Universal Athletics Revisited

This shows the pathway to Kvamsholmen, accessable at low tide, which is post #24 in the 2023 version of Inderøy Walks. The photo appears on the Inderøy municipality website promoting the walks. Photo: Inderøy municipality.

Today, this year’s Inderøy Walks opened at 11:00 at the Mosvik Museum. This is the 18th consecutive year that Inderøy Walks is being held. In 2023, there are 48 posts. 13 can be visited by wheelchair users. Twelve posts are accessible from a kayak (when the tide is favourable). This year, as last year, parking is available that allows one to visit several destinations/ posts on a slightly longer trip. As usual, Trish and I will be participating in the opening arrangement, but a day later to avoid the crowds. We have the posts downloaded onto our hand-held devices/ mobile phones. These are used to register a visit to a post. After a recorded visit, a post cannot be visited again for 22 hours, for it to be counted!

For us, Inderøy Walks is the closest we come to the spirit of Universal Athletics. In 2016 this weblog criticised the elitism of the Olympic Games in a post titled Universal Athletics. This was followed up with another post about a proposed logo and motto the next day. There was yet another post two days later, with a suggestion for a manifesto. The sequence ended with a post about parades, a week later. This weblog post is being published seven years later, with further suggestions for ending elitism, and the Olympic Games themselves, and encouraging everyone to become physically, mentally, emotionally and ethically strong, given their capabilities and the current situation.

In particular, my concern is that the pandemic contributed to a negative spiral where people became physically, mentally, emotionally and ethically weaker, at the same time as they are become less tolerant of other people.

I have no objection to people watching videos, listening to podcasts or even reading for inspiration. However, there is no need for the majority to watch the Olympics or other sporting events, either in person, or on screens, for entertainment. The goal of Universal Athletics (and of Inderøy Walks) is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate locally, in their own community, and to have fun. Spectatoring should be allowed in some situations. For example, it seems appropriate that parents should attend activities where their children, or other family members, are participating. This might even be extended to local communities, where some people participate while others work for the benefit of that community. These will be live events, although even here, there could be valid reasons why some people will need to see the events on video.

There is no need for any committee to organize events, internationally, nationally or even regionally. There is no need for any form of competition, except – perhaps – an individual attempting to compete against a previous incarnation of her-/ himself.

In previous posts, I was particularly concerned that an elite tried to make an artificial distinction between amateur and professional. One specific incident is of particular importance. Wa-Tho-Huk = Bright Path, in the Fox language, aka James (Jim) Francis Thorpe (1887 – 1953), who was stripped of his pentathlon and decathlon medals when it was discovered that he had played semi-professional baseball before the Olympics.

In 1983, 30 years after Jim Thorpe’s death in 1953, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) restored his Olympic medals with replicas, after ruling that the decision to strip him of his medals fell outside of the required 30 days. Until 2022-07-14, Thorpe was listed as co-champion in both the decathlon and pentathlon events according to official IOC records. However, on 2022-07-14, the IOC reinstated Thorpe as the sole winner of the events.

One important characteristic is that he excelled at many different activities: ballroom dancing, baseball, football, lacrosse, the pentathlon (with the five events being long jump, javelin throw, 200 metres running, discus throw and 1500 metres running). The decathlon doubles this to ten events over two days. Day 1: 100 metres,  long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 metres. Day 2: 110 metres hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and 1500 meters.

By design, the Olympic Games were a means for the aristocracy and other members of an elite to promote their own interests. They have no interest in the well being or proficiency of ordinary people. Ordinary people are only useful for their ability to finance events, most often indirectly by watching television advertising, but also through taxation, when governments pay to host games.

With the pandemic, the Olympic games of 2020 were postponed to 2021. Because of social distancing and other prophylactic measures, there was no opportunity for any universal athletics in that time frame. Athletics should be fun, but should focus on people developing their own personal athletic potential, but with a sense of humility.


Previously, as word of the year, I have written about parkour, and its origins. Two other terms for parkour are freerunning and l’art du deplacement. Parkour seems to give the greatest freedom of interpretation, as does the term traceur, for a participant, rather than freerunner. In this post I would like to mention two video representations showing parkour, in a form only suitable for younger people, that were made twenty years apart.

