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Digital Archive International History Declassified

Podcast

Episode 31 - "Californication" of the Olympics

Mark S. Dyreson

California became the center of American commercialization of the Olympics beginning with the 1932 Summer Games in Los Angele

TABLE OF CONTENTS

United States involvement in the Olympic movement has always been closely tied into the goal of “selling America abroad” – both figuratively promoting American influence and literally advertising American businesses. Unsurprisingly, the Olympic Games were quickly recognized as an opportunity to sell America to a huge international audience. Mark S. Dyreson (Pennsylvania State University) argues that California became the center of this American commercialization of the Olympics beginning with the 1932 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Image: Johnny Weissmuller, the foreign-born American swimmer and Olympic Gold-medalist became world-famous playing Tarzan in Hollywood films.

Mark S. Dyreson is the author of Crafting Patriotism for Global Dominance: America at the Olympics and Making the American Team: Sport, Culture, and the Olympic Experience.