chapter  9
Olympic Legacies in the IOC’s ‘Celebrate Humanity’ Campaign: Ancient or Modern?
ByJoseph Maguire, Sarah Barnard, Katie Butler, Peter Golding
Pages 19

While it is evident that the modern Olympics is a global event that acts as a carrier of cultural meanings that are available to international audiences and markets, what is

less clear is the status of such meanings. Though the heritage of the Olympics is claimed to be derived from the ancient world, in fact contemporary legacies are very

modern. Here, attention is paid both to the broader and more specific aspects of these legacies. For instance, the development of the modern Olympic games is bound

up in broader globalization and sportization processes. [1] As such, the Olympics and its related movement have reinforced and reflected both the diminishing of contrasts

and the increased varieties of body cultures available to different peoples. Bound up in sportization processes that are characterized by a series of phases and structured

processes, the modern games have produced an Olympic legacy that expresses what Heinila¨ termed ‘total sport’. [2]

More specifically, the meanings associated with the modern Olympics, and the legacy thereby attached, are re-represented, distributed, and marketed by a mediasport complex predicated less on a legacy expressed through arete and much more on

a consumption ethos. To demonstrate the validity of this claim, the initial formulation, development and use of the ‘Celebrate Humanity’ programme is

investigated. This programme and the wider Olympic movement highlight the basic contradiction between the ideals of ‘Olympism’ and the realities of the modern

Olympics in practice. One of the legacies of the modern games is consumption. Indeed, the legacy ‘message’ becomes embedded in a broader process of commerce

whereby the media/marketing/advertising/corporate nexus is concerned less with the heritage values underpinning Olympism per se and more with how such values can

help build markets, construct and enhance brand awareness, and create ‘glocal’ consumers/identities.