The first video is Yamakasi, modern day Samurai, from 2001. The link shows a highlight from the film. Wikipedia explains that the Yamakasi are a group of young thrill seekers of different ethnic backgrounds who are all dedicated to parkour. They live in France in a banlieue, a ghetto especially designed for paupers and traditionally inhabited by immigrants from former French colonies. The motley group uses their sport to enjoy themselves without drugs and to gain recognition in a peaceful way. One morning, they are reported buildering, the act of climbing on the outside of buildings and other artificial structures, a portmanteau, combining the word building with the climbing term bouldering the east side of the Bleuets building in Lisses, France. This is the place where David Belle invented Parkour in 1990 and evading the police after that. Each member is introduced through his birth name and alias to the spectators of the film too: Zicmu (Ousmane Dadjacan, played by Yann Hnautra), Tango (Jean-Michel Lucas, played by Laurent Piemontesi), Rocket (Abdou N’Goto, played by Guylain N’Guba-Boyeke), the Spider (Bruno Duris, played by Williams Belle), the Weasel (Malik N’Diaye, played by Malik Diouf), Baseball (Oliver Chen, played by Châu Belle Dinh), and Sitting Bull (Ousmane Bana, played by Charles Perrière).

The second, much shorter video shows Nicholas Visintin, Italian national parkour athlete and parkour team technician, appearing on a 2021 music video, Animus! performed by the Italian band, Moonlight Haze. According to Chiara Tricarico (1989 – ), frontwoman and lyricist of Moonlight Haze, the title track was selected as their first single because it best represents their upcoming album’s essence. It is a mix of symphonic, power and epic elements, and a choice of words that encourages people to work hard and never give up. Animus has nuances of a Latin word for courage and willpower. To quote Ovid (43 BC – 17/ 18 AD), Animus tamen omnia vincit = courage conquers all things.

“While we were thinking about the meaning of the song, the analogy with a sport was the first idea that sprung to mind. Therefore, we decided to involve Nicholas Visintin – an athlete of the Italian parkour national team. We’ve been listening to the song together, surprised at how much its message matched the ethics of this sport perfectly: having a goal, overcoming obstacles and often falling and getting hurt, but always struggling to get up and fight till the end.”

When your task seems too hard
Remember all the times
You thought you would have failed but then you made it
So if the path appears so narrow
And the road is steep
Go gather all your strength right from within (from within)

Climb way higher, free your fire
Never looking down below
Aim for the top, keep in motion
Get ready sometimes to fall

Step by step, till the end
Even if you’re afraid
Just focus on your goal with no distractions (no distractions)
What if I slip today?
My efforts would be in vain
My fear of heights is getting stronger
…then you’ll try again!

Climb way higher, free your fire
Never looking down bеlow
Aim for the top, keep in motion
Get ready somеtimes to fall

Light the embers, make it happen
Dare to fight against the odds
Be the one to shape your future
Just unleash you inner force

“Animus tamen omnia vincit
Animus omnia vincit”

Climb way higher, free your fire
Never looking down below
Aim for the top, keep in motion
Get ready sometimes to fall

Light the embers, make it happen
Dare to fight against the odds
Be the one to shape your future
Just unleash you inner force
(Unleash your inner force!)


The purpose of this post is to encourage each individual to become physically, mentally, emotionally and ethically strong, given their current condition and situation. It is not my intention that someone who is 70 should act as if they were 20, or even 50. The New York Post had an article about seniors (all between 60 and 85) learning parkour, but with the main elements adjusted to a level that can be handled by those over 60 who have replacement joints or other medical conditions.

Hopefully, people will see their local environment in a new and challenging way, and envision the potential for navigating it by movement around, across, through, over and under its features.

Unleash your inner forces: physical, mental, emotional and ethical!

Universal Athletics – Parades

The Olympic Games have their monomyth – the lighting of the Olympic torch at Mount Olympus, Greece, and its transport to the site of the games somewhere else in the world. Torchbearing is good public relations, that brings a lot of public interest resulting in ticket sales and, more importantly, passive television viewing. It also provides historiosity, an intertwined package of ersatz-historic fact, pseudo-myth and quasi-designed torches. Paloma Faith is a typical torchbearer. In her photo from the 2012 London (England) Olympics, below, she demonstrates the Olympic ideals – skyhigh patent red heels, custom white tracksuit,  bare midriff with belly jewelry. If only I knew something about designer sunglasses, hair fashions and makeup, I could comment on all those items too. It doesn’t matter that the flame is missing, when so many other important elements are included.

Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith, Iconic Olympic torchbearer

Each community, of course, has its own myths that are equally valid to promote. Those that never had, or have lost, their myths, can always invent new or adopt different ones.

One way for communities to show their spirit is to hold parades that emphasize the mathematical equation: Unity = Cooperation + (the joy of) Diversity.

Unique Parades

If one googles “unique parades” one of the first items listed  takes you to Huffpost Women, and an article titled Weird and Wacky Parades from Around the World. The first parade listed, “The Mermaid Parade celebrates the sand, the sea, the beginning of summer, and the history and mythology of Coney Island.” Alas, a disappointing parade, just like the two next ones on their list: Running of the Nudes and Go Blonde Parade.

For those of you who were directed here because a search engine found the phrase “mermaid parade” you will be disappointed. This blog is far too honest and un-American to show a female breast with its nipple covered by a miniature sea shell. I have never understood why it is acceptable to display 98% of a breast, but unacceptable to show 2%, consisting of its only working part. The Cony Island (NY, USA) Mermaid Parade will not be discussed further. I gave more serious consideration to including the “Running of the Nudes” through the streets of Pamplona (Spain). This is a more compassionate and fun remake of the “Corrida de toros” or “Running of the Bulls.” I particularly liked their slogan, “Out with the old, in with the nude!” Again, this blog is not in the business of providing gratuitous nudity, even if the purpose of the run is the promotion of animal welfare.

Also missing from this list is the Riga (Latvia) Go Blonde Parade. I appreciate blondes. In fact I appreciate all natural hair colours. I am less enthusiastic about dyed hair, be it black as a replacement for gray, or bright red/ green/ blue as a replacement for mouse brown. My main objection with Go Blonde type of parades is that they exclude non-blondes. Some of my best friends are non-blondes, and I would want them to participate on equal footing in any parade.

Riga Go Blond Parade
Riga’s Go Blonde Parade will not be included here!

Lobsterdog Parade

Pets (believe  they) are people! Many feel they should be included in parades. Naturally, Homo sapiens with pet allergies are not always in agreement. At the Port of Los Angeles there is an annual  Lobster Festival, with a Lobsterdog Parade as a highlight.

Parades, like most cultural artifacts, morph! While searching for an appropriate photo of Lobsterdog, I came across an almost iconic photo of a costumed pooch. It appears to be from the Lakewood, Ohio Pet-Tique Spooky Pooch Parade, in 2010. Not being a dog psychologist, whisperer, trainer or owner I have very little understanding of dog feelings, especially when they are subjected to humanoid whims. However, the mutt in the photo looks sad, and is undoubtedly aware of his loss of dignity.

Lobsterdog parade
Unidentified pooch in lobsterdog costume (photo: Marianne Riccardi?)

Houston Car Art Parade

Cars are (treated as) people. Since 1984,  some 250,000 people (not all certified psychiatric cases) watch over 250 vehicles. It started when Texas artist Jackie Harris spent $800 transforming a 1967 Ford station wagon into a “fruitmobile”.

There are countless variants:  The Friday night “cruise” immortalized in American Graffiti, and countless other tedious teen films; Annual car parades featuring, in alphabetical order, classic cars, hot rods, muscle cars, sports cars, station wagons, touring cars, veteran cars. Most of these variations focus on preservation of past technology, a few allow owners to improve – or at least change it. The big difference with Houston is that the parade focuses on the creation of automotive art.

sunflower art car 2002
Sunflower Car, Houston Art Car Parade, 2002

Bosch Parade

Now we come to one of my favorite parades, Bosch! I’ll let the organizers describe it in their own words. “Every June, since 2010, the waters of ’s-Hertogenbosch provide the venue for the Bosch Parade. A wondrous armada of vessels and objects inspired by the work and ideas of Medieval painter Jheronimus [sic] Bosch. Artists from all disciplines (art, theatre, dance, music, architecture) collaborate with groups of enthusiastic amateurs and volunteers to create this artistic, water-borne parade. This spawns not only a creative floating parade by and for the city, but also an extensive creativity network throughout the city.”

