How is the culture of a host city incorporated into the Olympic and Paralympic Games?

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How is the culture of a host city incorporated into the Olympic and Paralympic Games?

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are known for their emphasis on athleticism, competition and national pride; and how when combined, there is an opportunity to bring the world together through the celebration of sport. However, while the Games bring the best of the world to the field athletically, they also bring the best of the world to the stage artistically and culturally. Many people are unaware that the modern Olympic movement (since 1894) is designed around the marriage of both sport and art.

Sport and art are both encompassed within Olympic values and these two pillars form the foundation for the Cultural Olympiad. The Cultural Olympiad is a celebration of the arts and culture, and is a part of the Host City Contract. To celebrate the importance of bringing the cultures of the world together, the Cultural Olympiad promotes and integrates arts and cultural activities into the staging of the Games, specifically in the four years leading up to the Games. The host city is responsible for showcasing the unique and varying cultures specific to the region, and adds to the festive atmosphere prior to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games with projects and events that celebrate local, national and international arts and culture.

Past Cultural Olympiad programs have included public art installations, cultural festivals, dancers, musicians and actors taking part in the celebration. The cost of the Cultural Olympiad is encompassed within the overall budget of the local Olympic Organizing Committee and has the potential to act as an effective promotion tool to attract significant tourism through cultural offerings. 

A Cultural Olympiad for Calgary could celebrate and recognize the myriad of cultural backgrounds of the region, notably the First Peoples of the Treaty 7 First Nations of the Blackfoot Confederacy (which includes the Siksika Nation, Piikani Nation and Blood Tribe), Stoney Nakoda (which includes the Chiniki Nation, Bearspaw Nation and Wesley Nation) and Tsuut’ina Nation, as well as the Metis People of Region 3. We believe that Indigenous art and artists would contribute significantly to both Calgary and Canada and will create a unique element to a potential Games as well as provide a foundation to a cultural programme that could forge new and different relationships between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous communities here at home and be shared around the world.

The Cultural Olympiad is a strong reflection of the cultural diversity of the host city during the years leading up to, and including the Games. It brings together voices from across the world to share in an experience and support one another through both sport and art. Calgary’s Olympiad would give the region an opportunity to deliver something inspiring and memorable, ultimately celebrating the culture of our city and our heritage.  

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