The 2021 Olympics begin Friday, and to celebrate, the University of Arizona’s College of Humanities is offering a free online seminar about sports, culture and languages.

The seminar is part of the college’s Humanities Seminars Program, which was founded in 1984. Since then, the program has held about 400 lectures attended by more than 22,000 people.

The idea for the seminar came from Ken McAllister, the College of Humanities associate dean of research and program innovation.

On a vacation in New Mexico, McAllister overheard people in a store talking about the sports, countries and challenges involved with the Olympics.

"The Olympics is about the biggest humanities story you could hope for," McAllister said.

The free, 90-minute Olympic lecture will be held online July 22 at 7 p.m., led by faculty experts on many of the countries and cultures participating in this year’s Olympic Games.

The faculty will lead 10 short presentations on the Olympics and several countries, including Japan, Russia, Italy and Mexico.

These presentations will include topics such as the history and evolution of the Olympics, the origin of basketball and the numerous languages at the Olympics, among others. Those who attend can ask questions.

For more information or to register (required) for the lecture, visit

By Brianna McCord 547-9747