The Olympics and the Cold War, 1948–1968

Sport as Battleground in the U.S.–Soviet Rivalry

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About the Book

For Olympic athletes, fans and the media alike, the games bring out the best sport has to offer—unity, patriotism, friendly competition and the potential for stunning upsets. Yet wherever international competition occurs, politics are never far removed.
Early in the Cold War, when all U.S.–Soviet interactions were treated as potential matters of life and death, each side tried to manipulate the International Olympic Committee. Despite the IOC’s efforts to keep the games apolitical, they were quickly drawn into the superpowers’ global struggle for supremacy, with medal counts the ultimate prize. Based on IOC, U.S. government and contemporary media sources, this book looks at six consecutive Olympiads to show how high the stakes became once the Soviets began competing in 1952, threatening America’s athletic supremacy.

About the Author(s)

Erin Elizabeth Redihan is a visiting history lecturer in the College of General Studies at Boston University and an associate editor of The New England Journal of History. She lives in Rhode Island.

Bibliographic Details

Erin Elizabeth Redihan
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 9 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6788-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2728-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1. Sport in American Society 25

Chapter 2. Sport in Soviet Society 49

Chapter 3. 1948: The Austerity Games 74

Chapter 4. 1952: The Soviet Debut 95

Chapter 5. 1956: Blood in the Water 116

Chapter 6. 1960: The Games in Transition 140

Chapter 7. 1964: Politics Take Center Stage 165

Chapter 8. 1968: Politics as Main Event 189

Chapter 9. Post–1968 Experience and Conclusion 213

Chapter Notes 229

Bibliography 250

Index 259