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Sport and Society The Olympic Games – Ancient and Modern Games Question for Consideration: What function(s) does (do) the Modern Olympics fulfill? When countries are invited to participate in intl’ competition, it is recognition of their country and govt’

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sport and society

Sport and Society

The Olympic Games – Ancient and Modern Games

question for consideration
Question for Consideration:
  • What function(s) does (do) the Modern Olympics fulfill?
    • When countries are invited to participate in intl’ competition, it is recognition of their country and govt’
    • Refusing to engage in intl’ competition with another country is akin to cutting off diplomatic relations.
greece 800 400b c the ancient games
Greece: 800-400B.C. – The Ancient Games
  • Concept of “athlete” is attributed to rituals developed within clans.
  • Tradition of elite, male athlete – sport was used to prove “Arete” – total excellence – mental, moral, and physical.
  • The Odyssey includes a variety of adventures with many references to sport.

The Trojan Wars:

  • Funeral Games for Patroclus (friend of Achilles) – precursor for Olympics.
  • Sparta reflected use of sport and athletes by Govt. to further the State.
  • Sparta is first society to require regimen of exercise for children.
major pan hellenic festivals 4 year cycle
Major Pan Hellenic Festivals (4 year cycle)
  • Olympic (Zeus)
  • Pythian (Apollo)
  • Isthmian (Poseidon)
  • Nemean (Zeus)
  • Beginning of Olympics – 776 BC
  • As the Olympics grew in importance:
    • # of events increased
    • Facilities became more organized.
  • First games were 3 days length
    • Sacrifices and ceremonies
    • Chariot races and other events
    • Feasting, rejoicing, paying tribute to the gods
athletic events in the ancient games
Athletic Events in the Ancient Games:
  • Footraces:
    • Stade – 1 stadium length
    • Diaulos – 2 stadium lengths
    • Armored race
    • Dolichos – long distance event
  • The Jump
  • Discus
  • Javelin
  • Wrestling
  • The Pentathlon
  • Boxing
  • Horse and Chariot Racing
changes in the function of the festivals
Changes in the Function of the Festivals:
  • Winning a wreath at an event was a mark of social distinction – while there were direct rewards, winning resulted in other extrinsic, indirect rewards.
  • Victors were treated as heroes – had statues erected at Mount Olympia.
  • Gradually, athletes started to specialize in one event – earned their living by traveling from festival to festival.
  • Gradual influence of Christian and Roman rulers was demise of Ancient Games
  • Official banning of Olympics – Emperor Theodosius I (393 A.D)
the modern olympics
The Modern Olympics:
  • Pierre De Coubertin – 1st proposed Olympics idea in 1892 – not well-received.
  • Coubertin believed formation of IOC would be influenced by neither national interests nor sport organizations.
  • Olympics were open to all athletes – eligibility was established by the IOC.
olympic summer game timeline
1896 - Athens1900 - Paris1904 - St. Louis1906 - Athens ("Unofficial")1908 - London1912 - Stockholm1916 - Not held1920 - Antwerp1924 - Paris1928 - Amsterdam1932 - Los Angeles1936 - Berlin1940 - Not held1944 - Not held

1948 - London1952 - Helsinki1956 - Melbourne1960 - Rome1964 - Tokyo1968 - Mexico City1972 - Munich1976 - Montreal1980 - Moscow1984 - Los Angeles1988 - Seoul1992 - Barcelona1996 - Atlanta2000 - Sydney

Olympic Summer Game Timeline
schematic of the original olympic ideal structure
Schematic of the Original Olympic Ideal Structure:


National Olympic Committee


International Sport Federation

(International Federation of Cycling)

National Governing Body

(US Cycling Association)

NGBs must be open to all athletes and must not discriminate on basis of religion, age, race, sex, creed, etc.

The Athlete

pierre de coubertin s ideals
Pierre De Coubertin’s Ideals:
  • His first idea – hold the games in

connection with 1900 World’s Fair (Paris)

