Region and Race: The Legacies of the St Louis Olympics

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Abstract

St Louis staged the third modern Olympics in 1904, an event most historians have labelled as a less than memorable occasion and some have contended nearly derailed the nascent Olympic movement. Consigned to a regional hamlet rather than a global city, the 1904 St Louis games were supposedly a model of how not to conduct an Olympian spectacle. Taking a different perspective, however, the St Louis games had a profound influence on how the United States has staged Olympics. The Olympics have not been held in established or well-known American metropolises but have consistently gone to up-and-coming cities in border regions eager to make national and global reputations. In addition, the 1904 St Louis games were held in a legally segregated city but permitted the inclusion for the first time of African-American athletes in Olympic competition. Race and region provided foundations for American interpretations of the 1904 Olympics and have remained paramount in national memories of Olympian events ever since. From St Louis in 1904 through Atlanta in 1996 race and region have been central themes in American Olympic experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1697-1714
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Volume32
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 22 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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