Blog

A Review of Discrimination – The Olympic Games

olimpic-games

The birth of the Modern Olympics occurred from the lasting influence of the ancient Games tracing back to 776 BC. Dedicated to Olympian gods and goddesses, the Games were a collection of festivals of the cult of Zeus which had strong indications of the importance of ‘mystical beauty’ and godlike grandeur. Male only competitors were celebrated for their great physical triumphs and rewarded with a rich abundance of materials such as money, women, a life time of free meals, and marked medallions/cauldrons of bronze and gold inscribed with their victories.

 

These athletes were perceived more as heroes than every day humans, as portraited sculptures were erected throughout Olympia to commemorate their winnings, and they would be idealistic in regards to physical power and perfected beauty, much like the basis of Greek mythology and the hierarchy involved. The celebration of the Ancient Games was also an occasion for surrounding city-states to discuss important political issues, celebrate common military victories, and to even form political and martial alliances in the process.

 

Despite the rough 1,500-year gap between the Ancient Games and the establishment of the Modern Games – many of the core values and intentions are still held to this day surrounding the importance of aesthetic and the quiet push for political and social perfection. This can especially be seen through the clear divide that’s still left between Paralympians and ‘able-bodied’ athletes.

 

The Paralympics were brought about on a basis of functionality and medical experimentation and improvement, intending to rehabilitate rather than celebrate the body and its abilities. Only until 1960 did it attempt to encapsulate the qualities of the Olympics and the nature of competition, however still unfortunately remains unpopular in comparison today. Since racism and sexism were already prevalent within the Olympics since its re-establishment in 1896; the Paralympics would inevitably struggle against discrimination and seeking equality to this day.

 

Many reasons lie behind this obvious divide – one being that disabled Olympians lack the consideration due to the deep history and long-awaited creation of the Olympics itself without the contribution and consistent voice of Paralympians – a term that was only formed as little as 50 years ago. Since the Olympic Games for able-bodied athletes was born over 2,000 years ago, half a century allows little time for significant change when it has taken that time alone to even partially include Paralympians in global competitive sport.

 

The Olympic Games were also seemingly utilised to boost political influence and power at times rather than celebrating true sportsmanship and perseverance – since if it were based on the latter, Paralympians would ultimately deserve more credit for their efforts. One example of this is the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where Nazi Germany exploited the popular event to bedazzle and impress foreign spectators and journalists with a ‘peaceful, tolerant image of Germany’. Advertisements and posters leading up to the Games idealised athletes’ well-developed muscle tone and heroic strength, and accentuated ostensibly ‘Aryan’ features. This alone reflected the importance of physical fitness for the regime (a prerequisite for military service) and points to a long history of why disability sport was disregarded due to governments seeking martial respect and attention towards political performance and/or visual/physical prowess.

Similarly, after the 1980 Summer Olympics, Russia was invited to also host the Paralympics that same year. As a response, officials noted that disability sport was not well-developed and passed the opportunity blatantly by simply denying the existence of such citizens – “There are no invalids in the USSR!”

 

This was paired with the rejection of an able-bodied South African team to compete in the Olympic Games that year, due to the racist ideals in Moscow at the time. As well as the disregard of Paralympians and their rights, the Olympics struggled with equal integration of female athletes of which was put into place in the 1900 Summer Olympics in France. Although this was a great achievement for women’s rights, female athletes still suffered gravely from public opinions based around appearance and function and were still prohibited from some events. When women were first permitted to compete in track and field events 28 years later in the Netherlands, the public (- assuming it was mostly male-dominated) complained, saying that the sight of the women exhausted at the end of a race was “too disturbing”, “a pitiful spectacle; to see these girls tumble down like dead sparrows” and that “this distance is far too strenuous for women.” Following the 1928 Games, women were no longer allowed to compete in races longer than 200m until 1960.

 

Although racism and sexism within the Olympics doesn’t apply directly to the rights of Paralympians; the importance of aesthetic and what is ideal in accordance to political and public demand still runs deeply through the foundations of this worldwide sporting event. The rights of people and their vision of equality is yet to be integrated into the intentions of the Olympic Games – and in my opinion will remain ‘off topic’ only until there is some direct push to recognise the unifying effects of sport and to stop utilising the Games’ commercial and political advantages for some sort of gain.

