352 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    352 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How did the Olympics evolve into a multi-national phenomenon? How can the Olympics help us to understand the relationship between sport and society? What will be the impact and legacy of the Olympics after Tokyo in 2020? Understanding the Olympics answers all these questions by exploring the social, cultural, political, historical, and economic context of the Games. 

    This thoroughly revised and updated edition discusses recent attempts at future proofing by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the face of growing global anti-Olympic activism, the changing geo-political context within which the Olympics take place, and the Olympic histories of the next three cities to host the Games – Tokyo (2020), Paris (2024), and Los Angeles (2028) – as well as the legacy of the London (2012) Olympics. For the first time, this new edition introduces the reader to the emergence of ‘other Games’ associated with the IOC – the Winter Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Youth Olympics. It also features a full Olympic history timeline, many new photographs, refreshed suggestions for further reading, and revised illustrations. 

    The most up-to-date and authoritative textbook available on the Olympic Games, Understanding the Olympics is essential reading for anybody with an interest in the Olympics or the wider relationship between sport and society.

    Part I: A Tale of Four Cities


    1. Tokyo and the Olympics: (1940)-1964-2020

    2. Paris and the Olympics: 1900-1924-2024

    3. Los Angeles and the Olympics: 1932-1984-2028

    4. London and the Olympics: 1908-1948-2012


    Part II: From There to Here


    5. The Origins of the Olympics

    6. Internationalism and Nationalism at the Olympics

    7. Politics and the Olympics

    8. The Other Olympic Games


    Part III: Running the Games


    9. The IOC, Governance and the Bidding Process

    10. Olympic Economics and Spectacle: Television, Advertising, Sponsorship and “New” Media

    11. Olympic Level Playing Fields

    12. The “Dark Side” of the Olympics





    John Horne is Professor in the Faculty of Sport Sciences at Waseda University, Japan. 

    Garry Whannel is Emeritus Professor at the University of Bedfordshire, UK.

    "First we have to understand sport cannot be reduced to a simple binary opposition, big bad sport vs small good sport. This book brilliantly provides the framework for just that necessary insight.[...]The latest edition of Understanding the Olympics by John Horne and Garry Whannel, is the best possible explanation of where this unwelcome alliance of commerce, broadcasters and conservative officialdom with big sport has come from.  That isn’t to say there isn’t much to enjoy about the Olympics"
    -Mark Perryman, Philosophy Football