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The process whereby a cultural product or ideal, such as ‘Olympism’, has attributed to it meanings that are not contained within the core principles of the ideal. As Alan Tomlinson (Sport and Leisure Cultures, 2005) has argued: ‘allegedly universal values such as the “Olympic ideal” are reworked in different times and places, necessarily arrogated, as particular histories and cultures are brought to bear in the restating of the ideal’. In this process, too, ‘values are inevitably reshaped, while being claimed as preserved’. For example, although each Olympic host city claims to sustain and even enhance the core ideals of Olympism, it articulates in its own rhetoric and symbolism its own purportedly unique contribution to the Olympic project; and, simultaneously, the Olympic moment allows the telling of a particular metropolitan, regional, or national history. Somehow, the uniqueness never threatens the core values of the Olympic message: that is the art of the (necessary) process of arrogation, a process that makes the predictable sporting spectacle sufficiently distinctive to attract both those wishing to host it and the audiences upon which the future of such events ultimately depends.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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