The Un-Olympics Bower



“Not all the Twitter Birds want to tweet about the Olympics” Sprite told me “and they said probably nearly all the Twitter trending topics will be about the Olympics.
So they have set up an Un-Olympics Bower on my blog where they are going to keep on reading books and writing and doing science stuff and painting and playing the sort of music that isn’t popular with most people and then tweeting about that.
They said they have made their bower with non-interlocking rings so that they won’t breach any IOC copyright stuff – See


I said they could do it. I hope that’s OK with you?”


“No problem!” I said “I do like watching some of the Olympic sports on TV but I don’t want it to be to the exclusion of everything else”


Australians love their sport and their sports stars.

See The ABC program Sporting Nation 

On 25 July 2011, the day of the first of the hearings for the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students,


the front page news was

Cadel Evans wins Tour de France


This led Carmel Meehan, President of the VAGTC, to say during her evidence

“We celebrate people like Cadel Evans. He had a problem that he has solved in a physical way, and we have him on the front page of our papers today. We have people like Gustav Nossal and people who are working in stem cell research in our universities and who are doing brilliant work, but we do not see much of that on the front page of the paper. Our gifted and talented students are the resource that we have to solve those problems and the people who tomorrow will be at the cutting edge of helping humanity to survive.”


“We acknowledge our sporting heroes. We have a very good model for acknowledging excellence in our sporting domains. That could be transposed very easily into celebration of academic excellence, problem-solving, music and arts. In this country if we have good leadership in acknowledging gifted and talented people and celebrating their successes in the way that we celebrate our sporting heroes’ successes, then we are well on the way to having a very smart next generation coming through.

What we are looking for is equity for all the fields, whether it be in sport, arts, dance, mathematics and science, or whatever. In a level playing field let us celebrate it all, not one at the expense of the other.”

On 12 August 2011 Cadel Evans was given a street parade through Melbourne

However we were not given a public holiday to celebrate his victory.

When Alan Bond’s yacht Australia II, with its winged keel designed by Ben Lexcen and Boxing Kangaroo flag, won the Americas Cup in 1983 then Prime Minister Bob Hawke famously proclaimed “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.”

I used to get annoyed that SBS would take one of my favourite TV programs Letters and Numbers off air in order to screen the Tour de France but this year the announcement is even more upsetting

Audience Announcement on their website  says

SBS has made a decision to rest Letters and Numbers and develop other programs so we can continue to offer new, great content to our audiences. The last episode will be transmitted on June 27.
Following Tour de France, Countdown – the UK version of Letters and Numbers – will air at 5:45pm weekdays.
Lily Serna, one of the shows stars, is working on a new show with SBS, Destination Flavour. SBS hopes the appetite for Letters and Numbers will be satisfied with the very popular UK series Countdown.

When I was young the quiz shows of the day, such as Pick a Box, had challenging questions and worthy champions such as Barry Jones.
Many of today’s quiz and game shows have become so trivialised and given such an emphasis on celebrities and pop culture that they do not appeal to me at all.
Letters and Numbers is one show that has not been dumbed down. I hope the ‘rest period’ of the show will be very short and the genuine locally produced  Australian show will return soon!

Victorians love their Australian Rules football.
I grew up in Geelong. In those days Geelong was the only team outside Melbourne in the Victorian Football League and the people of Geelong and the surrounding country areas of the state were enthusiastic supporters of Geelong’s team, the Cats.
It was essential for my father to be able to discuss football in order to relate to his clients and I was very interested in the Geelong team.
But my mother, who was a physiotherapist and a proud member of the Women Graduates Association in the days when very few women graduated from university, had no interest at all in the football.
One of her favourite news columnists was Keith Dunstan and she was delighted when he created the Anti-Football League that pokes fun at the obsession with Australian Rules football. The chief qualification for membership is not an active dislike but a disinterest in football, a desire to spend one’s time and conversation on other things. Members could wear a badge to indicate that they would like to have conversations on topics other than football.
 My mother was quick to purchase the badge in the shape of a square football and happy that the proceeds of the sales of the badges were donated to the Berry Street Babies Home. See


So I can very readily appreciate the Twitter Birds need for an Un-Olympics Bower and happy that Sprite is giving them a place to set it up. And as part of the July Creativity challenge I will assist them to hold Un-Olympics gatherings in the Un-Olympics Bower.

1 thought on “The Un-Olympics Bower

  1. Sprite and the Twitter birds are very astute to recognize that society all too often readily supports ‘sport’ talent and all but ignores talent and academic giftedness in other areas. I commend her for supporting the Twitter birds and their stand to continue in their chosen areas of expertise!

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