The Diplomatic Turn: The New Relationship between Sport and Politics




Journal Title

Journal ISSN



Volume Title


Taylor and Francis



Peer reviewed



With an increasing amount of diplomatic archival material being declassified, scholars are now finding not only more instances of governments, and especially diplomats, involved in sport matters, but also different ways in which sport and politics have been intertwined historically. The past two decades have thus seen what can be called a diplomatic turn in sport history. This type of research has led to the development of a new strand of sport and politics research encompassing the diplomatic use of sport, through sport diplomacy and sport-as-diplomacy. Through mutual coordination, sporting representatives and government diplomats shared valuable information with each other so that sport could serve diplomatic ends, and for diplomats to support sporting endeavours. While the relationships between government members and sport organizations have traditionally been considered in terms of national sport politics, their reach goes far beyond a domestic audience, as demonstrated by several examples during the Cold War, often involving Germany. Bringing together files from sport organizations and their representatives with foreign ministry and government records provides new insight into not only international sport and diplomacy during the decades of the Cold War but also how their practitioners engaged with and influenced one another.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


diplomacy, International Olympic Committee, Germany, Cold War, politics


Heather L. Dichter (2021)The Diplomatic Turn: The New Relationship Between Sport and Politics. International Journal of the History of Sport,


Research Institute

Institute of History