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The Modern Olympic Myth and Its Mythmakers. Riefenstahl's Olympiad Leni Riefenstahl 1901-2003) “Olympiad” (1936)

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Presentation on theme: "The Modern Olympic Myth and Its Mythmakers. Riefenstahl's Olympiad Leni Riefenstahl 1901-2003) “Olympiad” (1936)"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Modern Olympic Myth and Its Mythmakers

2 Riefenstahl's Olympiad Leni Riefenstahl ) “Olympiad” (1936)

3 Baron de Coubertin The man most responsible for the revival of the modern Olympic Games was a French nobleman, Pierre de Fredi, known as Baron de Coubertin.

4 The Modern Olympic Ideal "The idea of the revival of Olympic Games was not a passing fancy: it was the logical culmination of a great movement. The 19th century saw the taste for physical exercises revive everywhere... At the same time the great inventions, the railways and the telegraph have abridged distances and mankind has come to live a new existence; the peoples have intermingled, They have learned to know each other better and immediately they started to compare themselves. What one achieved the other immediately wished also to endeavor: universal exhibitions brought together to one locality of the globe the products of the most distant lands; Literary or scientific congresses have brought together, into contact, the various intellectual forces. How then should the athletes not seek to meet, since rivalry is the basis of athletics, and in reality the very reason of its existence?" (Baron Pierre de Coubertin, 1896)

5 Modern Olympic Myth A Combination of: Revival Movement Amateur Athletic Movement

6 Revival? The Olympic Torch The First Modern Torch Lighting Ceremony Olympia, Greece July 20, 1936 (Berlin Olympics)

7 Eternal Flame of Goddess Hestia (Vesta)

8 Lampadedromia (Torch Race)

9 Rise of Sport in 19 th -century Britain Competitions for cash prizes (Highland Games of Scotland) in early 19 th century University track and field contests in Britain in 1860’s (“gentlemanly competition”) Amateur Athletic Club (AAC) founded in 1866 in London. “Mechanics” excluded. AAC becomes Amateur Athletic Assn. (AAA) in Mechanics clause replaced by profit clause.

10 Rise of Sport in 19 th -century America Competitions for cash prizes in early part of century American egalitarianism slowed amateur movement N.Y. Athletic Club founded in (No “amateur” in title.) U.S. baseball goes pro in 1869 First U.S. university track contests (for cash prizes) in 1870’s By 1879 University competitions had become “amateur.” The football team and athletic club “Atlas” of Nikomedia, “Marmnamarz”, 1913

11 Olympic Ideals 2004 (See Celebration Human Scale Heritage Participation

12 Celebration In the ancient Olympic Games, a truce was declared so that what is good and ennobling in humankind would prevail. The Games today are the greatest celebration of humanity, an event of joy and optimism to which the whole world is invited to compete peacefully. Every four years, humanity celebrates, embraces and honors sport, and the world realizes the Olympic ideals of culture and peace. In 2004, Athens will offer the world a unique and festive experience that will remain with us for life, a point of reference for future generations.ancient

13 Human Scale Throughout its history, Greek civilization hashistory made man the measure of all things. For the homecoming to Greece, the centre of our attention and the measure of comparison will remain the athlete, the individual, the team. Noble competition will inspire the athletes to excel in each of their endeavors, and thus to oppose their human abilities to the massive dimensions of the Games. The Olympic Games are the arena where human abilities are demonstrated and acknowledged; an inspiration that encourages and empowers each of us to pursue our ideals, high as they might be.

14 Heritage The Olympic Games were born in Greece more than two and a half thousand years ago. The Games were revived in Athens, in 1896.born in Greece revived in Athens Today, the Olympic Games belong to the world – every host city and country adds its own cultural character to the Games. The universality and uniqueness of the Games can be found in the Olympic ideals, understood in all languages of the world. The Olympic symbols of ancient Olympia, the Olympic flame and the Marathon race are the bridge between the ancient and the modernancientmodern Olympic Games. They convey the Olympic ideals and, combined with the homecoming of the Games in 2004, will renew the Olympic spirit and celebrate the ancient "Ethos" of the noble competition of sport.

15 Participation People of various backgrounds, different cultural roots, and different ideas come to the Olympic Games to participate in a gathering that showcases what makes us alike, not what makes us different. The athletes, spectators, organisers, volunteers, and the people who will share in the 2004 Games through new technologies, will participate in a homecoming to the birthplace of the Olympic Games that enhances Olympism. In the Olympic Games, what matters most is to share the common vision of promoting peace and friendship among all the people of the world, through the noble competition in sport.volunteers

16 The Mythmakers Shorey, Paul. “Can we Revive the Olympic Games,” forum 19 (1895), Mahaffy, John P. “Old Greek Athletics,” Macmillan’s Magazine 36 (1879), Gardner, Percy. New Chapters in Greek History. London, Coubertin, Pierre. “Why I revived the Olympic Games,” Fortnightly Review 90 (1908), Brundage, Avery. “Why the Olympic Games?” Report of the United States Olympic Committee; Games of the XIVthe Olympiad, London, England, 1948; n.p., n.d.,

17 Paul Shorey Paul Shorey ( ) Bryn Mawr faculty , then moving to the University of Chicago, where he published Horace. Odes and Epodes (1898), Unity of Plato's Thought (1903), Plato Republic Loeb, What Plato Said (1933), and most of the 800+ other items in his bibliography, especially “Can We Revive the Olympic Games,” forum 19 (1895),

18 John Mahaffy Irish Classical scholar and papyrologist Strong advocate of English aristocratic values Present at the 1875 Zappian games. Mahaffy, John P. “Old Greek Athletics,” Macmillan’s Magazine 36 (1879), Praised modern English athletes over ancient Greek ones. The first scholar to assert that the ancient Greeks were “amateur” in their sports.”

19 Percy Gardner English Classical Scholar Dominated the field in the early 20 th century. Gardner, Percy. New Chapters in Greek History. London, Describes the “genuine amateurs” of the Greek archaic period Speaks openly of the “evils of professionalism” Created the “myth of the degradation of Greek athletics”

20 Pierre de Coubertin Coubertin, Pierre. “Why I revived the Olympic Games,” Fortnightly Review 90 (1908), Member of a French aristocratic family Visited England in 1863 and became advocate of English principles of aristocratic superiority and amateurism in sports Revival of Olympics linked with efforts to reform French educational system according to English models

21 Avery Brundage “Why the Olympic Games?” Report of the United States Olympic Committee; Games of the XIVthe Olympiad, London, England, 1948; n.p., n.d., Placed sixth in 1912 pentathlon behind Jim Thorpe Elected President of the US Olympic Committee in 1929 VP of IOC after World War II and then President ( ) Staunch defender of strict amateurism rule Any profit of any kind made an athlete a pro.

22 What is the Relationship between Sport and Professionalism in ancient Athletics?

23 The Mythmakers’ Answer From 776 B.C. until c.400 B.C. Greek athletes were amateurs From c.400 B.C. until 393 A.D. the games existed in a corrupt and degenerate state

24 The Reality Ancient Athletes would be ineligible for the first Modern games The concept of “amateur” did not exist in the ancient world.


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