Emerging typologies in Olympic development

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The inception of the modern Olympic Games in 1896 marked a milestone in the history of sport and physical culture. By the mid-20th century, historic records demonstrate that the Games had begun to exponentially increase in size and scope, as technological advancements facilitated true globalisation of the event. As the number of athletes, sports and disciplines increased, new events became increasingly incorporated into the programme, culminating in the establishment of the Winter Olympic Games (in 1924), the Paralympic Games (in 1976), and the Youth Olympic Games (in 2010). The increasing popularity, scale, and diversification of the Games has resulted in an increasing cost and impact in host cities, who provide the major capital infrastructure to host the events. The Games have the power to deliver long-lasting benefits which can considerably change a community, its image and its infrastructure. Whilst some of the buildings constructed for the Olympic Games have prospered and attracted frequent use by the local community for many years after the Games, others have suffered intermittent and sporadic use over decades, become abandoned, or fallen into disrepair, leading to a rise in debates around the sustainability of the Games. However, the Games continue to hold historical and social importance in contemporary society, and there is support toward minimising costs and maximising use of venues rather than to reducing their scale or scope. At the beginning of the 21st Century, amidst a shift in global policy to address broader environmental concerns, legacy became epicentral to the Games, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) adopted reforms to reimagine the delivery of the Games, marking a new era of the Olympic development in host cities. In the coming Olympic Games, proposals include revisiting previous host cities and venues (Tokyo 2020, Los Angeles 2028), and implementing temporary, rather than permanent, structures to host the events (Paris 2024). Using archival and current data, this paper examines how these models of Olympic development have been implemented in previous host cities, and their legacy outcomes. Its significance is its contribution to the understanding of sports history andas a tool for future Olympic development.
Period17 Jul 2019
Event titleInternational Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport (ISHPES) Congress 2019: Milestones in the Histories of Sport and Physical Culture
Event typeConference
LocationMadrid, SpainShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational