Sport diplomacy during the apartheid era in South Africa with the Olympic Movement in the centre of web: Three sport political approaches of the IOC Presidents Brundage, Lord Killanin and Samaranch towards the apartheid politics in South Africa


  • Tim Sperber German Sport University Cologne


Olympism, Apartheid, South Africa, Sport Politics, Sport Diplomacy, IOC Presidents


This research was conducted as part of a master’s degree thesis at the German Sport University in Cologne aiming to uncover sport diplomacy during the era of apartheid in South Africa with the Olympic Movement in the centre of web. A historical research was carried out to analyse various relations and their influence on the decision makers of the Olympic Movement from the early 1960s until the reintegration to the Olympic Summer Games 1992 in Barcelona. Focusing on the three International Olympic Committee (IOC) Presidents Brundage, Lord Killanin and Samaranch, one can clearly examine different approaches towards sport politics. While Brundage was rather successful in separating sport and politics, Lord Killanin did not have choice to cope with the emerging influence of international actors. Samaranch clearly used the political framework of the United Nations (UN) for his means and implemented the IOC Commission Apartheid and Olympism, which was the first step of a sporting reintegration of South Africa.