When Australian runner Sally Pearson lines up today at the World Championships in London for the final of the 110m hurdles, the Olympic gold medallist may reach for the five-ringed tattoo on her back and channel the greats who have gone before her. Might she spare a thought for the legendary Betty Cuthbert, who died this week, aged 79? Perhaps she’ll look to the immense sporting deeds of Usain Bolt. Or maybe, just maybe, she’ll look further back, to an age when the Olympics really meant something: when it awarded gold medals for the arts. This month marks the 105th anniversary of the introduction at the 1912 Stockholm Games of gold medal events in the fields of architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture. Between that year and 1952, more than 150 Olympic medals were awarded to original works by artists from around the world. Pierre de Coubertin, who founded the modern Games and the International Olympic Committee, decreed culture be recognised alongside athletics in the pursuit of uniting “muscle and the mind”. The artistic categories were scrapped in 1952 and sidelined as an exhibition — the “cultural Olympiad”. Surely, as our ageing Olympic team contemplates its future amid paltry medal counts at the past two Games, the time is right to bring the arts back into the fold. Who wouldn’t want to see Richard Flanagan, Simone Young (see our story on Page 4), Les Murray or Archibald Prize winner Mitch Cairns (with apologies to John Olsen) stepping up to the podium to accept Olympic gold for Australia? I’ve got shivers thinking about it. Pearson could do worse for inspiration. Iain Shedden’s fascinating chat today with Paul Kelly (pages 8-9) reveals a singer at the height of his talents. Surely no one has contributed so much to the Australian songbook. Once you’ve finished with the paper edition, skip over to Review online to view a video of Kelly recording Firewood and Candles from LP Life is Fine. It is something to behold. Colour and movement will be in high supply this week at the Indian Film Festival in Melbourne. Bollywood, the world’s biggest film industry, is one of the fastest growing cinematic trends in Australia, and the IFF’s line-up is a testament to its popularity beyond the subcontinent. Today Aishwarya Rai Bachchan — screen star, UNESCO ambassador and former Miss World — will hoist the flag for Indian Independence Day over Federation Square. With more than 60 films being shown during the next 10 days, it’s certainly worth a look.