When the Chicago Cubs finally ended the “Curse of the Billy Goat,” they demonstrated just how historic “America’s Pastime” truly is. When Michael Phelps won his 28th Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro, he furthered his case for being known as the greatest Olympian history has ever known. Host John Fea and producer Drew Dyrli Hermeling once again tackle the history of sports, and are joined by Emmy award-winning sports historian, Amy Bass (@bassab1).
In 2004, Mary Carillo hosted the NBC Olympic late night show in Athens.
Amy Bass knows the Olympic Games. For as long as I have known her she has supervised the research room for NBC’s Olympic coverage. In fact, in 2012 she won an Emmy award for her work. And did I mention she has published extensively on the cultural history of sports and teaches history and directs the honors program at the College of New Rochelle? (Some of you may remember her from part 24 of our “So What Can You Do With a History Major? series).
Amy is not in Sochi for the Olympics this year (or at least she does not seem to be–I could be wrong), but she has shared her thoughts on the 2014 games at Slate. Here is a taste:
Here is the announcement:
Renovation to the facade of the Lake Placid Olympic Center’s 1932 rink is underway. The contractors, J.T. Erectors, are restoring the structure to its original appearance in the 1930’s. Some of the work includes the installation of windows that have been enclosed by brink since prior to the 1980 Olympic Winter Games.
The revitalization project is being financed through the remaining funds from a grant through Empire State Development, which funded the construction of the newly completed Conference Center at Lake Placid. Building a conversion of this size is no simply matter, only the best get to work on prestigious works such as this.
When complete the 1932 facility, along with its conventional use for skating and hockey and akin to the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena, will join the conference center to provide nearly 100,000 square feet of convention space. The fresh look will complement the conference center, which opened for business May 2011.
I don’t know all the politics behind this renovation, but I was attracted to the story largely because one of the first things I ever published was the article on the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics in the Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement. (I also wrote the 1980 Lake Placid article, but they replaced it in the second edition by a piece written by someone who knew a whole lot more about Lake Placid than I did).
Of course he would.
But this Slate interactive feature is still pretty cool.
I am sure Amy Bass knew this, but I did not. During the opening ceremonies, the United States is the only country whose Olympic team does not dip its flag when passing the box containing the leaders of the host nation. The tradition–a clear manifestation of American exceptionalism–goes back to 1908.
David Wharton explains it all at the LA Times. Here is a taste:
Most Olympic teams briefly lower their colors as a sign of respect when they march past the box where the host nation’s leaders are seated. The U.S. does not.
When the Americans pick a flag bearer for the 2012 London Olympics this week, he or she almost certainly will be advised to uphold a tradition that dates back more than a century.
According to popular legend, shotputter Ralph Rose set the tone at the 1908 Summer Games — also held in London — when he supposedly proclaimed: “This flag dips for no earthly king.”
To the rest of the world, it seemed like blatant nationalism. The truth of the matter, and the history of America’s refusal to dip, is far more complicated than that.
I wonder if this non-dipping practice will have any deeper resonance this year. After all, the Olympics are in England! You know–1776 and all that.