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Onward to the Olympics

Historical Perspectives on the Olympic Games

Edited by Gerald P. Schaus & Stephen R. Wenn
Subjects History, Sports & Recreation
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Paperback : 9781554580422, 408 pages, December 2009
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554587797, 408 pages, August 2009

Table of contents

Table of Contents for
Onward to the Olympics: Historical Perspectives on the Olympic Games, edited by Gerald P. Schaus

List of illustrations


Introduction | Gerald P. Schaus

List of abbreviations

Part I: The Olympics in Antiquity

An Overview

The Ancient Olympic Games through the Centuries | Nigel B. Crowther


Politics and the Bronze Age Origins of Olympic Practices | Senta C. German

Pindar, Heracles the Idaean Dactyl, and the Foundation of the Olympic Games | Thomas K. Hubbard

The First Olympic Games | Max Nelson

The Transformation of Athletics in Sixth-Century Greece | Paul Christesen

Ideals and Losers

The Ancient Olympics and Their Ideals | Nigel B. Crowther

Olympic Losers: Why Athletes Who Did Not Win at Olympia Are Remembered | Victor Matthews

Details of the Festival

Judges and Judging at the Ancient Olympic Games | David Gilman Romano

Heroic and Athletic Sortition at Ancient Olympia | Aileen Ajootian

Fabulous Females and Ancient Olympia | Donald G. Kyle

The Halma: A Running or Standing Jump? | Hugh M. Lee

Another View of Olympia

Connections between Olympia and Stymphalus | Gerald P. Schaus

Commemorative Cash: The Coins of the Ancient and Modern Olympics | Robert Weir

Works Cited in Part I

Part II: The Modern Olympics

An Overview

The Olympic Games in Modern Times | Robert K. Barney

The Olympics Before World War II

Duke Kahanamoku—Olympic Champion and Uncle Sam’s Adopted Son: The Cultural Text of a Hawaiian Conqueror | Jim Nendel

Carl Diem’s Inspiration for the Torch Relay? Jan Wils, Amsterdam 1928, and the Origin of the Olympic Flame | Robert K. Barney and Anthony Th. Bijkerk

The Great Progression: A Content Analysis of the Lake Placid News and the Los Angeles Times’ Treatment of the 1932 Olympics | Jonathan Paul

The Olympics After World War II

Womanizing Olympic Athletes: Policy and Practice during the Avery Brundage Era | Kevin B. Wamsley

The Bridge to Change: The 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, South African Apartheid Policy, and the Olympic Boycott Paradigm | Courtney W. Mason

Splitting Hairs: The Struggle between the Canadian Federal Government and the Organizing Committee of 1976 Torontolympiad Concerning South African Participation | David A. Greig

Juan Antonio Samaranch’s Score Sheet: Revenue Generation and the Olympic Movement, 1980-2001 | Stephen R. Wenn and Scott G. Martyn

The Future of the Olympic Games

Olympic Ideals: Pragmatic Method and the Future of the Games | Tim Elcombe

“To Construct a Better and More Peaceful World”, or “War Minus the Shooting”?: The Olympic Movement’s Second Century | Mark Dyreson

Works Cited in Part II

Glossary of Terms



The Olympic Games have had two lives—the first lasted for a millennium with celebrations every four years at Olympia to honour the god Zeus. The second has blossomed over the past century, from a simple start in Athens in 1896 to a dazzling return to Greece in 2004. Onward to the Olympics provides both an overview and an array of insights into aspects of the Games’ history. Leading North American archaeologists and historians of sport explore the origins of the Games, compare the ancient and the modern, discuss the organization and financing of such massive athletic festivals, and examine the participation ,or the troubling lack of it, by women.

Onward to the Olympics bridges the historical divide between the ancient and the modern and concludes with a thought-provoking final essay that attempts to predict the future of the Olympics over the twenty-first century.


``Schaus and Wenn have managed to put in the hands of any interested reader a collection of articles between two covers that deal with both ancient problems and modern issues. How can anyone interested in the study of ancient athletics resist at least skimming through an article with a title like: `Duke Kahanamoku—Olympic Champion and Uncle Sam's Adopted Son: The Cultural Text of a Hawaiian Conqueror' by Jim Nendel. ..or `Carl Diem's Inspiration of the Torch Relay? Jan Wils, Amsterdam 1928, and the Origin of the Olympic Flame' by Robert Barney and Anthony Bijkerk. ... These, and many others in Part II, are important papers, especially for classicists like me who regularly teach an `Ancient Sport' course especially popular with non-classics majors. ''

- Michael Carter, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, January 2008

``[T]he authors are experts . .. and the book is well edited. It will certainly please those fascinated by the Olympics. ... Recommended. ''

- D.W. Hill, CHOICE, September 2007