This paper draws on original rigorous research conducted in an extensive range of local, national and international state archives, sporting repositories and personal papers. In focus is the 1948 London Olympic Games, the Olympic movement and a ‘new’ phase in Irish–British relations involving international sport. Here, for the first time, we elucidate the role of non-state sportive diplomats who, acting as cultural intermediaries, were involved in the production of ideas about the normative rules governing international jurisdiction and identity that prevented nations/states from being recognized on their own terms. The intricate details revealed here are made possible by a rigorous two-way traffic between sensitizing concepts and evidence: specifically, the quest for exciting significance by non-state actors, soft power struggles and ‘patriot games’ via the medium of international Olympic and athletic movements. The paper also makes two other important contributions: to sport in/and international relations and the politics of Olympic protests.
- cultural intermediaries
- national identity