Olympians in different guises

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Long Jump

Kadar Klouchi - Long Jump

Do you remember that the Olympics was also to celebrate the arts as well? The success of team GB seems to have overshadowed that side of things as all the media especially the BBC seems to have concentrated on the sporting side to the omission of everything else.
On Saturday, for example, Greg Rutherford jump won a gold medal for GB in the long jump. But the record jump is not held by him or even Carl Lewis, the long jumper most of us remember as the greatest. It’s held by the American, Bob Beamon whose record was set 44 years ago.
Today Beamon has a different role. He is CEO of the Fort Myers based Art of the Olympians Museum and Gallery in Fort Myers. The idea was established by another Olympian, Al Oerter, who won gold medals at four different games in the discus. An abstract painter himself he conceived the idea as a way of telling youth about – amongst other things – excellence in all aspects of life. And who thinks of Olympians as being good in other forms of activity other than sport? Now 75 Olympians have revealed how they are successful in another aspect of their lives – aspects like photography, poetry, film making, sculpture and art.
Remember Shane Gould, the Australian swimmer who dominated swimming in the 1972 Olympic Games? Or Peggy Fleming who won at figure skating at the winter Olympics in 1968 or Flo-Jo, one of the greatest sprinting athletes? All are celebrated by Art of the Olympians as is Kader Klouchi, the Algerian and, like Rutherford, a long jumper who competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Today he is an artist with his paintings being exhibited the world over.
For the first time in this country some of the work of these Olympians can be seen in London. The free exhibition at University College, London in Gower Street is open until the end of the Olympics so you need to jump to it if you want to see it before it departs these shores!
For more on the Art of the Olympians, click here.

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