Mexico City’s staging of the 1968 Olympic Games should have been a pinnacle in Mexico’s post-revolutionary development: a moment when a nation at ease with itself played proud host to a global celebration of youthful vigour. Representing the Nation argues, however, that from the moment that the city won the bid, the Mexican elite displayed an innate lack of trust in their countrymen. Beautification of the capital city went beyond that expected of a host. It included the removal of undesirables from sight and the sponsorship of public information campaigns designed to teach citizens basic standards of civility and decency.
The book’s contention is that these and other measures exposed a chasm between what decades of post-revolutionary socio-cultural reforms had sought to produce, and what members of the elite believed their nation to be. While members of the Organising Committee deeply resented international scepticism of Mexico’s ability to stage the Games, they shared a fear that, with the eyes of the world upon them, their compatriots would reveal Mexico’s aspirations to first world status to be a fraud. Using a detailed analysis of Mexico City’s preparations for the Olympic Games, we show how these tensions manifested themselves in the actions of the Organizing Committee and government authorities.
This book was published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.
"Representing the Nation is not concerned with Olympic sport itself but seeks to place the games within the wider context of the role of sport in politics and society. Over the course of these chapters three main themes emerge: the ‘indigenous problem’, Mexico’s determination to be acknowledged as a ‘first world’ country, and its status as leader of the ‘Third World’."–Christopher Wagner
1. Prologue: The Genre of Sport as a Means to an End 2. Sport and Society in Post-revolutionary Mexico 3. The Rank Outsider: Mexico City’s Bid for the 1968 Olympic Games 4. Pride and Prejudice: Foreign Perceptions of Mexico as an Olympic Host 5. Cleaning the Cage: Mexico City’s Preparations for the Olympic Games 6. The Mexican Student Movement of 1968: An Olympic Perspective 7. Mexico City’s Hosting of the 1968 Olympic Games 8. Epilogue: The Legacy of the Mexico City Olympics
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