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Week of January 21, 2013

Don’t miss: Soviets and the Olympics

First they shunned the Olympics. But Soviet communists ultimately embraced the games, and used them to influence international politics during the Cold War.

Robert Edelman, a professor of Russian history and the history of sport at the University of California, San Diego, will present “Who Won the London Olympics? Soviet Communism and the Olympic Movement,” from noon-1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room 1636, International Institute, School of Social Work Building.

In the late 19th century, socialism and the international Olympic movement occupied opposite ends of the political spectrum. Socialist leaders decried sport as an opiate of the masses. When the Bolsheviks came to power, they wanted nothing to do with the Olympics and the Olympics wanted nothing to do with them. Yet, after the Second World War, the USSR competed and came to dominate Olympic competition. By 1974, Moscow had been awarded the 1980 Games. This indicated communism’s complete embrace of an ideology and set of practices it once abhorred.

This talk will examine the how and why. It is presented by the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.


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