Olympic Games in Time of Cold War

  • Cristiana Lucretia POP Economic Studies University, Bucharest, Romania
Keywords: Olympic movement, political tensions, boycotts, propaganda, nations top ranking


The Cold War ran from roughly 1947 until the USSR collapse in 1991. Those years were marked by the arms race and the fear of a possible nuclear war between the USA and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Sports were used as a vehicle for superiority of one political regime over the other. Champion athletes image and results were used as propaganda means because the international visibility, the public interest in major sports competitions and the national pride they aroused. U.S.A., after losing the top nation position in favor of Soviet Union in 1956 and 1960, considered winning in Olympic Games a matter of national prestige. The athlete for whom the flag is hoisted and the national anthem is sung, is the bearer of this prestige and his or her performance is inevitably associated with the country and system effectiveness. In the Olympics arena, the Cold War culminates in the boycott of the 1980 and 1984 Games. The main research question of this paper is if in present time we can address the sporting Cold War as an historic, past issue or a new stage of rivalry still persists influencing the Olympic movement? The changes that were made in the international political landscape since 1989 were reflected in the Olympic Games in Barcelona 1992 participation, when for the first time since 1972, no country boycotted the Olympic competition. Throughout the Cold War, U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. have used the Olympic Games and their athletes as opportunities for promoting their political agenda. The end of the Cold War could not prevent the politics to interfere in sport, especially in Olympic movement.


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How to Cite
POP, C. (2017). Olympic Games in Time of Cold War. LUMEN Proceedings, 1, 623-632. https://doi.org/10.18662/lumproc.rsacvp2017.56