chapter  4
13 Pages

Paradoxes and contestations of Olympism in the history of the modern Olympic Movement

WithDikaia Chatziefstathiou

An analysis of the changing nature of Olympism requires a sophisticated treatment of

stability and change of the values of the ideology over a considerable period. Three points

should be emphasized. First, it is apparent that there are degrees of change. Thus, the

absence of radical transformation does not necessarily imply that important things have

not changed. It is important to note that the delayed formal admission of women into the

Olympic Movement may not necessarily mean that peoples’ perceptions about women’s

participation in sport had not changed during the early years of the Olympic Movement.

However, deeper processes did not facilitate the implementation of a substantial

transformation. Second, the amount of change over time needs to be distinguished from

the question of ‘when’ change occurred. For example, most people agree that many

features of the Olympic Movement are different today from what they were in 1894.

However, it is important to identify whether this change was evolutionary or punctuated,

i.e. that there were key events which accelerated the pace of change. With regard to

women’s participation in the Olympic Movement, one can argue that the change was

punctuated as a result of the external pressures imposed by women’s sport movements in

the 1920s and the organization of Women’s World Games.