For the past few weeks it's been impossible to miss the Rio Olympics or the upcoming Paralympics. The competitors are national heroes whether they win or not. Reporting on the games heads the television and radio news bulletins and it's splashed across the front pages of newspapers instead of being confined to the back. You might find it strange then, that I wish there was more.
    There is another Olympiad that I had never come across until about 12 years ago, and I only heard about it then because, in my role as a writer for the local press, I met one of the women selected to represent Great Britain. I'm speaking of the Cultural Olympiad. This was held for the first time in the modern period in 1912 with medals for architecture, sculpture, painting, music and literature. Have you ever heard of it? Do you know who any of the winners are? Are the works in the Cultural Olympiad famous? Are the medallists fe╠éted? Maybe in their own fields, but I doubt it even then.
    Details of Rio's Cultural Olympiad are hard to come by. The fact that Brazil's political and economic difficulties resulted in the abolition and reinstatement of the Ministry of Culture hasn't helped. Apparently, the Cultural Olympiad this time consists mainly of surprise events with organisers relying on spontaneous street entertainment such as dance, theatre and flash mobs.
    Those in control of the purse strings always talk about how important and life enhancing both culture and sport are, how they both increase the spiritual wellbeing and health, but they are never treated as equally important. It governments really believe that culture is as essential and sport, why is the Cultural Olympiad being allowed to wither away?