The Original Pan-American Games? the 1937 Dallas Pan-American Olympics

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Abstract

In 1937, Dallas, Texas, hosted a sporting festival that drew teams from across the Americas to a 'Pan American Olympics'. Organized under the umbrella of the Greater Texas and Pan-American Exposition, the games drew hundreds of athletes for track and field contests, soccer football matches, and a boxing tournament. Though historians generally consider the 1951 Buenos Aires Pan-American Games as the genesis of the Western Hemisphere's biggest sporting carnival, the Dallas games certainly inspired even if they did not directly inaugurate the Pan-American Games movement. Directed by George Preston Marshall, the owner of a professional gridiron football franchise and an ardent leader of segregation in that sport, the Pan-American Olympics paradoxically produced an interracial set of contests that matched black, white, and Latino athletes against one another in the heart of the segregated US South. The Dallas Pan-American festival reveals the enigmatic visions of their architect, illumines the racial and national cleavages of the 1930s, and highlights the persistent dream of an Olympic-style event that would include all of the Americas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-28
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Volume33
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 22 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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