So the Olympics have opened with a splash!
Now we can put our feet up and watch some sport for the next couple of weeks. Great! But just what do the Olympics have to do with writing, I hear you ask? A lot as it turns out. The title of this blog might seem a bit of a mash-up. For those of you unfamiliar with the term (as I was) a mash-up is where two completely unrelated things – take Dinosaurs and Space – come together and work!
But back to writing and the Olympics. Did you know that writing was actually once an Olympic sport? You could actually enter the Olympics with your books. OK, so you couldn’t write more than 20,000 words, and your work couldn’t have been published before but how cool would it be to win a medal for something that you’d written?
And not only could you be awarded a medal in writing but in other arts too – architecture, music, painting and sculpture. OK, so the entered works had to be inspired by sport, but even so. Here’s a photo of a picture called Rugby by painter Jean Jacoby, the most successful Olympic artist of all time.
And Alfred Hajos of Hungary who won two gold medals for swimming at the Athens Olympis and then 28 years later was award a silver medal in architecture. Oops, sorry, that’s Andy Murray. His get-up doesn’t quite cut the mustard does it? Here’s Alfred Hajos for you to see. How elegant is he?
Writing as an Olympic event came to an end in 1954 when the Olympics became a purely sporting event. Writers and artists were considered professionals while Olympic athletes were required to be amateurs. Sad that we can no longer compete, isn’t it?
So what about you? Are you a writer or a sportsperson? Or maybe a bit of both?