The Lure of the Olympics

The Olympic paradox
Throughout its lifetime the Olympic Movement has been criticised enormously, culminating in the 1990s with Simson and Jennings sensation-seeking book “The Lords of the Rings” concerning the procedures behind the scenes in the IOC. This was followed by further exposure in two later publications [1], and most recently with the media storm in the wake of the exposé of the blackmailing scandal in connection with the vote for Salt Lake City to host the 2002 Winter Olympics. Another crucial point in the critique of The Olympic Movement (and Sport in general) during the last 40 years is the growing (ab)use of performance enhancing drugs, which the IOC, as the highest authority in sport and with a plainly formulated policy against, has not been capable of reclaiming.

The Olympic Games have since their revival in 1896 grown substantially, and have in every thinkable way followed the Olympic motto: “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, which, as John Lucas puts it, “in the present context of moral relativism can mean anything that one wishes it to mean.” [2] The Olympics have developed into a “mega-event” and have reached a saturation point regarding size. [3] Economically the development has risen exponentially during the last third of the 20th century, where the income from the sale of broadcasting rights has exploded and where The Olympic Partners (TOP) Programme has been launched, leading to a significant rise in sponsorship funding. [4] One can rightly see the Olympic Games and the media in a symbiotic relationship, with common interests in the global entertainment industry – far from the fundamental ideas of Olympism.

Paradoxically though, in spite of the gloomy trends and the extensive criticism referred to above, the Olympic Games are for the athletes still the biggest sporting event to take part in and an Olympic gold medal nevertheless the highest attainable for an athlete.
I have been wondering why that is. Why a giant sporting event, on the surface critically inflamed by intruding interests, is capable of attracting the greatest athletes of the world over and over again. Wherein lies the lure of the Olympics? What are the special attractions inherent in the Games?
In the following I will try to examine more closely the above mentioned questions, by taking a specific look at the Olympic ideals [5] contrary to the realities in the world of sports. To really comprehend the attraction of the Olympics it is necessary to put oneself in the athletes’ place and not just contemplate the phenomenon from without. Therefore I will take different athletes’ comments on participating in the Olympic Games as my point of departure, to try to reach the essence of their Olympic experience.

The sport under fire
Through the 1970s and 80s sport was heavily criticised by left-wing cultural critics. Sport was blamed for being a reflection of the capitalist society, which it originated from. Parallels were drawn from capitalist ideas about the logic of the market forces and the everlasting strive for growth to the high performance athletes’ quest for records and urge for economic interests. The growing violence and aggression in sport was expressive of an increased selfishness and individuality as well. French Jean-Marie Brohm, one of the most influential of the Marxist sports critics, saw the Olympic Games as a symbol of “the capitalist sport-industry” and called for anti-Olympic propaganda:

Quel Corps? Seeks to aid all comrades, all trade union and political organisations to develop the necessary anti-Olympic activity and expose the Games for the masquerade they are. The Olympics serve to camouflage the class struggle. They are the highest expression of the moronic sports spectacle, hammering home the ideology of the ruling class. They are the most spectacular example of the repressive functions of the institutions of sport which is a brake on the struggle of workers everywhere against their bourgeoisies and bureaucracies. [6]

According to Brohm’s analogies the athletes were victims of the institutional repression of sport. They were exposed for “brainwashing and Pavlovian conditioning” [7] when they were sent to training camps or “detention centres”. The athletes were, according to the Marxist sport critique, alarmingly reified. They were tools of the men in power, acted on false consciousness and had nothing to object to the organisation of trainers, doctors and psychologists, who were responsible for “manipulation of human robots” and “totalitarian mobilisation of the athletes to produce maximum performance”. [8]

