University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Our Distinguished Son: The New Zealand Olympic Committee and the Reappropriation of Jack Lovelock

Kohe, Geoff (2013) Our Distinguished Son: The New Zealand Olympic Committee and the Reappropriation of Jack Lovelock. Journal of Olympic History, 21 (1). pp. 28-38. ISSN 1085-5165

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During the 1920s, New Zealand, in common with other nations, experienced a period of fluctuating economic conditions, a changing political landscape, and, a resurgence of a (masculine) sports culture. Stronger trans-Tasman relations and a renewed sense of imperial allegiance, for instance, prompted nationalistic and patriotic resurgence. In addition, regional parochialism challenged the partisanship of central government, growing discontent among working class labourers over wage and working conditions rocked trade industries, concerns over indigenous health and welfare thwarted racial harmony; and global conflict threatened national security and colonial ties. These tumultuous forces precipitated a reappraisal of New Zealand’s economic position, national direction, identity, and culture, which, in turn, also influenced the country’s sports organisations. Indeed, sport was an active constituent in many of the social and cultural tensions and conflicts in New Zealand life. Social and cultural forces also influenced the amateur New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) and its involvement in the Olympic Movement. During this time NZOC sent the country’s first ‘national’ team to an Olympic Games and athletes celebrated the first exclusively ‘New Zealand’ Olympic victories. In what follows I examine how NZOC capitalised on the expertise and popularity of Jack Lovelock - one of the country’s top scholars and emerging middle-distance running star of the 1930s – to help develop the organisation and prepare it for future adversities. By re-appropriating Lovelock for their own purposes, I contend, NZOC fortified their own public persona (by basking in reflected glory), and, showed their professional responsibility by demonstrating an attentiveness to athlete concerns; both of which became enduring issues for the organisation.

Item Type: Article
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The full-text can be accessed via the Offical URL.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Jack Lovelock, New Zealand Olympic Committee, NZOC, Olympic Movement
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DU Oceania (South Seas)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Geoff Kohe
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2013 15:35
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:01

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