  • Included a race to honor Greek who ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to inform of battle victory
  • From the beginning, politics have plagued Olympics
  • De Coubertin did not want females in the Games.
  • He felt that 1900 and 1904 games were failures – held in conjunction with World Fairs.
  • 1900 (Paris) – Tennis and Golf had female athletes
  • 1908 (London) – marked 1st time special sport facilities were built
  • With 1912 (Stockholm) Games, Coubertin believed the modern era of Olympics would succeed.
a period of political development
A Period of Political Development:
  • 1916 Games were not held (WW I).
  • Antwerp (1920) was given Games b/c it was felt that Belgium had suffered during the war.
  • Paris (1924):
    • 44 Nations; 3, 000+ athletes.
  • US women physical educators opposed Olympics b/c of the cost, attention given to only few elite athletes, instead of instruction to many.
  • Los Angeles (1932):
    • 105,000 seat stadium was largest yet; represented mammoth effort as a sport entertainment spectacle.
  • The addition of team sports made identification of winning countries a necessary component.
the nazi olympics
The Nazi Olympics:
  • Berlin was awarded 1936 Olympics in ’33 (2 years before Hitler came to power).
  • By ’36, power had moved from German Olympic Committee to Hitler and Nazi party.
  • In 1933, US AAU passed resolution against entering games unless Germans complied with Olympic Nondiscrimination policy
  • Visitors and athletes enjoyed carefully planned German hospitality.
  • These games marked 1st time host country moved control of games from organizing committee to government
hitler s propaganda and the aryan race
Hitler’s Propaganda and the Aryan Race:
  • Hitler wanted to use Games to make a statement about German superiority.
  • Jesse Owens’ performance was pivotal in denouncing this philosophy.
12 successive olympics 1948 1992
12 Successive Olympics: 1948-1992
  • As soon as WW II peace was declared – 1948 (London) Games brought:
    • 4,062 athletes; 58 countries
  • Soviets entered Games for first time in 40 years.
  • Germany and Japan were not invited.
notable political olympic moments
Notable Political Olympic Moments:
  • 1956 (Melbourne) –
  • Netherlands, Swiss and Spain did not compete in protest of conditions in Hungary (Soviet Invasion).
  • Egypt and Lebanon did not compete (Mid-East Crisis)
  • China refused to compete (Taiwan entered athletes independently)
notable political olympic moments17
Notable Political Olympic Moments:
  • 1960 (Rome)
  • These games honored De Coubertin’s wish that they be held in Rome.
  • 1st games to be televised.
  • 1964 (Tokyo)
  • These games reflected the increasing size, complexity.
  • South Africa had been banned (Apartheid policies)
  • Indonesia, North, South Korea voluntarily withdrew from the games (athletes had competed in illegal competition)
notable political olympic moments18
Notable Political Olympic Moments:
  • 1968 (Mexico City):
  • Group of African American Athletes threatened to boycott to illustrate AA athletes’ plight.
  • Tommie Smith and John Carlos were stripped of medals, thrown off US team.
munich 1972 the olympics are changed forever
Munich – 1972 – The Olympics are changed forever.
  • US-Soviet B-ball controversy
  • PLO terrorists kill Israeli coaches and athletes
  • Event was huge embarrassment for Germany
  • Games were billed as biggest yet “Perfect Games”
  • IOC made controversial decision – go on with the games.
  • Avery Brundage makes decision. -- Many are highly critical of it.
notable political olympic moments20
Notable Political Olympic Moments:
  • 1976 (Montreal):
  • After Munich – cost rose exponentially for security.
  • Organizers estimated cost $310 million.
  • However, due to political corruption, mismanagement, labor disputes, inflation and a $100 million outlay for security to prevent another Munich, the final bill came to more than $1.5 billion.
  • IOC refuses to ban New Zealand for playing S. Africa – 32 African nations walk out of Games.
notable political olympic moments21
Notable Political Olympic Moments:
  • 1980 (Moscow):
  • USOC House of delegates votes not to send US athletes to Moscow.
  • 61 other countries join the boycott.
  • France, GB, Italy, and Sweden did not join the Boycott.
  • 1984: (Los Angeles):
  • Soviets reciprocate Boycott
  • Local organizers rely on corporate sponsorship.
  • Peter Uebberoth delivers on his promise of a “Debt-free Olympics”
  • Games show a surplus of over $200 million.
  • 6,000 athletes, 140 countries
notable political olympic moments22
Notable Political Olympic Moments:
  • 1988 (Seoul):
  • In spite of Boycott of N. Korea, threat of terrorism, 160 nations 9,500 athletes take part.
  • Drug Scandals (Ben Johnson) are biggest news.
  • Amateur ruling was overturned in 1986 – now it was up to individual sport organizations to determine who was amateur.
  • Opened the flood gates for professional athletes to compete.
coakley s suggestions for de politicizing the olympics would they work
Coakley's Suggestions for “De-Politicizing” the Olympics: Would They Work?
  • Do away with National uniforms for athletes.
  • Revise opening ceremonies so that athletes and flags enter arena by event
  • Eliminate national anthems and flags during award ceremonies
  • Eliminate medal counts for nations
  • Eliminate / revise team sports
  • Add to each Games “Demonstration Sports” that are native to each cultural region
  • Use multiple sites for each Olympics
  • Emphasize global responsibility in media coverage and commercials
  • Provide TV time for Nonprofit Human Rights groups that work to improve human conditions and promote justice.