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Cultural Imperialism and the Olympic Games Virtually since their resumption in 1896 every four years the press is filled with complaints about the intrusion of power politics into the Olympic games David B Kanin has commented that while we are told that international Olympic system idealizes and promotes fair play and sportsmanship and ameliorates struggle hatred and petty jealously through structured competition and international goodwill the realist is that international sport thrives on the very politics Olympic publicists decry Kanin 1 Nevertheless the games are more or less political than anything else Ninety-five percent of the problems faced by IOCs president Killian involved national and international politics Senn x Further it can be argued that what could be called cultural imperialism has influenced and even shaped the games Cultural imperialism at times facilitates inclusion of sporting events reflecting a host nations area of expertise or de-emphasizing sports that are popular with nations not in political favor The following report will explore this issue up until the World War II games The Olympic Games and the Olympic system have become in some critical ways actors on the global political stage Senn proves this point when he states Rather than being an autonomous institution into which politics creep uninvited the Games and international sport themselves play a significant role in international politics as they embody conflict and tension Senn xii However others disagree stating that they view sport as a transnational rather than international phenomenon This suggests the competition brings together non-governmental groups and organizations independently of the governments of the world Senn xii This leads to the question of why Americans even got involved in the Olympic Games Bob Fulton believes that when Pierre de Coubertan was first introducing the revived Games American athletes and athletic associations were not particularly interested in participation They often felt that the Games were little more than an historical relic best left forgotten Appeals to sportsmanship and the potential
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