Media Advisory | Feb. 25, 2010

The cultural legacy of the 2010 Winter Olympics

Sport wasn’t the only winning act of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Music, art, performances and programs riveted hundreds of thousands of onlookers who gathered in official venues and on city streets to enjoy Olympic-inspired culture.

So what is the legacy of the 2010 Games and the associated Cultural Olympiad? And what does the Olympic experience mean for Canada’s cultural sectors moving forward?

UBC experts include:

Charles Menzies, Anthropology and Sociology
Aboriginal issues, First Nations, land claims, racism/race relations, fisheries, forestry, natural resources, the environment,

“The 2010 Olympics drew upon local First Nations involvement and support in a manner not previously seen in B.C., Canada or previous Olympics. The question is, can this type of involvement and public spectacle be transformed into meaningful change where it is really needed – in our communities where unemployment and social conditions rival some of the worst areas of the globe.”

Patrick Condon, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Transportation, urban design, sustainable communities

“One of the miracles of the games is that it was, for many, easier to get around than ever before. The shift of resources and people to transit proved that we are tantalizingly close to the dream of a walkable, and transit friendly region. Wouldn’t it be great if some of the celebratory atmosphere that we all experienced, when joining the throngs on our sidewalks and riding with revelers in our buses, could last forever? We are so so close.

Richard Kurth, Professor of Music and Director, UBC School of Music
Critical stances to music and poetry, connections between analysis and performance

“The biggest positive legacy of the Cultural Olympiad is the tremendous energy and creativity that local performing artists and organizations have marshaled to create a fantastic array of wonderful events inspired by Olympic ideals and experiences. But as usual, by dint of necessity, artists and arts organizations are finding innovative ways to do amazing things on a starvation budget. For unlike the Games themselves, the Cultural Olympiad has not created a physical legacy of any major new performance venues or boosted provincial or federal commitment for arts funding.” 

Sid Katz, Executive Director, Community Affairs
UBC Public Affairs at 604.822.6397,
Culture, Olympics, creator of Sports and Society series

“I think universities are there to ask and find answers to the key questions associated with the Olympics, including whether the Games are inclusionary and whether the legacy is worth the effort – that’s why I organized the Sport and Society series[at UBC’s Chan Centre for the Performing Arts].”

Visit UBC’s Online 2010 Media Centre – – to connect with UBC 2010 experts, story ideas and students from your country.

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