F – Solidarities, internationalisms, and global movements

Global perspectives and voices in the sporting Cold War

Event Details

  • Date

    Saturday, 27 June - 14:00 – 16:00

  • Venue
    tba
  • Theme
    F – Solidarities, internationalisms, and global movements
Convenor
  • Luiz Rocha (Federal Institute of Brasilia)
  • Johanna Mellis (Ursinus College)
Chair
  • Luiz Rocha (Federal Institute of Brasilia)
Commentator
  • Matheus Serva Pereira (Universidade de Lisboa, Instituto de Ciências Sociais)
Panelists
  • Johanna Mellis (Ursinus College)
  • Alexandre Mountain (University of Wisconsin)
  • Luiz Rocha (Federal Institute of Brasilia)

Papers

  • Johanna Mellis
    “Working from the Middle: Hungary, Middle Bloc Sport Diplomacy, and the International Olympic Committee during the Cold War”

    “Working from the Middle: Hungary, Middle Bloc Sport Diplomacy, and the International Olympic Committee during the Cold War”

    My presentation explores the relations between socialist Hungary and the IOC from the 1960s-1980s as a way to propose understanding the global sport diplomacy tactics of the ‘Middle Bloc’ nations between East Germany and the USSR. I will examine 2 cases that illustrate how Hungary benefitted from its position as a veiled nation in the Middle Bloc, due to the international community’s perception of it as a less-important nation in the Cold War. The first one concerns a kerfuffle between the IOC and East Germany about an East German athlete-defector’s allegations of violations of IOC rules in East Germany. In contrast to this incident, Hungary received no such allegations nor scrutiny even though hundreds of athletes had defected to the West after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The second case examines the position and career of Árpád Csanádi, who served as the IOC’s member for Hungary from 1964 until his death in 1983.
  • Alexandre Mountain
    “Cold Ice: Cold War Dimensions of Youth Ice Hockey Training in Canada, the United States, and Sweden”

    “Cold Ice: Cold War Dimensions of Youth Ice Hockey Training in Canada, the United States, and Sweden”

    During the 1950s international sporting competitions emerged as a vehicle to express the intense political ideological divisions. International ice hockey events became political and cultural flashpoints, facilitated by careful foreign policy maneuvers. The geopolitical significance of ice hockey led to a series of initiatives in Canada, the United, and Sweden to promote the training of young hockey players. While the Canadian system was the most nakedly exploitative, the increasingly political dimensions of international ice hockey competitions during the Cold War forced a moral reckoning of the Canadian Junior leagues, shifting the national focus to the education of Canadian players. Conversely, in the United States, education was the backbone of the development of young ice hockey players, with college hockey the main elite training program. However, college hockey struggled to balance the education of the Canadian players which filled the rosters with the political need to produce strong players who could compete on the national team. In Sweden, the new ideological concepts of the social democratic welfare state influenced the development of a more community-oriented, education-focused program that considered the health and wellbeing of the young players. Despite the differences in the American, Canadian and Swedish systems, by the late 1970s, each had a training program that emphasized the education the young players to varying degrees, in some attempt to protect the athletes from the exploitative global sports market.
  • Luiz Rocha
    Musical Chairs: how Havelange was elected FIFA president

    Musical Chairs: how Havelange was elected FIFA president

    In 1974, the Brazilian sports official João Havelange was elected FIFA's president in a two-round election, defeating the incumbent Stanley Rous. The upset, often attributed to a successful alliance with Asia, the Middle East and Africa, what at the time was referred to as the Third World - surprised observer everywhere. The story told by Havelange himself describes a private odyssey in which the protagonist crisscrosses two thirds of the world canvassing for votes and challenging the institutional status quo. It can be thought of as a political window by means of which the international dynamic of a specific moment in the Cold War can be perceived, especially the limitations and potentialities of the agency available to periphery countries at that time. The active role played by the military dictatorship and by segments of Brazilian civil society in the making of the campaign indicates the existence of a political project revolving around Havelange's candidacy.

Abstract

The history of the sports seems to move connected to the history of globalization itself. EN-US-Sport, sporting events (such as the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup) and sporting institutions were three of ‘the’ main arenas of ideological conflict for many players in the Cold War. To the detriment of the truly global sporting arena during the Cold War however, studies of the topic have largely remained focused on the superpower nations of the US and USSR. For long, those remain as the sole voices during Cold War History. Thinking the Cold War as a global phenomenon forced us to revisit the role of sports which were at the core of the conflict. Therefore, our panel brings together a significantly greater scope of research by putting more globally-focused scholarship, such as about contexts in the so-called ‘Third World’ and Eastern Europe, in direct conversation with international sport organizations and other Cold War players such as in Canada and the US. Johanna Mellis will explore how socialist Hungary benefitted from its position as a ‘Middle Bloc’ country between the Soviet Union and East Germany in its sport diplomacy interactions with the leaders of the Olympic movement. By examining the diplomatic aftermath of a tussle between East Germany and the IOC, as well as a Hungarian socialist leader’s rise through the IOC ranks, her presentation illustrates how Hungarian cultural leaders used their relative power to improve their country’s domestic policies and influence the global sport culture and governance of the International Olympic Committee. Luiz Burlamaqui will discuss the national political project behind the campaign for Brazilian sport leader João Havelange’s election as the president of FIFA in 1974. Burlamaqui’s presentation shows how agents from the ‘periphery’ of Cold War politics shaped the development of networks in the domestic and international arenas, and thereby a powerful global sport organization. Alexandra Mountain will examine how during the Cold War International ice hockey events became political and cultural shepherds, facilitated by careful foreign policy maneuvers in Sweden, US and Canada. Finally, George Kioussis trace the early development of CONCACAF and the United States experience within it. These presentations will illustrate how actors and sport policies originating outward from periphery, middle, and superpower nations engaged in the international sport arena in order to shape the landscape of sport and cultural policies at home, and—just as importantly—the global sport spheres in IOC, FIFA, and other global sport organizations during the Cold War. By doing so, we intend to bring other minorities voices to the debate, and think about how other global voices were excluded from the debate about Sports Cold War History.