‘Chinese rings’
The United States, the two Chinas and the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics
in Sport and diplomacy
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This chapter examines the inter-relationship of sport and diplomacy with specific reference to the 1960 Winter Olympic Games (held in Squaw Valley, California). More specifically, it evaluates State Department involvement in the ongoing issue of the recognition of the ‘two Chinas’ during the Cold War, with specific reference to international sport. Despite long-standing official non-involvement in international sporting matters, hosting the 1960 Games focused US diplomatic attention on the opportunities and problems presented by the Olympics within the wider Cold War. Crucially, the State Department extended considerable behind-the-scenes efforts both before and during the Squaw Valley Games in an attempt to ensure Nationalist Chinese participation. Overall, this chapter demonstrates that, despite claims of non-involvement, the State Department specifically utilised international sport – and particularly the Olympics – as a tool of diplomacy during the Cold War. This was drawn into particularly sharp focus when the Games were being hosted on American soil, as they were in Squaw Valley in 1960.

Sport and diplomacy

Games within games

Editor: J. Simon Rofe


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