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1st Student's Major

History

1st Student's College

Arts and Humanities

Students' Professional Biography

Joe Schiller is a senior at Minnesota State University, Mankato, majoring in History and English-Creative Writing. From Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, he is also a member of the Maverick men’s hockey team. Joe plans to attend law school upon completion of his undergraduate degrees.

Mentor's Name

Matt Loayza

Mentor's Email Address

matt.loayza@mnsu.edu

Mentor's Department

History

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

My research examined American attitudes towards the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc at the 1960, Squaw Valley Winter Olympics. This includes the press‟ prevailing attitude in its depictions of American and western European athletes, versus those of Eastern European athletes. Parallels between these and the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games are of especial import; a Cold War era Olympics, on American soil, pitting American capitalism against Soviet communism, where the underdog Americans score an ice hockey victory over the Soviets en route to a gold medal. In 1980 the ice hockey competition was highly politicized, and historians have devoted increasing attention to how nation states have used sport as a means of justifying national ideologies. Yet in 1960, the same result met little fanfare, and no attention from historians. My research also examined the American government‟s attitudes towards Soviet Russia to help explain this disconnect. I found that the Soviet Union was at this time making a concerted effort, through diplomacy and sport, to be more conciliatory to the U.S. The American public and government recognized this, and the generally harmonious spirit of the ‟60 Winter Games is attributable to this fact. The political environment surrounding these games, then, allowed them to be played only in the sporting arena, and not as much in the political arena. This research is based on relevant secondary monographs and articles which explore the rise of international, state-driven sport beginning with the modern Olympics; sport and international politics in the 20th Century, especially as it pertains to competition between and among capitalism, communism, and fascism; the importance of pageantry and glorification to competing and hosting Olympic nations; the 1980 Olympic hockey competition, and nationalistic bias in Olympic figure skating judging. It is also based on examination of government documents, the Final Report of the VIII Winter Olympic Games, and a variety of contemporary newspapers and mass-circulation magazines such as Sports Illustrated and Time.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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