Sport and International Relations: An Emerging Relationship

Sport and International Relations: An Emerging Relationship

Sport and International Relations: An Emerging Relationship

Sport and International Relations: An Emerging Relationship


This volume examines how sport reflects, and sometimes shapes a countries international policies and explains why sport is so important to modern governments and countries.


Sport and International Relations fills a gap. There has been no volume devoted to a specific inquiry into the association between them. It is time there was: 'Sport is now a mirror in which nations, men and women and social classes see themselves. The image is something bright, sometimes dark, sometimes distorted, sometimes magnified. This metaphorical mirror is a source of exhiliration and depression, security and insecurity, pride and humiliation, association and disassociation.' With the result that, 'as sport has grown to a gargantuan size, progressively replacing religion in its power to excite passion, provide emotional escape, offer fraternal (and increasingly sororital) bonding, it has come to loom larger and larger in the lives of Europeans and others. The force of its appeal surprises only the ignorant, yet its appeal is astounding.'

It is beyond any dispute that, athletes of all persuasions now have the capacity to win the attention of not millions but scores of millions within their own nations. Super athletes transcend national boundaries and become International Icons - glamorous, wealthy, 'healthy' and deified. Nations are sustained through economic recessions, political disasters and indentity crises by triumphant athletes who 'symbolize' national virtues. Moreover, men regain some confidence when male athletes win, while women grow in greater confidence when female athletes succeed …

Consequently, '[sport] encompasses so many dimensions of experience involving politics, gender and class, that this is a "resonant moment", as sport seduces the modern world, for cultural historians [and other academics] as they consider the evolution of one of the most significant human experiences of the late twentieth century.'

One neglected dimension is sport and its import on international relations and vice versa. The global 'brand images' of nations, especially those third world countries with little to boast about to the rest of the world, self-evidently can depend substantially on performances on sports pitches and in sport areas - with the result that across the world 'fair play', over often preached but too often not practised, matters less and less, politicians involve themselves more and more and pressures on athletes grow greater and greater.

To add complication to complication multi-nationals have their

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