Making the American Team: Sport, Culture, and the Olympic Experience

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University of Illinois Press, 1998 - Sports & Recreation - 269 pages
One day in front of the television would convince any alien that the entirety of American culture is built around sports. Politics and business are abustle with sports metaphors and endorsements by athletes. "Home runs," "bottom of the ninth," "fourth and ten," "slam dunk," and similar phrases litter the daily vocabulary. No matter how dire the news, sports will be reported as usual. How did this single-minded fascination come to be? Mark Dyreson locates the invasion of sport at the heart of American culture at the turn of the century. It was then that social reformers and political leaders believed that sport could revitalize the "republican experiment," that a new sense of national identity could forge a new sense of community and a healthy political order as it would serve to link America's thinking classes with the experiences of the masses. Nowhere was this better exemplified than in American accounts of the Olympic Games held between 1896 and 1912. In connecting sport to American history and culture, Dyreson has stepped up to the plate and hit one out of the park. A volume in the series Sport and Society, edited by Benjamin G. Rader and Randy Roberts
 

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Contents

Inventing the Sporting Republic
7
Athens 1896 See the Conquering Heroes Come
32
Paris 1900 Exhibiting American Athletic Nationalism
53
St Louis 1904 An AllAmerican Olympics
73
The Limits of Universal Claims How Class Gender Race and Ethnicity Shaped the Sporting Republic
98
Athens 1906 and London 1908 Uncle Sam Was All Right
127
Stockholm 1912 The Sporting Republics Zenith
154
The Idea of a Sporting Republic Athletic Technology American Political Culture and Progressive Visions of Civilization
180
The Decline of the Sporting Republic
199
Notes
209
Bibliographic Essay
245
Index
253
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About the author (1998)

Mark Dyreson is an associate professor of history at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah.

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