Post-Olympism? Questioning Sport in the Twenty-First Century

By John Bale; Mette Krogh Christensen | Go to book overview
Save to active project

The Disneyfication of the

Theme Parks and Freak-Shows of the Body
Alan Tomlinson

Introduction: Survival and Transformation

The Olympic Games sells itself as the most prominent recurrent global event in the contemporary world. Combining a focus on elite performance and athletic excellence with a principle of universal participation, it claims to represent peaks of human endeavour while fostering international friendship, peace and harmony, and to cultivate new generations of internationally tolerant young people. It is in the context of such a set of values that, in this chapter, I want to explore more sceptically the nature of the event itself, focusing upon the Sydney Summer Olympic Games, and my experience of those Games in Sydney itself as flâneur, fan, investigative researcher, media observer and critical social scientist. In doing so I will consider the parallel experiences of the leisure consumer in contemporary consumer culture, and assess the extent to which it makes sense to talk of the Disneyfication of the Olympic Games.

In the late 1970s, nobody wanted the Olympic Games. Massacres of militants in Mexico City (1968), terrorism on television in Munich (1972), boycotts and near bankruptcy in Montreal (1976) and the prospect of a communist extravaganza in Moscow (1980) meant that, as a troubled International Olympic Committee coped with this multiple-M factor, few cities and national Olympic committees were lining up with offers to host the 1984 Summer Olympics. Tehran, Iran, was an unconvincing looking runner but when it withdrew its candidature, only Los Angeles was left. The Los Angeles (LA) bidding team could write its own terms, and as some commentators (see Tomlinson and Whannel, 1984) were quick to observe, recast the Olympic mould on the basis of sponsorship deals, marketing, mobilization of volunteers, and limited formal political responsibility for the successful staging of the event. The LA 1984 Olympics was a symbolic moment in the history of the modern Olympic Games,


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Post-Olympism? Questioning Sport in the Twenty-First Century


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 276

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?