Since mid-70s when Brohm brought this spate of words against the Olympic Movement and high-performance sport in general, and “killed Coubertin a second time” as Yves Pierre Boulongne has expressed it [9], sports criticism has reflected the political development of society. Thus the last 10-15 years the critical currents have been concentrating on the rage of the “doping ghost”, the economical influence in the world of sports (and not least the connection of “the two evils”) and anti-democratic forms of organisations. So the present sports criticism depicts, exactly as the early criticism albeit in another “wrapping”, the appearances of sport as a reflection of contemporary age.
As mentioned above the Olympic Movement has not escaped the criticism. A number of critics of the Olympic Movement have approached the problems from a regional or national perspective focusing on the financial and social consequences of hosting the Olympic Games (or just joining the bidding process). Helen Lenskyj represents this critical approach to the Olympics. In her book “The Best Olympics Ever? Social Impacts of Sydney 2000” she describes, among other issues, how the media’s presentation of the Olympic Games as a valuable acquisition for Sydney and for the entire New South Wales conceals the economical and social costs for the weakest part of society in particular. She points out the great environmental expenses in the construction of the cycling velodrome, the beachvolleyball stadium and other Olympic arenas. She also shows how the organisers, the “white” and liberal Australians, create a misconception in the international society by employing the native Aboriginal in ceremonial- and in public relations. We are given the impression that the Olympic Games have a positive effect on conditions for the poor and native inhabitants. This however is not the case [10]. Through the book she generally argues for her point of view, that “the Olympic metaphors” which characterises the Olympic discourse [11] are used to mythologize

“the pure Olympic Athlete” and “pure Olympic sport” – ahistorical and decontextualised concepts that obscure the everyday business, political, and sporting practises that comprise the Olympic industry. [12]

Lenskyj calls further attention to the resemblance between “the Olympic circus” and the 1970s American fitness movement. Critics then renamed the fitness movement to “the fitness industry” when it were elucidated, that in reality it was more business than fitness and that profit was the overriding end. In keeping with this the Olympic Movement is now referred to as “the Olympic Industry” by many of its critics.
Obviously more complex than a mere sixteenday sporting event, the Olympics are systematically organized to maximize private sector investment, to generate multi-billion-dollar television revenues, and to capitalize on the competition between transnational corporations for exclusive Olympic sponsorship status.[13]

According to the present critics, sport is rotten and destroyed by commercial interests. Sport has dissociated itself too far from the moral and educational ideals, which since the development of modern sport have been the legitimacy of the global support to sport and which are celebrated in the Olympic discourse.
The question is whether there are traces of any Olympic spirit in the present world of sport.
Is Coubertin’s directions hopelessly outdated, or is there an explanation of the apparent deviation from the highly celebrated ideals?

The Spirit of Sport vs. the Essence of Sport
It is Coubertin’s ideals of sport that has made the basis of the dogmatic conception of sport as an educational and character building phenomenon, which has characterised the debate about sport’s societal role in modern time. In Dopingdjævlen (1999) (“The Doping Devil” [14]) the Danish scholar Verner Møller challenged the obvious idea that sport is a moral good, by suggesting that sport rather than being seen as a moral phenomenon belongs to the field of aesthetics. Since then in the anthology Sportens forførende skønhed (2002) (“The Seductive Beauty of Sport”) Møller has expanded this thought and has realised that a true understanding of sport as a phenomenon is best achieved by examining the difference between the Spirit of Sport and the Essence of Sport.
The Spirit of Sport is to be seen as the ideals of sport; the pedagogical and moral values that sport should urge to and express, which stems from Coubertin’s enthusiasm for what he saw in the English Public Schools in the late 19th century. The fallacies that result from substituting the spirit of sport with sport itself paint a false picture of sport and render a genuine understanding of the realities and different appearances of sport.
Coubertin, who predominantly has been read as an advocate for sport as a moral good, however could see that sport “needs the freedom of excess. That is its essence, its reason for being, the secret of its moral value.” [15] Here we see the cornerstone of the Essence of Sport – its excessive character, most expressively exemplified in the Olympic motto “Faster – Higher – Stronger”. Implicit herein is the athletes’ pursuit of excellence and priority of performance and results above anything else (even health in some cases). The contrast between the moderate Spirit of Sport and the excessive Essence of Sport becomes even more pronounced in this Coubertin quotation:

“Sport is not physical exercise which is good for everyone on account of its being wise and moderate; sport is the pleasure of the strong, or of those who want to be physically and morally strong. Nothing would kill it more surely than the desire to imprison it within a moderation which is contrary to its essence.”[16]

