Were there 5 million people at the Cubs rally downtown last week? Everyone agrees that there were a lot of people there, but just how do they decide on a number? One estimation method was developed by journalism professor Herbert Jacobs in the 1960s. The method is described by msnbc in an article that discusses estimating crowds and some recent historical gatherings. And in 2011, Popular Mechanics magazine talked about some of the science behind crowd estimation.
If you are suffering from Olympic withdrawal now that the Rio Olympic games are in the history books, check out MVCC Library’s collection for materials that might be of interest.
This past August was the 80th anniversary of Jesse Owens winning Olympic gold at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. “Germany made broadcast history by being the first to televise a sports event–the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin. The quality was poor and live transmissions could only be seen in special viewing booths in Berlin and Potsdam. But the Nazi regime took the opportunity to showcase its considerable radio broadcasting capabilities at the 1936 Olympics and focus the world’s attention on Germany. Ironically, in doing so, they helped bring international attention to African-American track star Jesse Owens who won four gold medals in track and field (100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and the 4x 100-meter relay)” (Fischer 3).
New to our collection is the DVD true story of Jesse Owens titled Race. Starring Stephan James as Owens and Jason Sudekis as Owens’ coach, it depicts his rise to fame as an Olympic track runner in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Striking are the scenes in which the racial climate of Adolf Hitler’s Germany is depicted, especially when Hitler did not want to meet Owens after winning his race(s). “Eighty years later, Jesse Owens is still remembered, not only as an Olympic hero but for destroying Adolf Hitler’s myth of racial purity” (Fischer 3).
So if you are a fan of Usain Bolt and enjoyed watching his Olympic races in Rio, check out this movie to learn about one of his most famous predecessors.
Race can be found here in our collection and for a limited time in the Library’s main floor lounge area. A nice companion to this movie is the book Nazi games : the Olympics of 1936 by David Clay Large, found here in our collection.
Fischer, Audrey. “Olympic Games: Broadcasts of the Olympic Games Bring the Event to Life for Millions of Viewers and Leave a Record Behind for Posterity.” Library of Congress Magazine July/August 2016: 3. PDF. 24 August 2016.
While tomorrow night’s opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games will certainly be artistic, today’s Olympics lack another kind of artistry that was in place for four decades. From 1912 to 1952, the Olympics included artistic events along side the sporting ones. Over the years, a total of 151 medals were awarded for architecture, music, painting, sculpture and literature for works that took their inspiration from sport.
In 1912, the first gold medal for sculpture was awarded to American Walter Winans for his bronze piece, American Trotter. This was Winans’ third Olympic medal however, having already won two for the sport of sharpshooting.
In 1948, a silver medal was won by John Copley for his engraving Polo Players. This made him the oldest ever medal recipient. He no longer holds that title, since the art competitions have been removed from the Olympic record. The 151 medals awarded for arts also no longer count in current countries’ medal counts.
The Olympic art events saw varying levels of popularity over the years. Their removal from the games came about for a different reason though. The Olympics were always meant to be a showcase of the best amateurs from around the world. It was decided that art could no longer be included because the artists were in fact professionals, earning their livings from their works.
It started with an article Jeanne Marie Laskas wrote for GQ magazine titled “Game Brain.” She helped to publicly expose the work of forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu who discovered the brain disease CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) that many NFL football players/retirees were dying from, some committing suicide over.
Omalu’s story began when Mike Webster, aka “Iron Mike,” a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers died suddenly. He performed the autopsy and started doing exhaustive research, paying for tests on Webster’s brain out of his own pocket, to try to figure out what made this former NFL player go mad. “What Omalu discovered in Mike Webster’s brain—proof that Iron Mike’s mental deterioration was no accident, but a disease caused by relentless blows to the head that could affect everyone playing the game—was the one truth the NFL would do anything to keep secret.” (Back cover book.)
MVCC Library has Laskas’s book Concussion, which is based on her GQ article. We also have the DVD motion picture adaptation of the same name, starring Will Smith (as Dr. Omalu). As a librarian who does not enjoy sports, I can tell you the movie and book look riveting! Check them both out in tandem if you’d like. The book is located here in our catalog, and the DVD is located here (both for a limited time located in the main floor lounge area).
Also, check out Laskas’s original GQ article here.
Last week, 15 former NFL football players filed a lawsuit against the NFL. The players are suing because they feel the NFL “misled players about the long-term dangers of concussions.” The library has recently acquired several new resources related to the topic of brain injuries and brain damage, including:
Baseball is considered to be “America’s favorite pastime,” but how much do you know about its history? Recently added to the library’s collection was Ken Burns’ PBS miniseries, Baseball. The miniseries traces the origins of baseball in the 1840’s and covers its history up until 2009. The miniseries took over 4 years to create, employed 21 scholars, and includes interviews with writers, historians, fans, players, and managers. For more information about individual episodes from the miniseries, check out the PBS website.
You can also check out one of our books on baseball, including:
In a surprise for both opera lovers and football fans, soprano Renée Fleming will be singing the national anthem for the opening of this year’s Super Bowl. This is a significant departure from the last five years which featured female pop divas Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, and Jennifer Hudson. While Fleming is not the first classical musician to perform at the Super Bowl, she is the first opera singer. For those unfamiliar with her work, Fleming is a four-time Grammy winner, a National Medal of the Arts recipient, and has sung in opera houses and concert halls around the world. She’s also the Creative Consultant at our very own Lyric Opera of Chicago.
While I’m certain that there are many football-loving opera fans out there, there might be fewer opera-loving football fans, and indeed, I think many of us assume opera and football to be on opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. However, they’re not as different as you might think! Check out the Top Five Similarities Between Opera and Football.
If you’re interested in exploring some of Fleming’s work, check out the following items available in our library:
Aja Evans is heading to Sochi with the U.S. bobsled team! She first started her athletic career as a track star in high school and at the University of Illinois during college. It was only in 2012 when she turned to bobsled, but you could say it just runs in the family.
Evans’ brother is the defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, her uncle is Gary Matthews is the former hitting coach of the Chicago Cubs, her cousin is Major League Baseball player Gary Matthews, Jr. and her father was the first African American swimmer to win a national collegiate championship.
For more information on Aja Evans, check out these stories from: