Archive for Vol. 2, 2011

Paavo Nurmi’s Posthumous Doping Case: An Essay on Drugs, Money, and the Vagaries of Sports Journalism

by Erkki Vettenniemi

Vol. 2 2011, pages 119–136
Published December 14, 2011


In the early 1930s, the Finnish long-distance runner Paavo Nurmi endorsed a medical substance that allegedly enhanced athletic performance. Sixty years later, one such endorsement was discovered and, in a rather sensationalist manner, interpreted by a Swedish newspaper as an infringement of anti-doping rules. The scoop triggered a brief war of words between Finland and Sweden. My article explores the two incidents that, taken together, testify to the alarmingly anachronistic nature of today’s dominant doping discourses. What was once an innocuous drug experiment or an advertisement of a non-controversial pharmaceutical can suddenly be construed as a form of cheating. In a further ironic twist, Nurmi’s purported drug of choice appears to have worked only as a placebo, and according to a contemporary source, it had been enough for the Finn to get paid for the endorsement without so much as touching the concoction. Yet although the nine-time Olympic champion merely violated the outdated amateur rules, his reputation can probably never fully recover from the posthumous drug slur that has been uncritically disseminated for two decades.

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ERKKI VETTENNIEMI is a doctoral student in the Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä. He received his first doctorate in social sciences at the University of Tampere in 2001. Having switched his main attention from Soviet studies to sport history, he has published three monographs (in Finnish) and edited a volume of Paavo Nurmi’s collected works. His areas of interest include sport, cultural history and issues of performance enhancing drugs. He will defend his doctoral thesis entitled “Tinkering with Drugs: Essays on Drugs in Sport and the Nature of Sports” in 2014.

The World Gymnaestrada – a Non-Competitive Event: The Concept ‘Gymnastics for All’ from the Perspective of Ling Gymnastics

by Jane Meckbach & Pia Lundquist Wanneberg

Vol. 2 2011, pages 99–118
Published August 31, 2011


meckbach_lundquist-wannebergDuring the twentieth century, large, non-competitive Gymnastics festivals were held in Europe. An early festival of this kind was the 1939 Lingiad, which was held in Stockholm and based on the principles of Ling gymnastics. A later variation that is still going today is the World Gymnaestrada, which is based on the principle of ‘Gymnastics for All’. The aim of this study is to highlight the concept Gymnastics for All and, above all, to examine whether it contains any elements of Ling gymnastics. Three pairs of opposing concepts, general–elite, collectivism–individualism, and modesty–ambition, have been used for this task. The study is based on twenty group interviews and eighty-seven observations. The results show that one similarity between the two forms of gymnastics is their non-competitiveness, and another is the view of collectivism and general, namely that gymnastics should be performed together and the idea behind both gives everyone an opportunity to participate. The major difference between the two can be linked to the increased individualization of society during this period. This is shown, for instance, by the fact that many of the participants, young people under the age of twenty-five, despite their participation in the Gymnaestrada hold individual competitions in higher esteem than group display.

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JANE MECKBACH är lektor i idrott vid Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH, där hon också sedan 2003 innehaft ordförandeuppdrag (dekan) i Lärarutbildningsnämnden, det som idag är Grundutbildningsnämnden. Hon disputerade 2003 i pedagogik vid Stockholms universitet, med avhandlingen Ett ämne i rörelse: gymnastik för kvinnor och män i lärarutbildningen vid Gymnastiska centralinstitutet/Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan under åren 1944 till 1992 (med Suzanne Lundvall). Innan anställningen vid GIH 1991 var hon verksam som gymnasielärare i idrott under 20 år. Forskningsmässigt har hennes fokus legat på idrott, utbildning och lärande, skolämnet idrott och hälsa, samt genus.

PIA LUNDQUIST WANNEBERG är lektor i idrott vid Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan i Stockholm där hon också sedan 2008 är prefekt. Hon disputerade vid Historiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, 2004 på en idrottshistorisk avhandling om kropp, klass och genus i skolans fysiska fostran 1919-1962. Innan påbörjad forskarutbildning 1999 arbetade hon som gymnasielärare i historia och svenska. Forskningsmässigt ligger fokus på idrott, utbildning, kropp och genus.