When the excessive character of sport is separated from its spirit and ideals, the often extreme appearances of the world of sport in the year 2003 is thus, following this line of thoughts, made more comprehensible. However the press and the sports organisations are compelled to turn a blind eye to these facts and condemn the realities of sport. The reason being that acknowledging that it is the deepest essence of sport, and not a detrimental influence from without, that drives “evil” into sport will question the hitherto legitimacy of sport.
Separating essence and spirit of sport is of course a simplification of reality – as any other theoretical method. The two sides are mutually interwoven, depending on and resulting from each other. One could consider whether it would be more fruitful and perhaps depict a more precise picture simply to divide the world of sport into a high performance “show sport” representing what I have called the essence of sport and an amateur sport maintaining the old virtues and ideals. This would nonetheless just be another simplification of the realities, eliminating any common features between the two types of sport. And since it is widely acknowledged that it is the broadness of participation in sport that creates the elite it would not help us understanding [17] It would probably be without difficulty to find Coubertin quotations to support this division as well, since his thoughts and writings apparently developed throughout his lifetime reflecting his own intellectual development and the parallel development in the world of sports. Thus one could easily find self-contradictory statements in his writings ranging over young age in the late 19th century to his death in 1937.
I like the thought of sport as an essential phenomenon, with a specific fundamental essence implicit in all sporting engagement – whether this would be the regional wrestling championships for boys under the age of 12 or the Olympic 100 meter final. To understand sport as this essential phenomenon I find Møller’s method most useful, since it explains at one time the diversities and common features of different sports.

The separation of essence and spirit of sport does not necessarily imply that the spirit and ideals are absent in the world of sport. They are on the contrary shown before any sport competition, when the contestants are greeting and showing respect for one another. And in an Olympic context to a considerable extent during the gatherings in the Olympic Village and during the ceremonies, where the athletes are mixed and the competition is not top priority (for a short while). When the athletes on the other hand enter the stadium or the boxing ring and the match is going on, it is the Essence of Sport that reigns and the athletes will do everything in their power to defeat their opponents. Then again after the competition the athletes throw their arms round the opponents’ necks, accepting each other’s opposition with thanks – and the Spirit of Sport is present again. Of course this is a very simplified example, but nonetheless it comes close to the reality.
With the distinction between the spirit- and the essence of sport in remembrance, and bearing in mind that the one notion does not exclude the other it might now be easier to relate to the athletes’ “obsession” of participation and success at the Olympic Games.

Olympism and national identity
In a sporting context the Olympic Games do not appear to be essentially different from other major events like European- or World Championships (EC/WC); it is to a great extent the same competitors, the same top-level sporting standard [18] and apparently just another championship in sequence.
But realities are different. The Olympic Games are for most of the athletes entirely different than any other sporting event. The former Danish Olympic champion in badminton Poul-Erik Høyer describes it before Sydney 2000 like this:

“The Olympic Games is one of my greatest experiences. It has meant a lot to me. To be together with a lot of other sports, taking part in something common and share the same intense atmosphere. It is so great….” [19]

It is particularly the special atmosphere that exists in the Olympic Village, where all the athletes are accommodated mixed among the different sports and living next door to athletes from other nations plus the participation in the traditional and ritual ceremonies, that separates the Olympic Games from other international competitions.
High performance sport is a hard-bitten and highly specialised profession. Most commonly the athletes are solely occupied by their own sport. At the Olympics then, they acquire a feeling of constituting a national team with athletes from other sports and get the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences, traditions and methods of training. Furthermore the national team spirit and the acquaintances across sports incite the athletes to visit the Olympic arenas and cheer their team colleagues, to an extent where it does not bother their own competition or the preparations for coming competitions. None of the athletes in the role of the spectator are startled at their colleagues’ excessive urge to win. For them it is an act of naturalness that the endeavour of Sport is expressed during the competition, and acclamation and support further stimulate it. Conversely, for the athlete engaged in competition, it is an experience in the true Olympic Spirit to feel the support from the team members of the national team.
The former chef de mission of the Danish Olympic Team John Christensen tells about the Olympic experience. First about the entry at the Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremony
“When we with the Dannebrog [20] in head of the procession enter the Olympic Stadium […] even the most hardened get a lump in their throat. It simply gives a kick, an intense experience that can’t be described.” [21]

and he continues about the life in the Olympic Village

“[…] it causes a mood of elation, a feeling of being one big family […] I know, that some of the former participants are looking forward exactly to this part of the Games. And I hope, that they can draw the new into the fellowship, so everybody get to know each other across sports.[…] In fact I will put it like this: that there is actually some truth in saying, that the Olympic Spirit is over us.” [22]

