Post-Olympism? Questioning Sport in the Twenty-First Century

By John Bale; Mette Krogh Christensen | Go to book overview
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Post-Olympism: Olympic
Legacies, Sport Spaces and the
Practices of Everyday Life
Douglas Brown

today we have a surfeit of knowledge and methods as far as structures are concerned, and we are impoverished as soon as we have to study operations, transformations, in short, movement.

Michel de Certeau, Culture in the Plural, 1974, p. 145

This chapter is impressionistic and collage-like. It is an effort to study the culture of an Olympic legacy, an Olympic sport and a community of people. It represents a sporting space and sporting lives. With the collage-like presentation, I am attempting to expose and analyse the richness of cultural life in a highly defined (some might say rarified) sporting space. It is a synthesis of images, memories, emotions, characters and theoretical considerations that have converged and diverged over a period of two years at a post Olympic Games speed skating facility. During this two-year period, the pattern of my everyday life intersected with the everyday lives of speed skaters at Calgary's Olympic Oval on the campus of the University of Calgary. My experiences and the production of this text is a response to the ideas of Michel de Certeau and other critical thinkers for whom the patterns of everyday life are a source of knowledge about human agency and social and cultural institutions. This text integrates facts, inventories and definitions with theoretical propositions and anecdotes. It attempts to illustrate the ways Olympic Games, Olympism and Olympic legacies can impact the daily lives of human beings. I have organized these impressions and reflections into four sections: the space, the sport, the skaters and the ‘Olympians amongst us’.

The prefix ‘post’ evokes sentiments that range from optimism to pessimism, playfulness to anxiety. It implies a paradigmatic shift away from the clear and


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