 

I believe the Paralympics should occur within the 2 weeks of the Olympic Games and that they should share one label. There is no reason as to why Paralympians cannot utilise the same stadiums, receive the same coverage, and in turn potentially boost the interest and excitement around such events. Throughout the history of the Olympics, the way in which it is held and put forth to the public eye, immensely influences the way in which it is consumed and regarded. To use this power in a way that highlights the integrity, perseverance, resilience and courage of both able-bodied and disabled athletes, would mean a great shift in the way we see global sports and a revaluation of the people we look up to and celebrate.

 

In a now modern world, the Games rely heavily on its generation of money through major corporations and sponsors as well as the influx of tourism – so redefining issues that have seemingly been ‘pushed under the rug’ and drowned by finance and globalisation seems far-fetched. However, with most of the world always listening and the internet as a communicative tool, employing its influence for significant change could make things progress a lot quicker than they have in the past. It’s well past the time for the re-definition of sports and to refocus our intentions towards the unifying effects of ignoring race, sex and appearance – and to just compete.

 

Advertisements

What anxiety feels like

(for me)

I’ve been having a pretty rough year with myself (2016 more so) as things have changed drastically after moving from home, finding a secure relationship and living independently. After the distraction of moving was over last year in May, I realised that even though everything around me was what I wanted and worked for – I was still producing negativity where I could because of the way I had grown up and learnt to think and behave. This year has been the hardest ever in terms of my emotions but also kind of a breakthrough as I’m realising things about myself that I never had. The following entry is from when I was in the midst of anxious thinking, and I wanted to try and communicate what it was like in second person. Maybe you can relate and find solace that you are part of an entire network of battlers who are, yes, each to their own in their suffering, but could all probably relate on some level. And relation and connection is what people mostly seek, especially in a time of suffering.

———

The basis of the battle is fear and guilt. The anticipation of absolutely everything you could possibly pick out (but the picking out is not consciously intentional) and never feeling right about any situation or thinking of how it could have been better (even if it were close to perfect). The frustration of this process is beyond anyone’s comprehension outside of your own box. The box appears as if it were fabricated by the individual in it, and that it continues to grow larger with each vulnerable day or moment. There is panic there – panic at how much is being added to the already committed damage that would take what seems like a lifetime to undo. There is guilt at how much the feeling arises and how quickly it can dissipate – paranoia about the actual validity of your emotion and how significant it is to those closest to you. The difficulty of decoding things down to the way someone might be breathing and how that could communicate what they’re thinking (since what they think seems to make up who you are or can be at the time). The more intense difficulty of not wanting any of this but it happens anyway. There is hate and anger that comes quickly and ruthlessly for those who fail to understand or don’t go the extra mile (but reality is not many people will go the ‘extra mile’ unless you have for them only in materialistic or physical ways) and it causes humanity to seem repulsive. There is a need to reach out and confide in close connections, but half the battle is doubting the connections you have – since you’re running on high sensitivity most days, you annoyingly search for the evidence of their lack of care and always find it (because you have gotten so good at doing so). There is anticipation of responsibility where you have to appear as a capable human when you’re required, and even though you are entirely capable, your whole existence is telling you that you should run, hide or disappear. There is disgust at the viewpoints of those who came along early in battle and lack relativity now to what you’re seemingly screaming in their faces. There is sadness at that for the loss of what was long familiar but a desperate need to move on from it. The consequences you suffer from the emotional strain traps you again in an even tighter box as your body tells you it’s not happy because of your head. You go to your head to ask the same question and it leads you back to your body. A dead end disease.