”Den som er godt forberedt har ikke uflaks”: Norsk OL-deltakelse i Vancouver: risiko, forberedelse og resultater

by Svein A. Andersen & Dag Vidar Hanstad

Vol. 2 2011, pages 75–98
Published May 11, 2011


”If you are well prepared, you will not experience bad luck”: Norway in the Vancouver Olympics: risks, preparations and results
In Norway, the central elite sport organization, Olympiatoppen, has the overall responsibility for coordinating and supporting all elite sport efforts. Part of this is the responsibility for the Norwegian participation in the Olympic Games. This study focuses on the 2010 Vancouver project, and how it was carried out in the light of the negative experiences from the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. The article aims to answer three questions. The first question concerns the kind of risks that can affect participants’ ability to perform. Such issues have received limited attention in the literature on major sporting events. The second question concerns what can be done to eliminate or manage such risks. In major sports competitions there are limited possibilities to manage operational risks through delays or transfer to others. Building capacity to manage challenges during the event becomes vital, and developing the relationships and shared identity within the project team is considered the key to success. Such findings are consistent with general project management research. Often, too little is done to secure the social basis for responsible cooperation. The third question concerns the outcome of the project. In contrast to the Turin Winter Olympics, the project was successful in realizing its ambitions, but the capacities created were not put to a critical test.

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SVEIN S. ANDERSEN är professor i organisationsstudier vid Handelshøyskolen BI, Oslo, och adjungerad professor vid Forskningssenter for trening og prestasjon, Norges idrettshøgskole. Han har varit chef för EU-forskningsprogrammet ARENA vid universitetet i Oslo, och han leder Institutt for ledelse og organisasjon och är dekanus för forskarutbildningen vid Handelshøyskolen BI. Andersen har sin doktorsexamen från Stanford University och har publicerat ett antal böcker och artiklar. Förra året forskade han om ledning och organisation av nordisk elitidrott.

DAG VIDAR HANSTAD är førsteamanuensis vid Norges idrettshøgskole (NIH). Sommaren 2009 disputerade han på antidopningspolitik, och blev snart därefter ansvarig för sport management-programmet på NIH. Sedan november 2010 leder han Seksjon for kultur og samfunn på NIH.  Innan Hanstad blev akademiker var han sportredaktör och -kommentator i flera tidningar. Han er ursprungligen handbollsspelare och -tränare, med 138 landskamper för Norge och tränarerfarenhet på elitnivå. Hanstad var tidigare i år redaktör for boken Norsk idrett – indre spenning og ytre press.

Sport, Ethno-Politics and Sámi Identity in Northern Norway: The Organizing of the Sámi Sports Movement

by Helge Chr. Pedersen

Vol. 2 2011, pages 45–73
Published April 20, 2011


Although Sámi sport has not attracted a huge sports following, SVL’s activities have been of importance for the individual athlete’s understanding of his/her own (Sámi) identity, and for the collective understanding of what Sámi sports identity entails. In about 2000, Sámi sport also became an important arena for asserting that Sápmi belonged to the international society of indigenous peoples. Through the Viva World Cup and through participation in the Arctic Winter Games (AWG), self-understanding of the Sámi as an indigenous people was strengthened. These international competitions stressed fellowship with other minorities and indigenous peoples, at the same time as marking the contrast with ‘Norwegian’ sport. Thus I would maintain that the traditional view of sport as cementing pre-existing differences between competitors does not apply to the international environments in which the Sámi sports movement participate. On the contrary, these competitions helped to create an understanding of fellowship and a sense of belonging among the competitors. The Viva World Cup and AWG were experienced as events in which competition was characterized by cultural and historical fellowship. This in turn emphasized the contrast with ‘Norwegian’ sport and helped to strengthen the understanding of the Norwegians as “the others”.

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HELGE CHR. PEDERSEN är högskolelektor vid Høgskolen i Finnmark. Han fick sin utbildning där och vid Universitetet i Tromsö. Pedersen undervisar sedan år 2000 i samhällskunskap, historia och kultur, framför allt inom lärarutbildningen. Dessförinnan arbetade han som lärare i historia, samhällskunskap och idrott i gymnasieskolan. Forskningsintresset är särskilt inriktat på idrottens kulturella betydelse, dess betydelse för identitetsskapande och i mötet mellan minoriteter/ursprungsbefolkningar och samhället i stort. Han arbetar på en doktorsexamen i historia som handlar om sport, identitet och etnicitet i Finnmark under de senaste 100 åren. Pedersen har skrivit flera artiklar om vikten av idrott för olika typer av identitetsskapande i nordnorska sammanhang. Det är särskilt vikten av sport för olika lokala, regionala och etniska identiteter som tematiseras. Han har även forskat om engelsk fotbollshuliganism.

