Pop Festival–which was held in Seoul, actually–to help the world get to know modern Korean culture.  Let’s take a look at some of the performers:

 

The Wonder Girls have a pretty complex history, with members coming and going, injuries and health issues, and even a long hiatus. This song is “Why So Lonely” off their 4th album, which came out earlier this year.

 

WSJN also goes by Cosmic Girls and released their first mini album earlier this year. This group is enormous–13 people who are grouped into four units called Wonder, Joy, Sweet and Natural.

K-pop’s not all girls…you’ve got the boy bands too! Here’s Boys Republic:

And SHINee:

Catchy stuff, right?

Barcelona 1992 · Favorite Olympic Moments · Opening Ceremonies

Favorite Olympic Moments: Barcelona 1992 – The Flame’s Bull’s-eye

The Opening Ceremony’s full of pomp and circumstance, probably the most impressive of which is the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron. After a long journey from Greece and around the host nation, the Flame gets transferred to some type of cauldron and is the visible reminder to the whole city that the Olympics are on.

Since the Flame’s one of the biggest Olympic symbols, the lighting of the cauldron’s taken on a pretty big air of mystique–and the person who lights it is generally one of the best-kept secrets of the Opening Ceremonies.

The other big secret (and show) is how the cauldron will be lit. Arguably the best-ever lighting method was in Barcelona 1992. Barcelona’s cauldron was atop the stadium so that the Flame was visible from afar. This isn’t always the case–sometimes the Flame is on display at ground level around the central Olympic area. Personally, although those cauldrons have been pretty cool, I still think there’s something a little more magical about the stadium-topping cauldron that you can see from far away.

Anyway, here’s how Barcelona stunned the world:

Can you imagine how many ways that could’ve gone wrong? And what would’ve happened if it did? But no! It was pretty darned amazing.

Here’s the story behind one of the most difficult ways to light the flame:

Olympic Sports · Olympics · Uncategorized

Olympic Sports of the Future?

The Olympics–particularly the Summer Olympics–are massive events featuring a ton of sports. So how does a sport get included into the Games?

First off, you can’t just make up a sport and then find it in the Olympics four years later. It’s a lot more complicated than that. Sports have to have certain elements to be considered for inclusion in the Olympics:

  1. The sport has an International Federation. International Federations basically run the events for their sports at the Games, so there’s got to be one overarching international governing body per sport because…
  2. The sport has to be practiced and organized in at least 50 countries in order to be recognized by the IOC.
  3. Federations have to have a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-compliant policy.
  4. Federations have to have regular world and continental championships.
  5. Federations have to be well-governed and also be independent entities.
  6. Sports need to demonstrate commitment to youth because you have to ensure the future existence and growth of the sport.

When you can check off these boxes, you can take the path to becoming an IOC Recognised International Sports Federation and from there you petition the IOC to get into the Games. Alternatively (and this is part of the IOC’s attempt to bring the costs of the Games down), a particular Games can also petition to have new sports included.

There’s an association for this group of International Federations called ARISF, the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations. It’s kind of like the farm team for Olympic Sports. You hang out there and kibbitz with your fellow sporting associations about issues you have, how to stage good events, etc. You also try your darndest to get into the Olympic Games.

Some groups have been successful, like karate, surfing and climbing sports. They’re three of the five new sports you’ll see at Tokyo 2020–maybe not beyond 2020, but they’ll be in for at least that Games. When Golf got onto the program, it was guaranteed for at least two Olympics, and then it will be up for review again.

But back to the farm team players. ARISF consists of 35 members. Who are the rest of them? What are some of the potential future Olympic sports?

Floorball

Life Saving

Tug-of-War (a former Olympic sport)

Squash

Ski Mountaineering

DanceSport

Roller Sports (FIRS has tried to get inline speed skating into the Olympics, but there are other disciplines, including inline hockey and artistic skating)

Underwater Sports

Chess

Bridge

Motorcycling

Billiards

There are more–many more. And then there are sports that are trying to check off the criteria boxes in order to get into this club, like the International Pole Sports Federation and World Bowls and the International Federation overseeing fishing.

Should these sports be in the Olympics? Inclusion really means a bump in exposure and potentially participation, and increased participation is really a goal for all sports. But does a sport need the Olympics in order to be successful?

 

Know Your Host City · Olympic cities · PyeongChang

GTKPC: Seoul Far Away?

I was perusing the PyeongChang 2018 bid book today, as I really wanted to talk more about Korea’s geography–in particular the mountains, since a good chunk of the Olympics relies on skiing or jumping down them. Well, then I fell into a huge rabbit hole because (a) the Korean Peninsula is generally covered with mountains, and (b) PyeongChang is located in the Greater Baekdu Mountain Range, which I’m learning is a big deal to the country, so I really want to research that a bit more and give it its proper due.

However, a different tidbit I picked out of the 2018 bid book [and mind you, the 2018 Games was PyeongChang’s third attempt at getting the Winter Olympics] was that the Organizing Committee plans to use Incheon as the main airport for welcoming the athletes.

Quick look of the map. Incheon’s on the other side of the country!

One might think, Man, that’s kind of a haul to cross through most of the country. Surely they have another major airport that’s closer!

Well, apparently my American is showing. The bid book notes that it only takes three hours by car to reach PyeongChang from any city in South Korea. And it’s just one hour by rail from Seoul. Three hours! You can probably get from the West Coast to the East Coast in four, five hours at the most! Compare that to the US, where it takes about four hours to get from Boston to New York City, and that’s just one small corridor of the country. For the record, the journey from Boston to New York City by train is also about four hours, due to lack of high speed rail capability.

This means that for those of us who live in a larger country in terms of land mass, we’re going to have to get used to a completely different outlook in terms of geography. It’s the complete opposite of the last Olympics in Sochi, which is in the largest country in the world. Getting to the other side of the country meant you were in for the long haul.

Not this time. This has certainly got the potential to be fun–especially if you actually go to the Olympics–because it makes the country a little easier to explore. Perhaps this Olympics will not only show off this region, but the rest of the country in general.