Another Disney Festival: the Winter Olympics

Golfer Inbee Park (r) from South Korea hands the Olympic flame over to ice hockey player Jong Su Hyon from North Korea at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, 9 February 2018. Photo by: Peter Kneffel/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics has inaugurated with grand performances of K-Pop music and fireworks in open stadium which cost 100 million US dollars but will only be used 4 times on Feb. 9. This kind of grand event which is costly regardless of facilities or performances is really familiar with the views all around the world nowadyas. Barely known, the one who made the Winter Olympics become this extravagant sports event actually is fairy tale kingdom Walt Disney. Furthermore, it is not too much to say that the scale expansion of Winter Olympics started from “Disneilization.”

Uebersicht ueber das Stadion, Olympisches Feuer ist entzuendet, Flamme, Panorama, Feuerwerk, Lasershow, Eroeffnungsfeier,Opening Ceremony, PyeongChang Olympic Stadium am 09.02.2018. Olympische Winterspiele 2018, vom 09.02. – 25.02.2018 in PyeongChang/ Suedkorea. |usage worldwide Photo by: Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

It has begun in 1960 when the Winter Olympics come to Village at Squaw, a ski resort, which was ineffectively managed by a former lawyer Alexander Cushing in America. When Alexander Cushing got the news that the 1960 Winter Olympics would be held in nearby Reno, Nevada, he showed strong desire for participation in the preparation of this huge international sport event. With money and personal relationships, soon he got contact with sports media having exclusive interview report to gain more fame and asked senator as a lobbyist, making use of the report to persuade the governor of California to allocate funds to sponsor him to compete for sponsorship of the Winter Olympics. After getting everything ready, in less than a week, he applied to the U.S. Olympic Committee. In fact, Cushing had no idea at all for holding an Olympics, and he also admitted that he knew the Olympics probably not as well as “Moonese.” Applying for holding the Olympic is just his marketing methods to promote his own ski resort. Although Village at Squaw wasn’t exactly well equipped and often damaged by snowslide and flood; however Cushing was eloquent and good at marketing. Eventually, Village at Squaw replaced Reno to apply Winter Olympics for the U.S. and ended up becoming the organizer.

Without any experience and background of sports, Cushing was once suspected of the capability, yet Cushing had promised to International Olympic Committee that he would hold a pure and simple Winter Olympics. In fact, it turned out the totally opposite outcome. In fact, the grand scale of this Olympic Game established high standards for each session in the future. The 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics is the first one that broadcast all over the U.S. With the invitation of the Olympic Committee, the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics unprecedentedly got supported by Walt Disney creative team─designing the torch relay, opening, closing award ceremony and venue layout. As Walt Disney agreed as a president of pageantry Committee of the Olympics, he set up an ad hoc group in the company. The vice-director of the studio, Ron Miller, and vice-chairman of production in Disney were members included. Furthermore, Disney also invited many Hollywood stars to the ceremony. Besides professionals, there were a lot of teenagers in America joining the game. For instance, Disney cooperated with the Music Educators Association in California and Nevada, recruiting young musicians to play for the Olympics. Due to the enthusiastic response, 3,680 student bands and choir members participated in it .

In this file photo from Jan. 1960, Crowds and athletes gather at the arena for the Winter Olympic games opening ceremony in Squaw Valley, Calif., The former Olympic ski resort of Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe have become so ingrained in the vernacular that they’re spoken without a second thought. And yet, nine states are on a mission to scrub “squaw” from their maps, a slang word first given to Native women that came to mean both a part of the female genitalia and a woman of ill repute. California is not among those states, to the continuing frustration of many regional Indian tribes. (AP Photo)

Disney filled the crude Squaw Valley with creation, entertainment and ambition. Because the accommodation facilities were not enough to contain players from all around the world, the team established the very first player villages. The players could not only learn from each other about sports but have some entertainment activities together like free movies and fine clubs for music and dancing; not to mention how fun with those Hollywood stars participating is.

This is a view of Little Pappose Peak in rear and Squaw Valley Lodge Terrace with people relaxing outside, 1960, Squaw Valley, Calif. (AP Photo)

Influenced by the designers and engineers of Disney, the Winter Olympics was dyed with bright and vivid Disney color. 30 snow statues of players whose height was up to 4.9 meters was placed at the sides of players avenue. At the opening ceremony, 2000 peace pigeons and 30,000 balloons were released. The stars performed well-arranged shows and the largest fireworks manufacturer in Japan took charge of the fireworks display. In a luxurious way of Disney, the Winter Olympics which used to keep a low profile has become costly, which made the role of the sponsors has never been so important. Cushing had decided the budget was just 1 million U.S. dollars, ending up with an overdraft of 20 times. According to The Wall Street Journal, only to maintain Squaw Valley Park cost California government a loss of 200,000 U.S. dollars.

Pageantry chairman Walt Disney of the Winter Olympics points to a model of one of 30 snow statues, each 14 feet high which will decorate the main area during the games at Squaw Valley, California in February and shown Nov. 24, 1959. Each of the statues will depict a competitor in the various events. This one is an ice hockey goal tender. California cities and towns will sponsor the individual snow creations. (AP Photo/David F. Smith)

In a short 11-day schedule, financial and the celebrities overwhelmed and packaged the game as a grand spectacle. Since then, the Winter Olympics are based on this scale as a model, which turned the Olympics from the simple games into a grand event. As Cushing’s wish, his ski resort got fame and has become one of the top ski resorts in America, besides, the conspicuous consumption of the Olympic Games and its over-spending has become the new normal.

Taenzer, Gaukler, choreographie with Trommlern, Ballett, Fantasy, Kultur, Eroeffnungsfeier, Opening Ceremony, PyeongChang Olympic Stadium am 09.02.2018. Olympische Winterspiele 2018, vom 09.02. – 25.02.2018 in PyeongChang/ Suedkorea. |usage worldwide Photo by: Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images