Drop-out Rate and Drop-out Reasons Among Promising Norwegian Track and Field Athletes: A 25 Year Study

by Eystein Enoksen

Vol. 2 2011, pages 19–43
Published February 16, 2011


The aim of the present study was to identify the total drop-out rate and drop-out reasons for a group of promising track and field athletes. 202 males and 98 females, aged 16 ±2 years, took part in this study. Questionnaires were administrated in 1975, 1983, and 1989. In-depth interviews were conducted in 1989 and in 2000. A chi-square test was administrated to test the difference between males and females dropping out and to test the most significant reasons influencing the athletes’ decision to drop out of their competitive track and field activities. The drop-out rate was highest when the athletes were 17 years old. The results showed that females were clearly dropping out at a higher rate than males (p < 0.05). In contrast to the most common drop-out reasons mentioned in the research literature, this study showed that the frequency of injuries, stagnation in performance, educational demands, and a lack of motivation were highly notable reasons for why relatively many talented track and field athletes dropped out at an early age. The influence of social factors, participation in other sports, demanding work situations, military services, and marriage and family were also reasons for some athletes dropping out. Various dropout reasons were important over the life of the study, and differed at the different stages.

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EYSTEIN ENOKSEN är biträdande professor och chef för Felt.labgruppen vid Seksjon for fysisk prestasjonsevne, Norges Idrettshøgskole. Han utbildades vid universiteten i Stavanger och Bergen, och har sin doktorsexamen från Norges Idrettshøgskole. Han har omfattande erfarenhet som lärare inom högre utbildning, och som tränare och manager i den frivilliga idrottsrörelsen. Under en 10-årsperiod har han varit norsk förbundskapten i friidrottsgrenarna häck- och medeldistanslöpning och personlig tränare för flera idrottare på internationell nivå (bland annat Marius Bakken och Susanne Wigene). Inom forskningsområdet har han särskilt studerat vad som påverkar barn och ungdomar att satsa på sport, sluta med sin idrott, och varför vissa fortsätter att satsa på en karriär som tävlingsidrottare. Dr. Enoksen har publicerat flera artiklar om utbildning och prestanda och har skrivit många böcker om motion och idrott för både fritids- och tävlingsidrottare. De senaste böckerna är två antologier, Styrketrening i individuelle idretter og lagballspill (Gyldendal Forlag, 2007) og Utholdenhetstrening i mange idretter (Gyldendal Forlag, 2004).

How China Plays the Game: A Cultural Perspective on Sports in China

by Chunlei Lu

Vol. 2 2011, pages 1–17
Published January 26, 2011


This article examines the history of Chinese sports in relation to sport development and cultural renaissance against the backdrop of the 2008 Beijing Olympiad. The differences between Chinese and Western sports are analyzed from a cross-cultural perspective. An argument is made that the westernization of traditional Chinese sports has had profound implications upon East-West cultural conflict and negotiation. Post-Olympic and future sports landscapes in China are also discussed. It is concluded that both Chinese and Western sports have their place in human culture: Chinese and Ancient Greek legacies represent the two oldest East-West civilizations, and the passing of the 2008 Olympic torch from Greece’s Olympia to the city of Beijing precisely marks a shift from Western global dominance to a more balanced yin-yang model where both Western and non-Western cultures have international influence.

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CHUNLEI LU is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, Brock University. He is also the Co-Director of Confucius Institute at Brock University. He obtained a B.Ed (Shandong Normal University, China), M.Ed (Zhejiang University, China), M.Sc (State University of New York at Brockport, USA), and Ph.D (University of Alberta, Canada). He has teaching experiences in seven universities in the three countries. Based on these cross-cultural experiences, his research interests have concentrated on the overlapped areas of culture, education, and health. He has published one book, six book chapters, and 45 refereed articles.