Sometimes plans change.
On Saturday we went on a day trip down to Lausanne. I thought let’s take the kids on an outing to the Olympic museum as hubby needs to do some shopping and that will just bore them. However, when it came to leaving Daddy, E decided she wanted to stay and have some extra time with him so it was just M and myself.
We walked down the lake front through Ouchy past the port and a fantastic playground, giant chess set and peddle boats but it was a bit chilly to stop except to admire the view. Simply stunning and I have made a mental note to repeat the experience with E in the summer (with ice cream from the Movenpick).
This was my first trip to the museum which has just reopened after almost 2 years of renovations. It was fairly easy to find with an impressive entrance.
We took our time exploring the Olympic park (the gardens that surround the museum). They are filled with various sporting themed sculptures and M found them just as intriguing as I did and we particularly liked the sculpture “Cyclistes, sculpture by Gabor Mihaly”.
There were 3 parts to the exhibiton. Firstly we visited the temporary exhbition on “The Russian Avant-Garde & Sport”. The exhibition took you through the history of the olympics in russia and how it was introduced by the Communist movement (the Tsars had never joined the Olympic movement) and then how artists had adopted the movement. I found it interesting seeing the evolution of sport and art through image and film but it was rather adult oriented with few interactive sections. While it was fascinating to me M was much more involved in his biscuit so we didn’t spend too much time on it.
We crossed over to History of the Olympics exhibit which was instantly more visually stimulating with more animations, buttons to press and flaps to lift. I knew that the Olympics had originated in Ancient Greece as a celebration of Zeus but I hadn’t realised how Greece at that time was not a united country but rather many individual warring states. The original Olympic games were a moment of peace for these states which united the Greek world. It is impressive that around 2800 years ago over 40’000 people attended the games as spectators or participants.
Democracy, respect and fair play
It was a Frenchman, Pierre de Coubertin, who revived the games in 1894. His philosophy was to promote “harmony between body and mind, the joy of effort, the struggle for perfection and respect for others.” He wanted to create a universal institution or rather “state of mind” which “no race or time can hold an exclusive monopoly on” – a truly democratic concept.
These values still inspire the movement today and the international torch relay symbolically ties all the competing nations together. I enjoyed seeing the different torches that have existed over the years and in particular checking out the ones I recognised.
We skipped quickly through a room of costumes, mascots and architectural models of past Olympic stadiums and headed to the basement exhibit.
Downstairs were the best bits of the whole museum (in my opinions) Firstly we played a spotting game where you have to press a button in a wall of buttons the moment it lights up. Then we went to explore some of the other games (it was like a games arcade in places).
In between the games there was some really pertinent information. One wall was dedicated to images of different athletes and their body shapes. I have tried to piece back together the photos I took of it:
“Professional athletes all have very different bodies. Ideal characteristics vary depending on the sport, it’s evolution and that of the equipment used. As a result today’s ideal body may not be tomorrow’s ideal body.” Athletes, Howard Schatz and Beverly Ornstein, 2002
I loved this as it relates so much to every day life. All of these men and woman are so different but all are champions in a sport. In order to succeed they have recognised their talents and motivated themselves to go beyond the norm. They are all beautiful for what they have achieved. We never normally see such a range of bodies being celebrated like this with the media being flooded with just one ideal body type.
The museum continued to impress me with its education section on diet and how athletes must eat for their different sports and to maintain a healthy body. There was also a section littered with inspirational quotes by top athletes reflecting the 3 Olympic Values: Striving for Excellence, Demonstrating Respect & Celebrating Friendship. Luckily the animations kept M entertained while I could read the blurb.
I found the whole place very motivational. The Olympic committee endeavour to educate about democracy, respect and fair play. The whole Olympic spirit is about striving to do your best while creating an environment where bonds can be forged breaking down barriers of culture and race. The museum is not only great for young children but also for teens and adults. It is a bit pricey (for Switzerland) at 18CHF per adult but I will definitely be back with the kids and I recommend a visit if ever you are in Lausanne.