Cover image for Power, politics, and the Olympic Games
Power, politics, and the Olympic Games
Senn, Alfred Erich.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics, [1999]

Physical Description:
xx, 315 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV721.5 .S443 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Power, Politics, and the Olympic Games offers the most up-to-date and comprehensive history of the Olympic movement on the market. It is not a record book full of sterile results and statistics. Rather, it is an insightful and accessible exploration of the history of the Olympics and how big a role politics has played since the modern Games began in 1896. The book covers the entire 20th century and includes Sydney's bid and preparation for their 2000 Games.

This book provides an analytical and judicious interpretation of the myths surrounding the games and shows you the political and economic realities as ritual, sports, politics, and show business are combined in the largest regularly scheduled international gathering in the world. You'll learn who serves on the International Olympic Committee and what they do, how the various host cities are chosen, and even which countries, teams, and athletes get to participate. The unique visibility of the Games make them an attractive target for political and social causes, and Power, Politics, and the Olympic Games discusses in detail many of these controversies.

Many of today's controversies are not all that new, and Power, Politics, and the Olympic Games offers you a unique historical perspective into the who, what, when, where, how, and-most importantly-why behind the many disputes and conflicts that have plagued the modern Games.

Author Notes

Alfred Erich Senn, PhD, is professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he has taught since 1961.

He received a PhD in East European history at Columbia University in 1958. Senn is the author of eight books, several monographs, and numerous scholarly articles. His book, Gorbachev's Failure in Lithuania , was awarded the Edgar Anderson Presidential Prize by the American Association of Baltic Studies in 1996.

Professor Senn lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife, LaVonne.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Senn (history emeritus, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison) traces the history of the modern Games from 1896 through Nagano 1998 and provides glimpses of Sydney 2000 and beyond; half of the book covers the period before 1960. Its organization is chronological, with large subdivisions reflecting the sequence of presidents of the International Olympic Committee. Senn concentrates on international relations and their impact on the Olympics, including the situation of occupied countries, Soviet and Soviet bloc sport versus "capitalist sport," the two Chinas and two Germanies, Indonesia's alternative games, the exclusion of South Africa from the Olympics, and the related activities of African organizations. Other topics include internal IOC politics, commercialism, professionalism versus amateurism, and drugs and gender testing. Athletic performances are mentioned only when they are related to controversies and/or political relations among nations and political blocs. Although most references are secondary, scattered sidebars contain excerpts from letters, speeches, newspapers, Olympic reports, and other primary materials--many from the Avery Brundage Collection. Christopher Hill (Olympic Politics, CH Mar'97 ) and Richard Espy (The Politics of the Olympic Games, 1979, 1981) provide deeper analysis of and more documentation on part of the time Senn covers (Hill since 1950, Espy 1944-76). Recommended for general readers and undergraduates. R. McGehee; Concordia University at Austin

Table of Contents

Part I The Formative Years
Chapter 1 The Olympic Family
Chapter 2 Coubertin's Creation
Chapter 3 Starting Anew
Chapter 4 The Berlin Games
Part II The Brundage Era
Chapter 5 Another War
Chapter 6 Entry of the Soviets
Chapter 7 The Cold War Arena
Chapter 8 Brundage: The Idealist at the Helm
Chapter 9 The Issue of Political Discrimination
Chapter 10 Brundage's Troubled Last Term
Part III "Opening" the Games
Chapter 11 Seeking the Lee
Chapter 12 Boycott!
Chapter 13 ...and Again!
Chapter 14 Reconstructing the Olympic Edifice
Chapter 15 The Last Cold War Games
Chapter 16 The Collapse of the Soviet Union
Chapter 17 The Capitalist Centennial Games
Chapter 18 From Atlanta to Nagano
Chapter 19 Entering the 21st Century