[FOUNTAIN]Taking note of artistry at the OlympicsSports and art might sound like an odd pair, but they have always been in harmony at the Olympics. We might have been blinded by the number and color of the medals and failed to recognize the beauty of art and sports.
The Olympics is an event that is directly related to the pride of the host country. In order to present the best possible games, the host will prepare for the opening. In particular, the stadiums and facilities are carefully designed to represent the nation. When a design is not up to artistic standards, the games will fail to impress people around the world. This is where Olympic art comes in.
Above all, architecture is the most crucial part of Olympic art. Thanks to the efforts of the best contemporary architects, the world enjoys a landmark structure every four years. Italy presented an indoor stadium, the Sports Palace, for the 1960 Rome Olympics. Canada’s Montreal Olympics main stadium of 1976 and Spain’s Montjuic Tower for the 1992 Barcelona games are the pinnacles of contemporary technology and innovative beauty.
When Korea hosted the Seoul Olympics in 1988, Hongik University professor Kang Gun-hee designed the Seoul Olympic Fencing Hall, the world’s first cable dome structure. The stadium has since been a model for major dome constructions around the world.
With Greece hosting the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the birthplace of the ancient Olympics chose Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava as the designer of its main stadium. The 53-year-old architect is often compared to the Spanish master Antoni Gaudi. He said he had not consulted any artwork because there was no precedent for his project, and he would show the most innovative architectural beauty.
Aside from architecture, posters and sculpture also are linked to the Olympics. American contemporary artist David Hockney designed the official posters for the 1972 Munich Olympics and 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Eduardo Chillida, a famous Spanish artist, created the poster for the 1992 Barcelona games. Designers and artists also devote their talents to creating tickets, stamps and banners, which are valuable souvenirs.
The Athens Olympics are only 25 days away. If we only care about medals, we will miss more than half of the Olympic games. Let’s open our hearts and enjoy the Olympic art Athens will offer.
by Nahm Yoon-ho
The writer is a deputy city news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.