FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Brig Beatie is a professor of kinesiology at Fresno State. However, that is not the only thing he teaches; he also leads a class on the history of the Olympics.
“So, this wasn’t my idea. It was another faculty member on campus, Mark Baldis. He created the curriciulum and the idea of the class,” says Beatie. “I don’t know where he got the idea to do it, but once he stopped teaching it he turned it over to me, basically. They said, ‘hey, want to teach this class?’ And I said, ‘sure do.'”
So what is on the syllabus? After all, ‘History of the Olympics’ is self-explanatory.
“So a lot of the ancient games, we spend a couple of weeks on the ancient games,” says Beatie. “They did it for 1,200 years, so we could talk a lot more, but certainly the records aren’t there so much. We talk about how it was a tribute to Zeus and it was all about this festival for him, and it was all religious. The games, really, were nothing. It was just like a sideshow.”
That is certainly not the case anymore.
And in the summer of 2021, in Tokyo, Brig Beatie got to experience the Olympics firsthand. He was there as a referee for beach volleyball.
“The first day of this semester was like, ‘hey, guess what I got to do, you know?’ he smiled. “And it was interesting because I’ve taught it for a few years and then I was hopeful to get to the Olympics, and then be able to come back and share the story with the class of having been to the Olympics.”
Even if it was not a normal Olympics due to COVID-19.
“I can share the story of the Olympics, the only Olympics in history to ever get postponed,” said Beatie. “I want to give them an appreciation for history. And I think, coupling it with the Olympic games, with something that I think is really cool.
“That’s not really history. It’s the Olympics, you know?”