The voluminous interest from the media and the surrounding world and the above mentioned special national team experiences are some of the major differences between e.g. World Championships and Olympic Games. Fivefold Olympic rowing-champion English Steven Redgrave in short describes the difference like this
“When you are world champion, it’s for a year, when you are Olympic champion it’s for life.” [23]

and continues in the same interview about his Olympic experiences

“I’ve been a flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony twice, that’s something special, it’s only the Olympic Games that has it, bringing all sports together, it’s fantastic, the Dream team and the tennis players wanting to be there to join the amateurs. They are doing it because of what the Olympics are.” [24]

It is in fairness to say that the statements above originate from one of the Olympic Movement’s most honoured and highly appreciated athletes, who has achieved unique results through several Olympic Games in succession and hence attained a high status in the Olympic annals. Ignoring that however agreement still prevail among the athletes, that the Olympic Games has got something that e.g. EC and WC do not have.
Whether Redgrave is right considering the highly paid basketball- and tennis players, I will further examine in the following section, where focus will be on the commercial interests in the Olympic Games.

Olympic Games and the commercial interest
As mentioned in the prefatory remarks, one can rightly see the Olympic Games and the media in a symbiotic relationship. Great amounts of money have made their entry into the Olympic Movement long ago, and every more or less decent businessman is trying to profit from the Olympic Games. It is a gold mine to be linked to the Olympic Movement, which is why advertising campaigns before and during the Games often make use of so-called “ambush-marketing” and import Olympic connotations as e.g. the Olympic Rings, known world-class athletes or sentences from the Olympic discourse in the advertisements. The IOC though is highly aware of protecting their “brand” – the Olympic Rings – and had few months before the Sydney Games lawfully closed more than 1800 unofficial web-pages taking advantage of official IOC trademarks. [25]
That the media (predominantly the TV-companies) and other companies with economical interests in the Olympic Games have had such a power and influence on the planning and carrying through of the Games and high performance sport in general is not an unambiguous disadvantage for the athletes, although highly disapproved of the critics of sport and of the Olympic Movement. On the contrary the Olympic Games are for many small and marginal sports a much-needed opportunity to obtain coverage in the media. Especially in present day when the media interest and the money are concentrated on a chosen few sports as for instance football, tennis and golf, where the biggest stars and the highest wages and sponsor contracts appear. The 16 days of the Olympic Games are thus also a showroom for athletes of minor sports, where a good performance, a sound personality and a twinkle in the eye might lead the way to a profitable contract. [26]
To please the sponsors and the media co-operators, the IOC is trying to popularise the Olympic Games by enticing the biggest American NBA basketball stars and the best professional football players to join. Other means are taken into action such as changing the rules and restrictions of the sports to make them more suitable for TV broadcasting, with the introduction of a new dress code in women’s volleyball as a preferential example. By such initiatives the IOC risks watering down its own product.

“We have to do with a concept, which basal ingredients of sport, competition, progress, internationalism, youth, celebration and fun in spite of a lot of small changes, has been unchallenged for generations. The Olympic Games are unique as compared to other global events such as World Cup in football, especially by their diversity.” [27]

The International Football Federation – FIFA – has realised what it is all about. FIFA has decreed that the Olympic football tournament is for players under the age of 23, to ensure focus and attention about their own “mega event” with the biggest and most fêted stars.

