Olympic Games Round-Up
The Games of the XXX Olympiad begin this week in London, and to mark the occasion we've rounded up a collection of articles from the History Today archive about the Olympics.
London 2012 marks the third time the city has played host to the Olympic movement. One of the more notable features of the modern Games is the time and expense being a host city entails: the Olympic Park has been seven years in the making, and the budget stands at over £9 billion. Yet it wasn't always this way. In 1908 the Olympic movement visited Britain for the first time, and here Stephen Halliday describes how the British Olympic Association prepared for the Games with barely two years notice.
The Olympics returned to London in 1948, the first Games after the horrors of the Second World War. In contrast to the lavish cost of this year's spectacle, the 'Austerity Olympics' were just that, and the reduced horizons were typified by the opening ceremony.
Writing in our June issue earlier this year, David Runciman compared the 2012 games with the London Olympics of 1908 and 1948 to see what they reveal about the changing relationship between politics and sport over the last century.
The modern games are often criticised for being lavish, over-commercialised and nationalistic. However, the ancient games often faced the same pressures. Here, David Gribble draws parallels between the modern Olympics and the games of 416 BC, when Alcibiades of Athens risked everything to outdo rival Spart.
In an intriguing historic coincidence, the modern Olympic movement and the cinema were born within a few short months of each other. Writing in this month's issue, Taylor Downing examines how the Games have been captured on film. Here are some historical highlights and clips from the previous Olympics in London.
While the Olympics are often considered non-political, the nature of the event and its importance in harnessing 'soft power' means that the Games inevitably take on a political hue -- particularly where the USA and the former Soviet Union were concerend. Here, Christopher Hill describes the diplomatic and public relations disputes that surrounded the Olympic Games during the Cold War.
Finally, Paul Cartledge explores the differences between today’s interpretation of the Olympic Games and their significance in the ancient world.
We hope you enjoy these articles from our extensive archive. If you do, why not consider taking out an online archive subscription and getting unrestricted access to more than 11,000 expertly-written essays from the past three decades.
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