Black History at the Olympics

We did A Thing

A few days before the Beijing 2022 Olympics started, I saw a video talking about the athletes representing Africa by Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam. Chibuogwu works with AIPS Media and is top of her game and experienced in covering the Olympics and different sports.

Her video gave birth to the idea of doing a short mini-series podcast on the Beijing Olympics. We had to sort out the practical matters. We live in different countries and we both have busy schedules. But this is supposed to be a fun project. A couple of back and forth later, we settled on a recording date and what we want to do.

Here’s the thing; during the process of refining and adjusting what we want the podcast to be, taking the idea from just doing a Beijing podcast to talking about Black History at the Olympics, something that neither of us anticipated happened. The nuance of race.

This is meant to be an introduction to a feel-good podcast to share parts of the history of the Olympics and athletes who find their place and adapt to conditions that are different from the familiar for some of them. We live in a world that demands specificity of description. Just saying people or history does not adequately define anything.

Black History is rich and diverse, and for long moments, we thought about whose history qualifies as Black. The point remains that conversations about people and race are not the easiest to have. Talking about the history of specific people might feel like alienating another. But that would also demand the context of alienation in history and sports.

What I did learn from this short series are the nuances of what and how we talk about Black History at the Olympics. What comes to mind in respect of how people might perceive it and there are people genuinely bothered by the word “Black” and personally, how amazing athletes who participate in any winter sports truly are.

In the end, we hope you listen to this podcast without the lens of colour or the prejudice of race. We hope you see the beauty in the strength and grace of the athletes we talk about and understand why what they do is important.