Meaningful Experiences at the Olympic Museum

I had imagined a day of perpetual blogging yesterday, but in the end it was all just a bit too hectic. Here are my four highlights:


1. Karin, our charming and enthusiastic guide.

When we asked her which Olympic torch was her favourite, she instantly pointed at the torch from Athens 2004, which has a handle made from olive wood. She answered all our questions. When we asked about the museum taking a $100,000 donation from CCTV (the Chinese State broadcaster) she acknowledged the trickyness of Olympic sponsorship. I don’t know where I stand on this. But I think it’s something that’s hard to generalise about – in some instances taking money from sponsors may detract from some of their nefarious practices. In other instances it may not. In some instances it may detract from their nefarious activities, but the good that you can do with that money, outweighs that bad. What this means I think is that, it isn’t a case of saying ‘we are good enough to take money from the State Broadcasters of countries that suppress human rights but not good enough to take it from arms manufacturers’ but ‘we’re only a force for good in the world if we are actively doing these good things we are supposed to be doing, and actually doing them.’

Maybe.

2. Samir Azzimani.

We met this guy outside who was hanging around at the museum for a few days. He is Morocco’s first winter Olympian. Claudia is blogging about him. He was amazing. Again, like Amy the paralympic swimmer, who came to the School of Olympic Research, he underlined the fact that the power of the Olympics is that it is chock full of amazing people, who have gone on amazing journeys to do amazing things. And yet they’re still people, that you can relate to. I kind of felt like the whole museum was about that. Really special. I hope the temporary museum in the Royal Opera House can have people like this in it.

3. The Welcoming the World Exhibition.


Not because it was a great exhibition (I wasn’t sure it represented London, or London’s young people in a very original way) but because it enabled us to have a really good debate about whether the London Olympics has actually engaged young people, and how much we can reasonably expect it too. I think we vaguely agreed that (a) it’s not realistic for the Games to excite the imagination and inspire all young people but (b) there might be more effective ways that LOCOG could be reaching out to young people.

 

4.Meeting Andy from the LOCOG learning team.

Some people have been a bit sniffy about the Get Set Network – the London 2012 education programme. The main criticism is that it offers the carrot of free-tickets to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in exchange for proof that your school has engaged with the Olympic values i.e. it’s about getting tickets, not about learning (the tagline is ‘get set to go to the games’). But whatever you think about that, the numbers are pretty impressive. Nearly 2/3rds of schools are signed up with Get Set and nearly 1/3rd are in the network. London 2012 has been the first Organising Committee to run a learning programme like this, using alot of online tools in a way that has allowed schools considerable freedom to interpret the Olympics, in a way that works for them. The model could be improved – but there will be much for future Organising Committees to take from this approach – something I’m exploring in an article for an academic journal at the moment.

WHAT A BRILLIANT DAY.

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