Olympic art
March 14, 2010 6:22 AM   Subscribe

Pierre de Coubertin is well-known as the father of the modern Olympics. What is less well-known is that he pseudonymously won an Olympic medal - in poetry (PDF)

Although now superseded by the Cultural Olympiad, some of the early modern Olympic Games included art competitions alongside the more conventional athletic pursuits, in keeping with the spirit of the ancient Olympic Games. Medals in artistic pursuits were awarded at Stockholm in 1912, Antwerp in 1920, Paris in 1924, Amsterdam in 1928, LA in 1932, Berlin in 1936 and London in 1948. The awarding of medals for art was finally abandoned because of concerns about the dominance of professional artists, which was felt to be contrary to the Olympic spirit of amateurism. Despite such concerns, many of the winners were relatively unknown (PDF), and some of the winning works have been lost to history.

Medals were awarded for works in the fields of architecture/town planning, literature, music, painting and sculpture. Sadly, despite widely circulated reports, Ms. Avril Lafoule did not win gold at the 1900 Paris Olympics in poodle clipping; this was an April Fool (Avril Lafoule, geddit?) run by the Telegraph that somehow ended up shorn of its context and taken at face value by some proud poodle owners looking to be a part of Olympic history.
posted by Dim Siawns (5 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks! I was trying to find information on QI's poodle claim and couldn't turn up a thing. Glad to get the straight dope.
posted by iwhitney at 6:24 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

O Sport, you are Badly Written!
posted by krilli at 6:46 AM on March 14, 2010

I came to MeFi today to look up that QI fact-checking link, but here we go! Awesome.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:07 AM on March 14, 2010

The awarding of medals for art was finally abandoned because of concerns about the dominance of professional artists...

I look forward to the discontinuation of medal awardance for basketball and baseball.
posted by DU at 10:35 AM on March 14, 2010

This is my absolute favorite kind of metafilter post. I never would have heard of this. So weird and fascinating. Thank you!
posted by serazin at 9:41 PM on March 14, 2010

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