‘They used Americana, all painted and polished, to make the enormous impression they did’
Selling the Reagan revolution through the 1984 Olympic Games
in Sport and diplomacy
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The chapter aims at investigating the role of the Reagan administration in organising the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Contrary to previous understandings, which tend to dismiss federal government involvement in the organisation of the Games, it highlights the political and diplomatic actions undertaken by the Reagan administration to organise a perfect performance of the Olympics and to sell the world reaganism through the Los Angeles Games. With the creation of an Olympic task force within the White House, the Los Angeles Games were perceived as a showcase for Ronald Reagan's America. The task force immediately concluded that the federal government would act behind the scenes, providing all the necessary security measures for the LAOOC and the Games, coordinating diplomatic actions and looking over consular practices. Tasks increased when the Soviets announced their boycott: the White House defined a clear damage-limiting strategy. In its conclusions, the chapter discusses a sort of paradox: the Reagan administration was increasingly involved in the promotion of what it presented as a government-free edition of the Olympics.

Sport and diplomacy

Games within games

Editor: J. Simon Rofe

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