• The ‘caged torch procession’: celebrities, protesters and the 2008 Olympic torch relay in London, Paris and San Francisco

      Horne, John; Whannel, Garry (Taylor and Francis, 2010-06-29)
      Along with the opening and closing ceremonies, one of the major non-sports events associated with the modern Olympic Games is the torch relay. Although initiated in 1936, the relay has been subject to relatively little academic scrutiny. The events of April 2008 however will have cast a long shadow on the practice. This essay focuses primarily on one week (6–13 April) in the press coverage of the 2008 torch relay as the flame made its way from London to Paris in Europe and then to San Francisco in the USA. It discusses the interpretations offered in the mediated coverage about the relay, the Olympic Movement, the host city and the locations where the relay was taking place, and critically analyses the role of agencies, both for and against the Olympics, that framed the ensuing debate.
    • Winning and losing respect: narratives of identity in sport films

      Whannel, Garry (Taylor and Francis, 2008)
      This essay examines sport films in terms of respect, identity and individualism. It suggests that a common narrative structure in films featuring sport based stories involves the winning, or sometimes losing, of respect. Success in narrative terms is not so much associated with sporting victory as in winning the respect of others. Through these narrative structures, issues of identity are explored. In particular, the narratives trace the ways in which characters respond to challenges by changing. In this sense these films are rooted in an ideology of competitive individualism which is a distinct product of capitalism as it developed in the United States of America. So while women, Jews, Afro-Americans and British Asian girls all find fulfilment through the narrative journey of these films, it tends to be within the terms of the competitive individualist ideology. Only where the concept of respect and its association with sport performance is challenged or questioned do sport films tend to raise more profound questions about the individual in society.