Uncommonwealth games: the reconstruction of national identities in the shadows of the eu and american giant

Por: Ivan Emese e Kevin Wamsley.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The fall of empire, signaled broadly by shifting economic and political alliances, during the Cold War period, had significant impacts on national cultures in Britain and Canada and on identity construction. Although viewed from their outset as a lesser international sport competition, the British Empire Games, eventually known as the Commonwealth Games, once celebrated the reaches of empire, the power and glory of England and its colonies.


This paper examines the shifting national identity initiatives within the Commonwealth sport policies of Britain and Canada, their histories, and the comparative emphases of new directions. Historical institutionalism was utilized for analyzing the changes and new directions.


Faced with a rapid decline of international influence, and smaller roles in political and military maneuvering, the Empire all but dissolved. A significant cultural residual of the splendor of English sports and games, the renamed Commonwealth Games underwent significant shifts in organizational structure, and member nations such as England and Canada responded with unique changes in sport policy to accommodate, even facilitate these transformations. Policy changes for Britain reflected relations within the new European Union, and for Canada its resolutions towards elite level sport.


Interestingly, changes initiated by Canada met the new social policy initiatives for the European Union.

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[2]. McMurtry R. (1990): Commonwealth Heads of Government Working Party on Strengthening Commonwealth Sport: Preliminary Report
[3]. UK Sport (2002) United Kingdom’s Sporting Preferences
[4]. Whitson & Macintosh(1989) Rational Planning vs Regional Interests: The Professionalisation of Canadian Amateur Sport




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