Front Cover

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pp. i-i

Title Page

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p. iii

Copyright Page

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p. iv

Dedication

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pp. v-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

Philosophy and the Olympic Games not only share an origin in ancient Greece; the modern Olympics are the first and perhaps the only sports movement explicitly guided by a “philosophy of life.” This philosophy of life is known as Olympism. The Fundamental Principles of Olympism, which are articulated in the Olympic...

Part 1: The Ideal Olympian

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pp. 7-8

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A Greatness of Olympic Proportions

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pp. 9-22

What does it mean to be great? For the Olympic athlete, winning a gold medal seems like the most obvious answer. Or perhaps winning numerous gold medals, setting world records, and putting together a long and consistently excellent athletic career are what constitute true greatness. There is no doubt a form of greatness...

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Machiavelli, The Olympic Ideal, and the Southern Arrow

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pp. 23-34

What was he doing? Prior to a preliminary heat in the 200-meter dash competition at the 1972 Munich Olympics, a contestant appeared to be undressing in the middle of the track. Mercifully, he never reached full nudity. Stripped down to his athletic...

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What's More than Gold

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pp. 35-46

Steve Prefontaine (Pre) qualified for the 1972 Munich Olympics in the 5K. At age twenty-one, Pre was young for that distance. The 5K, usually dominated by men in their late twenties and early thirties, is considered a thinking man’s race, not a race for...

Part 2: Ancient Heritage

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pp. 47-48

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The Olympics of the Mind

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pp. 49-67

The ancient Greeks were the most competitive people in history. As a profound student of the Hellenic world, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche—a classical scholar by profession—devotes his essay “Homer’s Contest” to detailing...

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Go Tell the Spartans

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pp. 68-85

Fragments from a recently discovered ancient Greek play, Olympia, have puzzled experts, who can’t agree even on the genre (tragedy? comedy? first tragicomedy?). Worse, a number of anachronisms suggest textual corruption. Pertinent excerpts supplement..

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The Soul of an Olympian

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pp. 86-98

What was it like to be an ancient Olympic athlete? A visit to the ancient stadium at Nemea, site of another Pan-Hellenic athletic festival, can help us to imagine the experience. You begin at the ruins of the apodyterion, literally the “undressing room,” where...

Part 3: Modern Ideals

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pp. 99-100

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More than Games

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pp. 101-116

The modern Olympic Games have dramatically increased in scope and significance since their inception in 1896. More than just a sporting festival, the Games are imbued with a complex philosophical vision that entails ethical principles. Pierre de...

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Olympism between Individualism and Transnationalism

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pp. 117-132

Sport as a manifestation of popular culture is among the effects of globalization, a driving force that dictates our everyday existence. Every four years, the eyes of the world turn to a spectacle beyond compare: the Olympic Games. For any state worth its...

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Citius, Altius, Fortius, Virtuous

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pp. 133-146

Imagine that you have just been transported through time to an Olympic Games in the not-too-distant future. You arrive at an athletic venue as three women are ascending a victors’ stand, where they will be festooned with gold, silver, and bronze medals, respectively. Soon you realize that these Olympic Games have a new...

Part 4: Ethical Issues

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pp. 147-148

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The Olympics and Steroids

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pp. 149-160

In this chapter, I discuss whether the International Olympic Committee (IOC) may, and perhaps should, permit athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). I begin by discussing the concept of a PED and then briefly review the Olympic rules prohibiting their use. I then discuss the three main arguments against...

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Olympic Boxing

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pp. 161-174

At one level, Olympic athletes are simply individuals who compete for a prize.1 Of course, the kind of competition athletes engage in is not arbitrary or haphazard. Rather, in Olympic sports, as in all competitive sports, athletes vie with one...

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Should the Olympics Be the Very Best?

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pp. 175-190

The Olympic motto “Faster, Higher, Stronger” evokes vivid images of athletic striving.1 A champion sprinter straining to shave off another hundredth of a second from his own world-record time; a world-class high jumper contorting her body to scale...

Part 5: Race and Gender Issues

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pp. 191-192

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The Strong Men Keep a Comin' On

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pp. 193-213

For African Americans, 1968 was one hell of a year. On February 17 the Black Panther Party’s Huey P. Newton was arrested after a gun battle in West Oakland, California, which resulted in the death of a white police offi cer, John Frey. On April 4 the Reverend...

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Olympic Amazons and the Cold War

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pp. 214-227

During the Cold War, athletic performances were also political statements. But that was then. For every year that passes since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the memories from that time seem to become more and more blurred. Of course, there...

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Buns of Gold, Silver, Bronze

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pp. 228-242

Significant media hype surrounded the uniform regulations inflicted upon beach volleyball players at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and the discussions were variously critical, supportive, and, in some instances, mocking in nature. Over a decade later, it is worthy...

Part 6: Political Power

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pp. 243-244

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The Ethics of Boycotting the Olympics

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pp. 245-255

In the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December of 1979, the administration of President Jimmy Carter decided to boycott the Moscow summer games of 1980. That decision was hotly debated. Some athletes bemoaned the fact that their...

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Sport, Patriotism, and the Olympic Games

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pp. 256-272

The nation-swapping athlete has become an increasingly common, and enduring, phenomenon of Olympic history. The ancient Olympic Games were restricted to free Greeks; but later Romans, Egyptians, and other foreigners also competed. In addition, during the Hellenistic period, it was common for the best athletes...

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Sharing the Moment

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pp. 273-286

This chapter is largely on the Olympics and the philosophy of art. The topic might seem unlikely, compared with other contributions to this volume. It is easy enough to envisage philosophical reflections on the ethics of the Olympics, their political...

Contributors

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pp. 287-292

Index

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pp. 293-296

Series Page

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pp. 297-298