What makes my day a little better

img_0229

The Bonsai I bought my boyfriend for Christmas and a small Star Wars badge that I stuck on the wrapping. Buddha’s Belly Fig..

img_0226

Absolut Vodka bottle Carnival edition (empty)

img_0214

Corner shot of our room that I’m insanely proud of as it’s the first time I’ve been independent and been able to make a house a home!

img_0198

My Mum gave me this canvas print last Christmas – Uma looking like a babe as always and forever following us with her eyes. Ft. Dom’s new comic poster and part of our set up…

img_0187

The wall that faces our bed. I’ve hung records on the walls and used one of my brother’s oldest art finals. I feel happiest here.

img_0174

My tea collection that is slowly expanding. Most of the time, I regret the purchase afterwards because of the weird flavours I choose, but I continue to make tea despite only finishing a quarter of it. Tea is love.

img_0171

My little elephant that hangs out with us all in the back room. My boyfriend Dom took this from someone’s porch as part of a pair (ssssssh) for me when we were out wandering one night and it was really lovely as I’ve always loved elephants.

img_0168

A Joy Division poster that my step father Shambala bought for me last Christmas when I was more angsty. But it’s beautiful nonetheless!

img_0158

My new Pumas I bought the other day to add to the collection. Have wanted these for a long time and they are literal foam cushions under your feet.

img_0159

Our slow growing board game collection that’s already worth well over $300??? So much bonding and red wine happens over these bad boys.

img_0162

The beeswax candle and succulent I got for Christmas from my step sister and Mum. Decor is also love. 

learning to love 

What does one do when they’re at a stand still with what was presented to them as a passion? 

What seems like life’s work (of what you can manage to remember) is now expiring and you’ve lost what you thought you had in it – so what do you do?

The people you speak most to and trust their word are telling you that this is your passion, this is where your ability and skills lie – but what is its worth if it takes effort and energy that we don’t have? Passions and abilities should restore those things. 

Living in a creative world where our “abilities” are so mainstream that they lose their originality and uniqueness, we in turn end up losing faith in what we do out of fear that someone could do it better or that what we produce is worthless in a world full of basically the same things. 

But what we have to understand is that we should never stop trying to make a point out of our small existence, despite the overwhelming futility of an ever expanding life (when it’s observed from one spiteful moment)   

I’ve spent the past few months in a state that I’ve never experienced before. And it could very well be one that I’ve projected myself by feeling the pressure to follow rules I’ve made myself. 

Now that I have finished high school and I am living independently – literally doing all of the things I wished so much to do ever since I was little – and I find that life can still appear extremely mundane. Someone said to me, which in retrospect was pretty hurtful, that I had everything I ever wanted yet I still turn all the positives into negatives. When I heard this, a huge part of me accepted it and thought it was true but as the time has passed the other part of me that denied it has become one I’ve preferred to follow. 

Even though you can be surrounded by all that you envisioned, and you work a job that keeps you occupied and come home to someone that you love and that returns it, there is still a huge responsibility to comprehending the contemplative side of life. I’ve only just recently realised the importance of self worth, and the need for us to establish some form of love for our position whether it conforms to a system or not. My boyfriend comes home depressed from routine, being in hospitality for 6 years and only 23 years old. He’s lost faith towards finding other abilities or interests or career paths and I find myself not being able to offer solutions. 

I understand his perspective entirely despite the fact that I’ve depended on my varying skills to get me through the academic side of life and thus keeping me occupied and satisfied. But now that I have to actively seek my hobbies and past times, I get his anxiety towards finding that next step. I’ve been told recently that we as humans forget that we often forget our meditative role in this world, and that we constantly seek entertainment to the point where we can’t stand not having it and develop damaging mental habits from our own projections of boredom and restlessness until it becomes so real and frustrating. 

So what do we do about these feelings that seemed to have formed excessively despite how easily we can serve ourselves and our privileges? 

Of course there’s no real answer to a question like that, but we can start to try and accept our small existence in the world and just try to have a life while we can. Waiting for tomorrow only seems to lead us there faster, and before we know it we have forgotten the things we swore we never would.

1/11

I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately that’s come from this unmotivation to write long bodies of creative text (a.k.a laziness). But from destruction is the birth of new creations – to misquote Darko…

————–

Sometimes I see the world’s eye opening –

just to glimpse me
Something in it reaches up 

to grasp a possibility 
It seemed so far

some moment before 

when miracles remained in stories 
But she blinks and winks 

and laughs like gold!
Surely –

loving me

in all my glory