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Consuming Olympism : consumer culture, sport star sponsorship and the commercialisation of the Olympics / Barry Smart

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Smart, Barry

Professionalism, commercialism, proliferating forms of spectacular media representation and a globalising consumer culture have transformed the Olympic Games and reduced the values of Olympism to marketing rhetoric. The complex forms of articulation of the Olympics with consumer culture are at the heart of the paper which gives critical consideration to i) the increasing commercialization of the Olympic Games; ii) the growth of Olympic merchandising; and iii) a comparison of the athletic performances, profiles, and consumer sponsorship statuses of three generations of iconic Olympic sprinters, Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, and Usain Bolt, confirming in conclusion that the Olympic Games is immersed within and infused by a pervasive consumer culture.

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