The Olympics may be dying. This was the centre of our discussion when we visited this huge and beautiful Olympic Park in Barcelona. They no longer seem to capture the imagination of young people.
In the latest games in Korea, the tv ratings hit a new low with viewership peaking at 20.1 but declined as the days went on. Even in the last Olympics in Rio, the viewership has likewise declined.
With the drugging and the behaviour of the organizers, the Olympics left a bad taste for many and they have not gotten the support they had in previous years. The insane expenditures on facilities often leaving a legacy of almost abandoned buildings to be celebrated by television programming as massive examples of waste.
Looking at the 1992 site here in Barcelona and revisiting the amazing energy of that time, we asked ourselves, what happened?How did this massively inspiring event become somewhat ho-hum today?
If the Olympics are still relevant today, will they continue to inspire athletes all over the world to stand together in unity every four years for athletic excellence and for the amazing personal dedication needed to achieve such?
Or, is it just going to be a showcase of how countries and players can win medals with cunning and money and revel in he new endorsement income they will make ?
The Olympics are intended to be the expression of the triumph of humans, "farther, higher, faster, stronger". The bar, not just the costs, is set higher every 4 years and the excitement and energy of young people both as participants and spectators is intended to grow.
Barcelona was all of these. It gave the occasion for affordable monument style buildings in a part of Spain that really wasn't on the map.
It brought together a city that was forever picking away at itself in the destructive world of Catalonia politics and had the people focus in many ways on this great celebration. More importantly, it earned Barcelona a significant place on the world map.
Where is the Olympic Park and How to Get There
The Barcelona Olympic Park is located in:
Passeig Olímpic, 15-17, 08038 Barcelona, Spain.
The remnant Parc is the centre for the many attractions on Montjuic mountain including the main facilities used in the 1992 Olympics:
The tower, a symbol that shaped modern Barcelona, was designed by one of the city's famous modern architects, Calatrava.
The whole site is alive and an active part of the city. More recent Olympics have often not been as well planned or been so well integrated into the host cities life.
Today, the facilities are used for many sporting events as well as musical concerts which included that of the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Coldplay, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen.
How to Get to the Olympic Park in Barcelona
Metro: Lines 2 and 3, Paral·lel Station
Funicular: From Parallel Station take the Funicular Railway
Bus: 55 and 150
The Hop On-Hop Off bus also stops here so you can go down and enjoy the area.
It is really easy to get to the Park. Wherever you are in Barcelona, you can easily reach the place using the subway to Plaza Espanya.
Because we stayed in Gran Via, it was just a short walk for us to reach Plaza Espanya. From Plaza Espanya, take the Avinguda Maria Christina and go up the escalators to Palau Nacional and just keep walking up to the Olympic Park. With his cane, it was not at all difficult for my husband as there are escalators all the way.
It is a huge place and offers one of the most exhilarating views of Barcelona. You can bring a sandwich and a book and enjoy a day here.
There are so many other attractions in the area such as the Magic Fountain, the Palau Nacional, the Nacional Art Museum of Catalonia with a Romanesque collection which is one of the best in the world, the former bullfight arena, the Caixa Forum, an old factory designed in the days of Gaudi, transformed today into a gallery (with an entrance by Mees Van de Rohe ) with interesting exhibitions and galleries, the Poble Espanyol which showcases interesting features of the different regions of Spain.
The Olympic Torch
The Olympic Torch was the work of one of Barcelona's pioneers in industrial design, Andre Ricard Sala who was behind some of the popular products like the MiniMoka espresso machine, the Puig Eau-de-Cologne flask and the Orion clip-on mothball holder. I have never seen a clip on moth ball holder but it sounds impressive.
However, it was the Barcelona '92 OlympicTorch that really made him. The Polytechnic University of Catalonia, School of Engineering gave him advice on choosing the fuel and the shape of the flame.
Sala's design recalls the old Roman Amphora so characteristic of the Mediterranean and commonly used by its people. He made it so that it was not just an Olympic Torch but a display to the rest of the world of Barcelona's development as a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis.
Will the Olympics survive or just fade away as the greed of the organizers and the vanity of the hosts make the games impossible? The games in Barcelona unified the city and added new life, a fitting legacy.
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