House of Hell, from Bosch Parade 2, 2014

The Olympic Games have their opening and closing ceremonies. Universal Athletics can have as many or as few parades as people want. Hopefully, this will provide some inspiration.

Universal Athletics – Manifesto

Every self-respecting protest movement has at least one manifesto. Here is a first attempt to write one for Universal Athletics. Suggestions for improvements are appreciated.

1. Value God, your family and yourself above any sport.

2. Participate in sports and athletics that you find fun and keep you fit.

3. Cooperative sports are to be preferred to competitive sports.

4. Sportsmanship is the moral essence of the Athletes.

5. Many if not most competitive teams are wealth extraction organizations.

6. Team loyalty is nonsense, and pits your interests against those of a team.

7. Avoid sports related and other branded merchandise.

8: Exercising and playing is better than than watching others exercise and play.

Universal Athletics – Logo & Motto

Today’s effort was to work on a logo for Universal Athletics. The first version has no text, the next ones incorporates the English language motto, “Having fun, Keeping fit”. This is followed by Norwegian and Swedish versions with the same motto in translation.

Without text

UA Logo

English Version

UA Logo + Motto

Norwegian Version

UA Norsk

Swedish Version

UA Svensk

Universal Athletics

The Olympic Games hold little appeal. They represent yet another example of how the world’s elite allow taxpayers to subsidize their participation at events, where a class of entertainers called athletes – many using performance enhancing drugs – compete.

The only way the majority get to see the Olympics is on their television screens. Rights to the events are sold to media corporations, who inflict viewers with excessive advertisements, to extract wealth for themselves – and the very exclusive 100 members of the International Olympic Committee.

The Olympic Games got off to a bad start. Nationalism was at the root of Greek interest in reviving the Olympic Games after the Greek War of Independence,  which ended in 1821. Games were held sporadically in 1859, 1870 and 1875.  The International Olympic Committee was started in 1894, organizing the 1896 Olympic Games. The committee focused on nationalism, inviting countries to compete against countries, rather than athletes to compete against athletes.

Participants outside the elite were also discriminated against, with an artificial distinction between amateur and professional. Two incidents were of particular importance. Jim Thorpe was stripped of his pentathlon and decathlon medals when it was discovered that he had played semi-professional baseball before the Olympics. Swiss and Austrian skiers boycotted the  1936 Winter Olympics in support of their skiing teachers, who were not allowed to compete because they earned money with their sport.

Jim Thorpe (1887-1953) is particularly interesting. Not only was he of mixed Native American and European ancestry, he excelled at many different sports. At Carlisle Indian Industrial school he competed in football, baseball, lacrosse and ballroom dancing. The pentathlon involves long jump, javelin throw, 200 metres, discus throw and 1500 metres. The decathaon features ten events over two days. Day 1: 100 metres,  long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 metres. Day 2: 110 metres hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and 1500 meters. Later, he played baseball, football and basketball professionally. An ABC Sports poll voted Thorpe the Greatest Athlete of the Twentieth Century in competition with 15 other world famous athletes.

Jim Thorpe

The Olympic Games were envisioned as a means for the aristocracy and other members of the elite to promote their own interests. This began to be eroded with Eastern Bloc state-sponsored full-time amateur athletes. Amateurism was gradually phased out of the Olympic Charter from the 1970s to 1988, when all professional athletes were made eligible to participate.

The reason behind this post is that Russian polevalter Yelena Isinbayeva says she will file a discrimination suit if Russia’’s ban from global track and field competition is upheld and she is barred from competing at the Rio Olympics. What this says is that the country, not the athlete is important. This is the wrong emphasis.

What I would like to happen is for people to forget about national teams and to encourage local athletics and sports. Athletics should be fun. I hope people will use their time between 2016-08-05 and 2016-08-21 to develop their own athletic potential, rather than sitting in front of a screen watching others.

If enough of us begin at the local level, a universal athletics movement can’t be far behind.

Pavel Golokin 2016 Yelena Isinbayeva
Yelena Isinbayeva