Cover for DYRESON: Making the American Team: Sport, Culture, and the Olympic Experience

Making the American Team

Sport, Culture, and the Olympic Experience

One day in front of the television would convince any alien that the entirety of American culture is built around sports. Politics and business are abustle with sports metaphors and endorsements by athletes. "Home runs," "bottom of the ninth," "fourth and ten," "slam dunk," and similar phrases litter the daily vocabulary. No matter how dire the news, sports will be reported as usual. How did this single-minded fascination come to be?

Mark Dyreson locates the invasion of sport at the heart of American culture at the turn of the century. It was then that social reformers and political leaders believed that sport could revitalize the "republican experiment," that a new sense of national identity could forge a new sense of community and a healthy political order as it would serve to link America's thinking classes with the experiences of the masses. Nowhere was this better exemplified than in American accounts of the Olympic Games held between 1896 and 1912. In connecting sport to American history and culture, Dyreson has stepped up to the plate and hit one out of the park.

A volume in the series Sport and Society, edited by Benjamin G. Rader and Randy Roberts

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