Scripting the Olympics

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Scripting the American Olympic Story-Telling Formula: 

Scripting the American Olympic Story-Telling Formula The 1924 Paris Olympic Games and the American Media

I. American Stories in the 1920’s: 

I. American Stories in the 1920’s Charles Lindbergh as cultural symbol Parallels to the 1924 American Olympic Team The significance of nationalism Media interpretation of Olympic exploits -- “ballyhoo” Translating the Olympics for an American audience

II. Pre-Olympic Media Interpretation: 

II. Pre-Olympic Media Interpretation Olympism as an antidote to “realpolitik” Olympic preparations in Paris A French Olympic Craze American Try-outs --Charles W. Paddock

III. A Winter Interlude: 

III. A Winter Interlude First Winter Olympic games in January of 1924 Charles Jewtraw wins 500 meter speed skating gold Media interpretation of the American performance

IV. Olympic Sport and American Politics: A Contrast: 

IV. Olympic Sport and American Politics: A Contrast The Teapot Dome Scandal Sport as an escape from politics Public donations for American team expenses sought --$350,000 for a 350-member team

V. Setting the Stage: Olympic “Ballyhoo”: 

V. Setting the Stage: Olympic “Ballyhoo” American team seen as favorites Stiff competition expected from Finland A change in the scoring policy Special attention given to American sprinters

VI. “Sex Appeal” at the Olympic Spectacle: 

VI. “Sex Appeal” at the Olympic Spectacle Media focus on American women swimmers The “ambiguous” role of women at the Olympic games The sexual appeal of female swimmers Sportswomanship of female swimmers Sometimes women endorsed the male-chauvinist views of women’s sport

VII. “Unbearable Americans”: 

VII. “Unbearable Americans” United States defeats France in Rugby in May of 1924 French crowd response Crowd response denounced by French press American media interpretation of the “rugby wars”

VIII. Defending America’s National Honor: 

VIII. Defending America’s National Honor Sport as an instrument of peace The role of nationalism in the Olympics American team sails for France No media reports from American athletes American Olympic quarters “Americanizing” the Olympic experience

IX. The 1924 Games: 

IX. The 1924 Games The Opening Ceremony The entrance of the American team 12 New World Records U.S. faced tough competitors American results Anti-American behavior of the French crowds

X. Counting Medals and Confirming American Superiority: 

X. Counting Medals and Confirming American Superiority U.S. won 45 gold medals, 26 silver medals, and 27 bronze medals Nation-wide epidemic of patriotic “back-slapping” Olympic performance as an antidote to the fast living of the 20’s Theories explaining the American success The invisibility of Black Olympians Some criticism of the American Olympic performance

XI. Glorifying Finland: 

XI. Glorifying Finland Paavo Nurmi, The “Flying Finn” Proposed Reasons for Finnish excellence in Olympic sports --climate and size --superior moral athletes --long fight with the Russians --diet and training --compulsory physical education Why did Americans celebrate Finland’s Olympic successes

XII. Creating Foreign Enemies: 

XII. Creating Foreign Enemies Press created villains along with sidekicks British Criticism of Olympism itself American faith in the Olympic spirit The Olympics as an arena to “Americanize” the world Sport as a way to spread civilization and American ideals

XIII. A Triumphant Return from Paris: 

XIII. A Triumphant Return from Paris Ticker tape parade in New York City New York City mayor attacks federal government for lack of support of American team Fact and Fiction in the Olympic Story-Telling Scripts Traditional and modern society might successfully be merged “An Ethiopian Takes Notes” Difficulty of separating fact from fiction

Marketing National Identity: 

Marketing National Identity The Olympic Games of 1932 and American Culture

I. Hollywood’s Olympic Village: 

I. Hollywood’s Olympic Village Means of producing cultural images and myths Residential pattern of the Olympic Village The role of Hollywood stars Special food for each nation The Tenth Olympiad headquartered in “fantasyland”

II. Advertising the Los Angeles Olympics: 

II. Advertising the Los Angeles Olympics Marketed as the vacation of 1932 Advertised as a “Depression-buster” New American Olympic president Avery Brundage Olympians as an example of the true American economic ethos

III. Underwriting a Wholesome Olympics: 

III. Underwriting a Wholesome Olympics Nation-wide campaign to finance the American Olympic Team State and local support Enforcement of Prohibition

IV. The Winter Games at Lake Placid: 

IV. The Winter Games at Lake Placid Third Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York in February, 1932 Governor Franklin Roosevelt opens the games Media Coverage Stunning American victory Financial Issues for the Winter Games

V. Funding Issues for the Summer Games: 

V. Funding Issues for the Summer Games Fears that African-American Athletes will be dropped --Ralph Metcalfe and Jesse Owens German participation in spite of economic woes AOC funding problems Local Fundraising Challenges

VI. The 1932 Games: 

VI. The 1932 Games The Anticipation of American Victories Who would open the games? Visions of Olympic Harmony An Olympian Publicity Machine—Hollywood Style

VI. 1932 Games (cont): 

VI. 1932 Games (cont) The Opening Ceremonies An Orgy of Self-Congratulation Revelations of National Character and Status The US and Japan at the 1932 Games

VII. Women and the 1932 Summer Games: 

VII. Women and the 1932 Summer Games Continuing controversy over the role of women in the Olympic games A lack of grace among female track and field stars Still, the female athletes were perceived as “fair” “The Natural”—Babe Didrikson

VIII. Reflections on the 1932 Games: 

VIII. Reflections on the 1932 Games The “Sable Cyclones” The invisibility of African-American athletes in the 1930’s The global politics of the Olympic spirit—Olympism as the recipe for world peace A Dissenting Voice Appeals to American Athletic Nationalism

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