Episode 127: The Evolution of Olympic Commercialism


We’re back! We definitely needed that break from learning we have to rename our show, but now we need to come up with a name. That’s where you come in – we’re having a Show Name Suggestion Bonanza, and we’d like your input! [note: this is not a contest; we’re just looking for ideas]. Fill out the form here – it’s got a list of considerations we have to keep in mind. We’ll take suggestions through March 15, 2020. Thanks for your participation!

On to today’s show:

The Olympics used to be a showcase for amateurism, but over time they’ve grown more and more commercialized. Authors Stephen R. Wenn and Robert K. Barney join us to talk about their new book The Gold in the Rings: The People and Events that Transformed the Gamesand the key people throughout Olympic history who made an impact on its trajectory. Yep, that includes some Avery Brundage talk!

Stephen is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Wilfrid Laurier University. Robert is a professor emeritus and founding director emeritus of the International Center for Olympic Studies at the School of Kinesiology at Western University. They have also written with Scott Martyn the book Tarnished Rings: The International Olympic Committee and the Salt Lake City Bid Scandal.

You can learn more about their book from University of Illinois Press.

We’ve got lots of TOFU from our bobsledders, divers and gymnasts – and big news for the dulcet tones of Jason Bryant.

It’s been a couple of weeks, so we have a ton of Tokyo 2020 news:

  • Most importantly, as of right now, the Games will not be suspended or cancelled due to coronavirus. Please stop asking the IOC about it.
  • Japan’s podium uniforms have been released
  • The Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage is going to have the first Olympic agora at a Games, opening April 24 through August 16. Here’s a schedule and map
  • The Torch will be lit next week (NEXT WEEK!), but our friend Karolos Grohman writes that the ceremonies in Greece will be scaled back
  • Also, what do you think of Tokyo 2020’s kinetic pictograms? Alison definitely has some opinions on them.

We also have an IOC update which includes a list of athletes who have officially changed countries.

And, Paris 2024 has an official surfing venue!

We’d love to hear your thoughts! We’re at olymfever@gmail.com or 530-7-O-FEVER. You can also find us on Twitter and Insta or join in the conversation on our Facebook Group. And help us find more of our people–review the show on your favorite podcasting platform and share it with a friend.

Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!


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