On 6 July 2005, the International Olympic Committee awarded the
2012 summer Olympic Games to the city of London, opening a new
chapter in Great Britain 's rich Olympic history. Despite the
prospect of hosting the summer Games for the third time since
Pierre de Coubertin 's 1894 revival of the Olympic movement, the
historical roots of British Olympism have received limited
scholarly attention. With the conclusion of the 2008 Beijing
Olympics and the passing of the baton to London, Rule Britannia
remedies that oversight.
This book uncovers Britain 's early Olympic involvement,
revealing how the British public, media, and leading governmental
officials were strongly opposed to international Olympic
competition. It explores how the British Olympic Association
focused on three main factors in the midst of widespread national
opposition: it embraced early Olympian spectacles as a platform for
maintaining a sporting union with Ireland, it fostered a greater
sense of imperial identity with Britain 's white dominions, and it
undertook an ambitious policy of athletic specialization designed
to reverse the nation 's waning fortunes in international
This book was previously published as a special issue of
International Journal of the History of Sport.
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