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See detailThe Olympic Games of Los Angeles 1932: a New Start in French and German Press Representations of the Former Enemy?
Heck, Sandra UL; Terret, Thierry

in Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies (2011), XX

Previous works on German-French relationships in the sporting press prove that a time of open hostility in both countries until 1928 was followed in the mid-1930s by admiration of the French observers ... [more ▼]

Previous works on German-French relationships in the sporting press prove that a time of open hostility in both countries until 1928 was followed in the mid-1930s by admiration of the French observers towards Germany, whereas the Germans showed arrogance or indifference when mentioning France. Yet the exact turn in these media representations remains underexplored and suggests focusing on the Olympic Games of Los Angeles in 1932. At this time the contraction of the money supply, loss of purchasing power, unemployment and bankruptcies visited most of the industrialised world and led to a depression. How far did these events impact the respective representations of ‘the other’ in France’s and Germany’s discourses on sport during the summer of 1932? This question is in the focus of a press analysis based on a selection of French and German sport and generalist newspapers. It comes out that the press accounts of the 1932 Olympics reflected the ongoing process of redefining the relationship between France and Germany in a time of transition. [less ▲]

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See detailMaking Débrouillards: The Modern Pentathlon and the Pursuit of Completeness
Heck, Sandra UL

in Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies (2010), XIX

Whereas 18th and 19th century developments in efficient labor production called for versatility and wide-ranging skills, that is, qualities of “completeness,” 20th century means of efficient production ... [more ▼]

Whereas 18th and 19th century developments in efficient labor production called for versatility and wide-ranging skills, that is, qualities of “completeness,” 20th century means of efficient production ushered in a general shift towards Taylorism, or specialization. This shift impacted on the field of sport. Thus, by the early 20th century more and more athletes turned towards concentrating their training on a single sport. This, of course, consequently led to a decrease in multiple sports skills. Astonishingly, in the midst of this accelerating trend, a new combined sport, the Modern Pentathlon, was introduced into the Olympic program in 1912. The Modern Pentathlon, composed of shooting, fencing, swimming, horse-riding, and running required all-around instead of one-dimensional abilities, diversity instead of specialization. Pierre de Coubertin promoted the sport as a tool for an individual to reach “completeness,” thereby emphasizing the possibility of enriching human lives through multidimensional practices. By investigating sources in the IOC Archives in Lausanne, the National and Military Archives of Sweden in Stockholm, and the National Library of France in Paris, this essay aims to analyze the history of the ideal of “completeness” related to the Modern Pentathlon. It explores whether in a time of increasing specialization the skills developed through Modern Pentathlon functioned as a contemporary ideal of human achievement. [less ▲]

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