Olympic Bosses try to ban Katia’s book
by Andrew Jennings
Wednesday February 10, 2010
As Canadians wake up to the staggering costs of this month’s Vancouver Olympics the organisers of the 2016 games in Rio are trying to suppress criticism at home.
Brazil’s national Olympic committee has threatened Sao Paulo University professor Katia Rubio, who teaches sport psychology and Olympic studies, with criminal prosecution and ordered her to destroy all copies of her controversial new book Sport, Education and Olympic Values.
Leading the charge against her is up and coming IOC member Carlos Nuzman, president of the Brazilian committee. He led the successful bid for 2016 and now chairs the organising committee.
Nuzman’s committee are using the excuse that the word ‘Olympic’ in her book title belongs to them and she hasn’t bought a licence to use it. Said a shocked professor Rubio, ‘I study Olympic ideas, how come I cannot use the word? Our Brazilian Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and the press. This is a clear attempt to intimidate me.
‘I’m not using the word ‘Olympic’ for commercial reasons, to sell merchandise. The word is used as a topic of scientific study to which I – and many others – have dedicated their professional lives. And I didn’t use ‘rings.’ I used medals on the cover illustration.
‘Yet they insist that the words 'Olympic', 'Olympics', 'Olympiad', 'Olympic Games' and its variants are the exclusive property of the Brazilian Olympic Committee in Brazil.
‘My book is written for school children because I believe that Olympic values contribute to history, education, society and a culture of peace.’
Many of her supporters believe that Professor Rubio is under attack because she is not afraid to tackle environmental issues, multiculturalism and doping.
Her lawyer Alberto Murray said, ‘Katia has always been an independent thinker and never took money from the Brazilian Olympic committee to fund her research.’
He added, ‘Carlos Nuzman and his gang are trying to control any publication about Olimpism. This is scary, it is not so long ago that Brazil was under a military dictatorship and the universities were silenced.’
Journalists and scholars world-wide have protested to the Brazilian Olympic Committee about their heavy-handed actions. This week the BNOC capitulated and withdrew the threat to criminalise the professor.
But Katia warned, ‘They want to go back to the time of the Inquisition where only the initiated could be part of the mysteries and books could be purged in the flames. We should not forget they chose which books were allowed.’
‘As Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream" - and I will continue to have it, regardless of the action of the Brazilian Olympic Committee. My dream is still linked to the country that I love and the country I wish to live in and how sport can contribute to this.’
‘Publishing is the duty of researchers, especially from the humanities, and this is one of many that I want to publish on the Olympic theme.
‘I have a book forthcoming on Brazil’s Olympic Women. What do I do about it? Name the unnamable or do I let them trample the flowers of my garden as in Eduardo Alves da Costa’s poetic tribute to Mayakovsky?’
"The first night they approach and pick a flower from our garden and not say anything.
The second night, no longer hidden: step on the flowers, kill our dog and do not say anything.
Until one day the most fragile of them entered alone in our house robs us the moon and, knowing our fear,
We start the voice of the neck. And why not say anything, we can not say anything "
Brazil has two IOC members. Joao Havelange, the man who looted football for 24 years, has been a member since 1963. He plans his world-wide travels carefully, avoiding touching ground in Switzerland in case the gendarmes invite him to discuss the US$100 million ISL bribes scandal.
In his shadow is Carlos Nuzman who joined the ranks of the elite competitors for the four-yearly lobster-guzzling record back in 2000. He’s a lawyer in the property business.
They are currently enjoying an extravagant lifestyle in Vancouver. When they’ve recovered they’ll be heading off to Singapore for their first Youth Olympics this summer. You can understand why they don’t want the teenagers reading Professor Rubio’s potentially subversive book. They might start comparing their modest accommodation with the holiday home of the Guardians of the Olympic Ideal.
The 5,000 athletes will be housed on the campus of Nanyang Technological University in what the organisers describe as ‘comfortable, but not lavish accommodation.’
The IOC has reserved the 32-story Singapore Ritz-Carlton for their exclusive use. It boasts hosting ‘the rich and elite,’ is the ‘Best Hotel in Asia’ and was used to launch the new Mercedes S-Class gas guzzlers in Asia.
The Ritz-Carlton boasts of its gigantic marble bathrooms giving guests panoramic views across Singapore while entertaining hand-picked visitors.
And you can write directly to the Brazilian NOC.