Journal of Olympic History 1/2014
The first edition of the Journal in 2014 has taken shape in the wake of the excellently organised Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, even though the wonderful experiences on the Black Sea coast have been clouded by subsequent events in the Ukraine. For that very reason it is worth recalling the opening speech by IOC President Thomas Bach, in which he challenged the politicians to resolve their disputes peacefully, in direct dialogue and not at the expense of sportsmen and sportswomen.
Sport, which brings nations together, is represented by the five Olympic rings, whose centennial we celebrate this year. Karl Lennartz has analysed not only the history and origin of the symbol, but also its transformation into one of the most valuable economic commodities of the Olympic movement.
Three contributions are linked to past Winter Games. Markus Osterwalder discusses the development of the pictograms, to which the Sochi Games contributed a new chapter with a “look” inspired by typical Russian colourful patchwork blankets, I myself have composed two articles about figure skating: one about Russia’s first Olympic champion Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin, whose bust stood outside the ”Russian House” in the Sochi Olympic Park, the other about the “Kilius/Bäumler case”, which caused a stir fifty years ago at the Innsbruck Games of 1964. As is well known, the German world champion duo lost sensationally on that occasion to the Russians Belousova/Protopopov, and the pair subsequently returned their silver medals voluntarily, after it had become known that they had previously signed a professional contract. At the time this was a serious offence with strict amateur regulations in force at the time. Perhaps this contribution will help to bring a little order to the statistical confusion.
One of the most discussed subjects before Sochi was the Russian “propaganda law”, regarded by many homo- sexuals as discriminatory, even if it had no tangible impact on the Winter Games. Matthew Baniak and Ian Jobling have considered the growing acceptance of homosexual athletes and back this up with statistical material.
Robin Voigt, the granddaughter of the Olympic 5 mile champion from London 1908, has delved for the second time into the family archive and produced another fasci- nating insight in an article well worth reading. It depicts Emil Voigt not only as an outstanding athlete but also as an Australian radio pioneer.
Our General Secretary also proved he had a good nose for a story. He used his trip to Australia to take a closer look at the winner’s prize awarded to the Dutch rowing pair at the 1900 Games in Paris. There can be few people who are aware that a century before, in the same city, sports competitions with the title “Olympiades de la République” took place. With his article, Hugh Farey helps us to fill this lacuna.
Many interesting themes then, so that all that remains for me is to wish you an enjoyable read.
– Volker Kluge, Editor