In the quotation above Steven Redgrave praises the Olympic Games as a universal arrangement, where all athletes of the world gather in perfect harmony. He is particularly impressed with the fact that the Olympic Movement [28] is capable of attracting the major stars of the American Dream Team in basketball and the tennis players of the ATP- and WTA-tour, who are among the highest paid athletes in the world.
I am under the impression that Redgrave is flattering the realities when saying so. In contrast to his view there are several examples that the athletes from the highly paid sports are not competing at the Olympics, or are allured by the outward circumstances. The Dream Team was accommodated at a nearby luxury hotel in Barcelona 1992, due to circumstances expressed by player John Stockton: “the Olympic spirit for me is to beat the other athletes of the world, not live with them.” [29]
They were like circus horses and enjoyed the great publicity and personal promotion.
Concerning the tennis players – Swiss Martina Hingis was one of the female players not participating in Sydney 2000; she found it wearisome to go to Australia twice in one year…. [30] Several other players cancelled their engagement in the Olympics shortly before the start of the tournament with injuries as the most frequent reason. Following the same line there were only 3 players of the men’s top-10 world ranking participating in the Atlanta Olympics. [31] These examples demonstrate that an Olympic gold medal is not worth mentioning in the tennis sport, where the most outstanding is to win a Grand Slam tournament. [32] It is after all remarkable that the Olympic Games are not rated higher in the tennis world, since tennis is considered to be a decent gentleman sport originally played by the aristocracy in the distinguished English clubs. Wimbledon, the most traditional tournament of all, is even characterised by rituals and virtues almost taken out of the Olympic discourse.

Perhaps the reason why the Olympic Games are more attractive in one sport than another can be found in the history of the Olympics. There are sports more classical than others. As an example there are people that holds the opinion that the Olympic Games’ “official” starting-day is the day the track and field events commence at the Olympic Stadium. This might be bound up with the fact that athletics (the stade-race [33]) was the first known event at the Ancient Olympic Games. Other classical sports – like wrestling, shooting and fencing – have like athletics been scheduled since the first Modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. Tennis was played at the Games in Athens as well, but was taken of the programme to the Amsterdam Games in 1928 not to be included until 60 years later in Seoul 1988. Basketball was first scheduled in 1936 in Berlin and for women as late as in Montreal 1976. Herein part of the explanation may lie why the Olympic Games are not ascribed the almost mythical value, as is the fact in classical sports. [34] Another explanation could be found in the amateur/professional traditions of the sports, which I will not elaborate on here – in so far as it would require its own paper.
Likewise cycling, a sport which if any is said to be a product of modernity, has been an Olympic sport since 1896. But neither in cycling the special Olympic attraction seems to be inherent. The cycling community is renown for having a most specific culture and are characterised by having different obvious attitudes than other sports, with the doping scandals as an example fresh in memory. [35]
Several cyclists have apparently (like more basketball- and tennis players) predominantly external motives for competing at the Olympic Games. In an article in the Danish Sports-Federation’s magazine Idrætsliv about the expectations and chances of medals for the Danish national cycling team in Sydney 2000, Jimmi Madsen stated:

“When you are to sign for contracts and must go further in the cycling community, it is only the gold that counts. The Danes might be satisfied with silver – I am not.” [36]

Naturally as all other high performance athletes he is going for the gold. Nike did actually hit the nail on the head with the commercial “You don’t win silver, you lose gold!”, which almost catches up with the Olympic motto in the power of expressing the essence of sport most precisely. Still the remark says that it is the opportunity of ensuring a good basis for the coming contract bargaining that is his motive for participating, not the pleasure of representing Denmark at the Olympic Games, as he had done three times before and therefore if any should know what to expect.
A picture is delineated of some certain sports which do not care a hoot about the Olympic ideals and in which the athletes are more determined on profitable contracts and sponsor agreements.
I think that Steven Redgrave has seen the realities through “Olympic eyes” and that unfortunately the facts are not as unequivocal as he expresses. The differences in the sports’ affinity to the Olympic Movement might be explained by a combination of the history of the sports, their traditions and specific cultures, the amateur vs. professional status of the implied athletes, the media exposure of the sports and economical foundation derived from that.

