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Invent your own competition, enter it yourself.

April 28, 2011

My friend Max visited the Olympic stadium in Stockholm recently and sent me these photos of the stadium. The games were held there 1912, four years after the first London games.

Pierre de Coubertin the founder of the modern Olympics and the Chair of the International Olympic Committee, was very keen that the Stockholm Olympics should have a cultural festival – so keen that when the Royal Academy in Stockholm refused to organise his proposed series of artistic competitions on the grounds that artists would not be able to glorify athletic life as they lacked any technical knowledge of athleticism, he pressed ahead and had the IOC run the festival itself. Medals were awarded in Architecture, Music, Sculpture, Painting and Literature. Somewhat amusingly de Coubertin entered the literature competition under a pseudonym and won the gold medal for the competition himself.

I think this model of belligerently using the Olympics to invent your own competition, entering it yourself and winning is a useful example for anyone who wants to make the Olympics their own.

I found out most of this in the 1912 Olympic report that Max pointed me towards. Thanks Max.

Here are some pictures I cut and pasted from it.

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