Alpine skiing and the Winter Games - an olympic problem ? : 1936 - 1972

Denning, Andrew

(IOC Olympic Studies Centre Postgraduate Research Grant Programme 2010)

Alpine skiers tested the patience of the IOC on many occasions in the mid-twentieth century because their sport exposed many of the implicit contradictions between the economically-profitable global event that the modern Olympic Games became and the founding principles defined by Pierre de Coubertin at the end of the nineteenth century. Many critics within the IOC and among the public at large... Plus

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    Summary
    Alpine skiers tested the patience of the IOC on many occasions in the mid-twentieth century because their sport exposed many of the implicit contradictions between the economically-profitable global event that the modern Olympic Games became and the founding principles defined by Pierre de Coubertin at the end of the nineteenth century. Many critics within the IOC and among the public at large viewed Alpine skiing as both the epitome and the vecotr of the increasing commercialization and "gigantism" of the Winter Olympic Games and in hte postwar era calls to reform skiing, remove it from the Olympic program, or event end the Winter Games entirely grew in volume. the philosophical and logistical challenges that Alpine skiing posed to the Olympic Movement force dboth sides to moderate their stances. The unique characteristics of Alpine skiing forced the IOC to alter its statutes and make some concessions to the modernizing trends affecting sprot, allowing the Olympci to maintain their popularity and relevance in the era of telvised, commercialized sport. On teh other hand, the desire of Alpine skiers and their representatives to take part in the Winter Olympics - the most visible and prestigious stage for their sport - compelled the representatives of the sport to temper the increasing commercialism and professionalization that attended their sport's increasing popularity.