The magic of the Olympics
As already mentioned a lot of critics find the Olympic idea outdated; they think that sport has dissociated itself too far from the thoughts and ideals, that are the basis of the Olympic idea. What is more interesting and should be given more importance is the attitudes and experiences of the involved athletes. The Danish sailor Michaëla Ward, who was in Sydney running for election to the IOC’s Athletes Commission, gave the following answer to the question whether the IOC scandals had had an impact on the athletes’ attitude to the Olympic Games:

“No, I will not say that it has. For most of the sailors the Olympic Games are still the highest attainable. A gold medal has not been devalued for that reason. […] I do not think that the sailors are considering the problems.” [37]

The above states clearly that even though some IOC members are not playing the game, it does not change the fact that Olympic gold unequalled is the greatest for an athlete. It is not necessary though to sense the medal and the sweetness of success to know the magic of the Olympics, which the following quotation from a press representative of the Danish Olympic team is a clear example of:

“One can have strong reservations about commercialism and “dollar control” of this event, but when you witness the atmosphere in the Olympic Village, where all top athletes of the world are walking around in all friendliness, I think the idea of the Games lasts.” [38]

In conclusion the majority of the athletes are still experiencing a special Olympic attraction, which is unique in a usually cynical and lonely world of high performance sport. However the previous section revealed that there are exceptions, for whom lucrative contracts and economical interests are apparently a greater incentive than the indefinable Olympic experience.
The Olympic Games are unique in the capacity of their diversity. A diversity of sports, cultures, religions and traditions, which altogether causes the attraction that constantly allures the athletes of the world. The Olympic experience is characterised by a combination of the ideals of sport and the essence of sport. By the joy and enthusiasm for the social community with other athletes nationally and internationally before, during and after the competitions. By the combination of the utmost striving for the highly esteemed Olympic gold and the rapture of the traditional rituals and ceremonies.
The Olympic Games are “the symbolic midsummer festival in the life cycle of an athlete” says Olympic historian Arnd Krüger in his book Ritual and Record. [39] A statement the English born long jumper Fiona May (now competing for Italy), who gets the last word, agrees in:

“The Olympics is the pinnacle of an athlete’s career and track and field is what makes the Olympics so special. […] There is also the history behind the event. It is not about money and fame, it’s about being an athlete. […] The Olympics are more meaningful, more spiritual than any other competition. They are special.”[40]

Balzar, John (1999). Alene i Yukon – verdens hårdeste hundeslædeløb. Lindhardt & Ringhof, Copenhagen.

Bang, Søren (2000a). Det olympiske håb. In: Idrætsliv, nr. 4, 2000. Mølholm, M.M. (ed.) Danish Sports-Federation.

Bang, Søren (2000b). Jimmi Madsen går efter guldet. In: Idrætsliv, nr. 9, 2000. Mølholm, M.M. (ed.). Danish Sports-Federation.

Barney, Robert K., Wenn, Stephen R. & Scott, G. Martyn (2002). Selling the Five Rings. The International Olympic Committee and the Rise of Olympic Commercialism. The University of Utah Press.

Bender, Johan, Brok, Anders & Jørgensen, Per (2000). På sporet af det olympiske. Danish Sports-Federation / Danish Olympic Academi.

Brohm, Jean-Marie (1978). Sport – A Prison of Measured Time. London.

Coubertin, Pierre de (2000). Olympism. Selected Writings. Editing Director: Norbert Müller. IOC, Lausanne.

Hobermann, John (1986). The Olympic Crisis. Sport, Politics and Moral Order. New Rochelle, New York.

Idorn, John (1996). Idorn’s OL-historie. Gyldendal.

Jørgensen, Per (2000). Væk med fodbold og journalister! In: Idrætsliv, nr. 10, 2000. Mølholm, M.M. (ed.). Danish Sports-Federation.

Lenskyj, Helen Jefferson (2002). The Best Olympics Ever? Social Impacts of Sydney 2000. State University of New York.

Lucas, John A. (1992). Future of the Olympic Games. Human Kinetics, USA.

Miller, David (2001). Why the olympic games must, and will, survive. In: Olympic Review XXVII-36, IOC.

Milling, Hanna Britt (2000a). Fra stjerne til lærling. In: Idrætsliv, nr. 3, 2000. Mølholm, M.M. (ed.). Danish Sports-Federation.

