Globalization of the Olympics

Americans First Olympics written by George Matthews examines the events leading up to the first ever Olympics held in America. Matthews starts by discussing the ancient Greek games and how they eventually came to a halt due to roman influence and the rise of Christianity. He then goes on to clarify all misconceptions regarding International Olympic Committee President, Pierre de Coubertin’s failed attempts of bringing the Olympics to Chicago. Lastly he provides an in depth account of the first ever American held Olympics in St. Louis including the events held and the athletes who participated in them.

In the novel The Consequences of Modernity Anthony Giddens discusses the discontinuities that have been associated with the modern period. He explains how the modes of life created from our modern world have taken us farther and farther away from the traditional types of social order in prior periods. This concept applies directly to Matthew’s analysis on the change of Olympic activity from the ancient Greeks to the modern world. Matthews explained how the technological advancements in global media and transportation has created a new era of Olympic games that involves contestants from all across the globe rather than local villages. Giddens admits there has to be some continuities between the traditional and the modern but says “the changes occurring over the past three or four centuries- a tiny period of historical time- have been so dramatic and so comprehensive in their impact that we get only limited assistance from our knowledge of prior periods of transition in trying to interpret them.” (P. 5). Matthews would agree with Giddens on this because he knows it is impossible to track all of the records of the Olympics from pre modern eras since the way in which we store information has changed drastically in recent centuries. In Matthews research he interpreted “there are no records of earlier Olympic champions, but archaeologists have dated the temple of Hera on the grounds of ancient Olympia as having been constructed several centuries before Coroebus.”(40). He admits the achievements of the earliest Olympic athletes are simply myths because as Giddens says we don’t have access to all the knowledge of prior periods as an infinite number of histories can be written.

4 thoughts on “Globalization of the Olympics

  1. The Olympics is a modern day revival of a classical concept, brought together to unify the world’s rich. It later morphed into the global spectacle it is today, it has it roots but claiming “it is impossible to track all of the records of the Olympics from pre modern eras since the way in which we store information has changed drastically in recent centuries. ” The claim is true, the lineage is disputed. How can modern people take a tradition that has been dead and not theirs and regard as something new and shaped for them?

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  2. What I hear you saying is the Olympics are more cultural than just in the representation of countries in the form of teams. However, these cultural diversities should be appreciated and incorporated into the Olympics rather than causing dispute. It is amazing to think that the whole world comes together for a common goal; to win the Olympics. I wonder in what ways culture is demonstrated here.

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  3. I have to agree with Elizabeth, you do seem to be saying that the Olympics are more a culture event then athletes representing their country. Having a variety of cultures present for the Olympics is a major thing to make the Olympics global. I seem to wonder would the Olympics be the same if it wasn’t about culture and more just athletes representing their home country? How would the Olympics be different then from what they are now?

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  4. I really like how you talked about the Olympics in terms of Giddens in your post. I also like how you spoke about the effects globalization has had on the Olympics. “Matthews explained how the technological advancements in global media and transportation has created a new era of Olympic games that involves contestants from all across the globe rather than local villages.” Globalization made the Olympics what it is today. Additionally I also like how you talked about the Olympics as more of cultural event then just the athletes representing their countries. This left me wondering what the Olympics would be like if our world was globalized.

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