Saturday, December 26, 2015

Orientovar (2007.11.26 - 2015.12.19): A Blog has died

Born on 26th November 2007, the Orientovar soon established itself as a special room of information of the Portuguese orienteer community. It is now extinguished, leaving a remarkable documental legacy of eight years in the history of the Portuguese and World Orienteering.

Part of the “dictionary” of the majority of Portuguese-speaking orienteers around the world, the word Orientovar certainly will not be strange to many others, since the 3231 messages published over eight years (an average of more than one per day) were viewed by almost three million people in 152 countries. Joining two separate words - “Orient”, the Orienteering's diminutive, and “Ovar”, the city where its author, Joaquim Margarido, was born - the Orientovar arose from the desire to share, in a systematic way, the available information about Orienteering, giving it a journalistic tone. The great acceptance soon made of it a converging platform of Portuguese orienteers, deserving by the Portuguese Orienteering Federation a special attention by including it prominently in its official webpage and selecting it as privileged “speaker” of their initiatives.

Among the most striking moments of eight years of the Blog's life, there are some, of course, deserving a special attention. The 1st Cantanhede International Orienteering Trophy's Report, on 09th and 10th February 2008, was the first of hundreds of national and international events and included the first interview to a foreign athlete, the Swedish Helena Jansson. Also deserve a prominent note the series “Come and see ...”, recording 154 athletes' profiles and “The Youth Years” where 89 young athletes presented themselves in the first person. Although smaller, items such as “My School”, “My Map” or “Brazilian Space” also had great acceptance and contributed to Orientovar's recognition and vitality.

With one year of life, the Orientovar make a wish: that the dream of carrying out in Portugal the first Orienteering National Day could be a reality. The message received 47 answers, in what is the most commented message of the blog ever. The warm embrace of the Portuguese community led to the dream became true on 14th March 2009, starting a series that continues until the present day. The Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Portugal, demanding attention on the sport is another big moment of the Blog's life. The Trail Orienteering owes to Orientovar a big part of its success in Portugal, by giving it the visibility and the voice to a virtually unknown discipline among the Portuguese orienteers. The same may be said regarding the Adapted Orienteering, whose base document was presented to the World on the Blog's pages in 06th October 2012.

World of O and the Blog's projection

The admission in the World of O's 2nd page, on 18th May 2008, was one of the most memorable moments in the Blog's history, because of the projection for spaces outside the Portuguese language. The friendship with Jan Kocbach led Joaquim Margarido to accept the challenge of creating an English version of Orientovar and so, on 12th January 2012, the Portuguese Orienteering Blog was born. The truth is that the Orientovar, itself, published occasionally some messages in English, and the interview with Thierry Gueorgiou, on 16th January 2012, is the most clear example of it. With 1524 views, written in English, it's the Orientovar's most viewed page ever.

The deep changes resulting from the advent of social networks - especially Facebook - together with the economic crisis affecting harshly Portugal, meant that, gradually, the Blog lose a huge slice of its “price” in terms of daily views. This low uptake turned out to be fatal. “The stories don't mean anything when you've got no one to tell them to” was, from the beginning, the Blog's motto*. Without a motivational feedback, the Orientovar eventually closed its doors on 19th December 2015, date of the 25th anniversary of the Portuguese Orienteering Federation. To History remain the stories, portraits of a beautiful landscape, for later recall. Goodbye, Orientovar!

Joaquim Margarido


* The idea of the Blog's motto - “The stories don't mean anything when you've got no one to tell them to” - arose casually, when reading the legends of Brandi Carlile's song The Story”. A hidden little story,... until now!


  1. Fui um dos tantos que com o tempo foi deixando de acompanhar o nosso "amigo" Orientovar, embora seja muito agradecido por estes anos de partilha e o esforço em prol da modalidade.
    Muito obrigado por tudo.
    Tudo de bom para ti Joaquim,
    Grande abraço.