World harmony or an athletic clash of civilizations? the Beijing olympic spectacle, BMX bicycles and the American contours of globalisation

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Abstract

In spite of rhetorical flourishes concerning world harmony, from US vantages the 2008 Beijing Olympics represented an episode in the clash of civilisations between an American-led Occident and China's Confucian civilisation. The US media and public tend to see the Olympics through Samuel Huntington's combative interpretation of world affairs rather than as a pacific transnational partnership. The Chinese tendency to count medals to guarantee China's triumph indicates that many Chinese shared in that habit. Americans often see globalisation as an opportunity for Americanisation. Seeking through sport the cultural transformation of China and the rest of the world represents an old habit in US culture. From American viewpoints, the inclusion of new action sports in the Olympics has multiplied opportunities for Americanising the globe. In the Olympic debut of BMX cycling, Americans perceived that in spite of Chinese successes in Beijing the Olympics ultimately spurred the extension of US hegemony.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1231-1242
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Volume29
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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