[London Olympics] ① Revival of art

*Editor’s note: This is the first of six-part stories on the London Olympics

Sport lovers probably expect me to tell them about the records that will be broken during the Olympic month in the British capital that starts on Friday (July 27), predicting, e.g., the winning of Ethiopian runner Kenenisa Bekele against his Somali competitor Muhammad Farah in the 5,000–metre run, its title –holder or expecting American swimmer Ryan Lochte to win a gold in the freestyle having won 14 times last year alone against Olympic competitor Michael Phelps, taking on their rival Kosuke Kitajima.

They may expect me to write about the lovely British icon swimmer Lucy Macgregor, who can be a gold medallist in London, or refer to Ma Lin, the only Chinese table tennis player who captured gold medals in individual, double and team games.

Others may expect me to write about Byelorussian athlete Ekatrina Karsten, who, at the age of forty, will compete in her sixth Olympiad, trying to win in rowing as she did in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, in which she set six world records which put her in first position.

But London Olympics has another face; art: starting with the design of its logo, architecture, and concurrent activities that have revived art as presented in more than one face from around the world.

When I was in Beijing during the previous 2008 Olympics I hoped for more Arab winners of gold, silver and bronze medals, but winning was limited to just a few of our Arab champions: Tunisian swimmer Osama Almaluli, who won a gold in the 1,500–metre freestyle, Moroccan runner Jawad Gharib, a silver medallist and his compatriot Hasnaa Benhesi, a bronze medallist in the 800-metre run, Bahaini (Morocccan-born) runner Rashid Ramzi, a gold medallist in the 1,500-metre run, Algerian athlete. Thurayya Haddad, a bronze medallist in judo and her compatriart with a silver in the same game Ammar bin Yakhlif, Egyptian athlete Hisham Misbah, a bronze medallist in the same game and Sudanese runner, Ismail Ahmad Ismail, a silver medallist in the 800-metre run.

However, this time the “Arabs” are making their presence strongly felt and winners of a dear gold, even before they enter the competitions, which the world will perceive and greet as it looks at the architectural masterpiece designed by Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid: the London Aquatics Centre, which it took her six years (2005-2011) to complete. The gem of the Olympic Village’s projects, the centre covers an area of 36,875 m2 and accommodates 17,500 fans, and its architectural concept is based on the strong flow of water around which spaces are made in harmony with the environment and the river, with a ceiling rising up from the ground like a wave. (If you are interested in looking at the rest of the project’s pictures visit this site: “Zaha-hadid /architecture/ London – aquatics-centre”, to follow up the stages of construction, as if you were there, hearing swimmers splashing and breathing drops of victory and beauty.

Major tournaments are designed to leave a mark. When we were in Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” stadium, which became an architectural icon in China, we needed a fast bus to move in and around it. London is trying to leave such marks: distinctive constructional features, in a city previously known for its clock, bridge and recently the Big Wheel.

One Response to [London Olympics] ① Revival of art

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