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By Dikaia Chatziefstathiou;Ian P. Henry

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11). Since the German invasion of Belgium had been the cause that brought Britain into the war, the IOC decided that it was symbolically important for the first post-war Games to be staged in Antwerp (Guttmann 1992), signalling ‘a symbolic revival of the Olympic movement and its message from out of the killing fields of Flanders’ (Roche 2000: 104). 3 Although Germany, Austria and its allies were excluded, the Games were very successful (Krüger 1999) and the main organiser, Henri Baillet-Latour, emerged from the scene as a capable successor to the IOC presidency (Boulogne 1999b).

The spectator numbers were initially low, but nationalistic conflicts between the British and American athletes about the rules attracted the interest of the press and increased publicity (Krüger 1999; Roche 2000). Despite the successful collaboration between the expo organisers and the Olympic group in 1908, the two previous ‘problematic’ cases of Paris and St. Louis were critical in the de-coupling of the Olympic Games from the expos (Roche 2000). In the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, the IOC and the sports federations were involved in assuring a unification of standards, rules and by-laws, undermining the local organisers.

Its emphasis was on mass participation and non-competitive sport, calling for a link between sport and wider political and cultural activities (Roche 2000). In the inter-war period, socialist movements were opposed to the elitism of the Olympic movement, which tended to make sport exclusive and inaccessible for working-class athletes. The sport movements from the political Left therefore staged their own sport festivals as alternatives to the bourgeois Olympics. SWSI’s political profile was reformist and not revolutionary, thus it banned its members from participating in the Soviet Spartakiads, a series of large-scale workers’ Olympic-type events organised by the revolutionary Red Sport International (RSI) organisation.

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