The Olympic movement originated, in fact, in a fin-de-siecle world that anticipated our own age of globalization in important ways. The political reality that lurks behind this ‘magical fiction’ is the nationalist feelings that persist within the internationalist arrangements that are constructed to regulate them. Commentaries on global competition are suffused with sportive imagery because elite sport models both the sheer intensity and the civilizing potential of competition. Sport and the larger world of economic and cultural globalization are in constant thematic intercourse with each other. Sports imagery can also express national feelings about the threats posed by unregulated competition. The ubiquity and tenacity of sportive nationalism indicate that, on an unconscious level, elite athletic performances can signify nothing less than national survival for large numbers of people in many different societies. Sportive nationalism can also take the form of a kind of masochistic self-reproach that blames the nation for its inability to meet global standards of excellence.