Milling, Hanna Britt (2000b). OL giver et kick. In: Idrætsliv, nr. 9, 2000. Mølholm, M.M (ed.) Danish Sports-Federation.

Møller, Verner (1999). Dopingdjævlen – analyse af en hed debat. Gyldendal, Copenhagen.

Møller, Verner & Povlsen, Jørgen (eds.) (2002a). Sportens forførende skønhed. University Press of Southern Denmark.

Møller, Verner (2002b). Cykelsport og fremskridtsoptimisme. In: Idrætshistorisk årbog 2001 – Sportens væsen og uvæsen. Hansen, Jørn & Skovgaard, Thomas (ed.). University Press of Southern Denmark.

Senn, Alfred E. (1999). Power, Politics, and the Olympic Games. Human Kinetics, USA.

Swadling, Judith (1999). The Ancient Olympic Games. (Second edition). British Museum Press, London, UK.

[1] Andrew Jennings: The New Lords of the Rings (1996) and Andrew Jennings: The Great Olympic Swindle (2000).
[2] Lucas (1992).
[3] One of the policies of the present IOC-president Mr. Jacques Rogge is that The Olympic Games must not grow bigger in size. An IOC-Commission is right now evaluating the Olympic program to find out where to cut down the size and extent of the games.
[4] The Olympic Partners (TOP) are a number of world-wide companies buying exclusive rights from the IOC to market their own products in connection with the Olympic Games and to use the five Olympic rings in marketing. Bender (2000). The Olympic Partners counts – in the writing moment – Coca Cola, Hancock, Kodak, McDonalds, Panasonic, Samsung, Schlumberger Sema, Sports Illustrated/Time, VISA and Xerox. (
[5] I will in the present paper use the concepts Olympic ideals and Ideals of Sport indiscriminately, since I find them only distinct by the context.
[6] Brohm (1978).
[7] Brohm (1978).
[8] Brohm (1978).
[9] Lucas (1992).
[10] A distinct parallel to Brohm’s criticism of Sports’ (here exemplified with the Olympic Movement) exploitation of man.
[11] As for instance olympism, “Olympic spirit”, “the Olympic family” etc.
[12] Lenskyj (2002).
[13] Lenskyj (2002).
[14] In the process of being translated into English.
[15] Coubertin (2000).
[16] Hobermann (1986).
[17] “For every hundred who engage in physical culture, fifty must engage in sports. For every fifty who engage in sports, twenty must specialize. For every twenty who specialize, five must be capable of astonishing feats. All this holds together and is interrelated.” Coubertin (2000).
[18] The sporting level is in fact lower at the Olympic Games in some sports. For instance in handball, which is very widespread in most European nations, the European Championships are a far more difficult tournament than the Olympic handball tournament, since all continents must be present at the Olympics and only five European nations are allowed to participate. Similarly in other sports, there are restrictions on how many athletes each nation must enter.
[19] Milling (2000a). (My translation).
[20] The name of the Danish flag.
[21] Milling (2000b). (My translation).
[22] Milling (2000b). (My translation).
[23] Miller (2001). (My translation).
[24] Miller (2001). (My translation).
[25] Barney (2002).
[26] In Denmark, curling has underwent a “boom” in the wake of the success in the Nagano Olympics where the Danish women’s team won silver medals and got a good press.
[27] Jørgensen (2000).
[28] Who since the IOC Congress in Baden-Baden in 1981 has abandoned the “pure amateur code”. Lucas (1992).
[29] Senn (1999).
[30] Politiken, July 27th 2000.
[31] “Agassi stands tallest on throne”, Los Angeles Times, August 4th 1996.
[32] The generic term for Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.
[33] Swadling (1999).
[34] Historical facts are from Idorn (1996).
[35] Møller (1999) and Møller (2002b).
[36] Bang (2000b). (My translation).
[37] Bang (2000a). (My translation and my italics).
[38] “Dagens olympianer: Større end forventet” Politiken, September 28th 2000. (My translation).
[39] Lucas (1992).
[40] “Lure of Gold is so Strong for May.” Derby Evening Telegraph, September 4th 2000.

Skriv en kommentar