The following theses on Olympic-related topics have been completed at UTS. Copies of PhD and Masters theses may be consulted in the university library (Kuring-gai Campus) in the Closed Reserve collection (library Call Numbers are given below). Honours theses may be consulted, on requested, through the Management Discipline Group.
Peter Haxton: Community Participation in the Mega-Event Hosting Process: the Case of the Olympic Games, 1999, PhD thesis, UTS (APA scholarship). 796.48 HAXT Abstract.
Merrilee Barnes: Oympism and the Australian Olympic Committee, 1998, MA in Sports Studies thesis, UTS. 796.480994 BARN Abstract
Peter C. Wejbora: The Sydney 2000 Olympics Bid and its Impact on the Process of Redefining Australian National Identity, 1996, MA in Arts Management thesis, UTS. 305.800994 WEJB Abstract
Andrew Hopper: The Australian Sport Industry and China: Leveraging off the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, 2002, BA Honours thesis, UTS. Abstract
Cassandra Loder: Politics and the Olympic Games: Beyond Athletic Endeavours., 1997, BA Honours thesis, UTS. Abstract
Millicent Kennelly: 'Business As Usual’: How Elite Australian Athletes Frame Terrorism Post 9/11, 2005, BA Honours thesis. Abstract
Peter Haxton: Community Participation in the Mega-Event Hosting Process: the Case of the Olympic Games, 1999, PhD thesis, UTS
Whilst not exclusively a tourism phenomenon, mega-events such as World Fairs/Expositions, Olympic Games and World Cup Soccer finals, have come to be recognised as major factors in many tourism development, urban revitalisation and urban imaging strategies. Consequently, these events have the ability to significantly impact upon the economic, political and social (both socio-cultural and psychological) fabric of the cities and regions that host them. Furthermore, in recent decades there has been a noticeable increase in the desire for a simultaneous growth in participatory democracy and expertise in decision-making in many Western societies. These factors have contributed to the emergence of community involvement, and its optimal role in the planning and hosting of such events, as one of the more contentious issues debated in contemporary tourism literature. It should be noted in particular that much of the publicised rationale for hosting mega-events is based upon their potential benefits to the host community.
In order to contribute to the body of knowledge on mega-event planning and management, the present study was initiated to investigate the perceived roles of community involvement in the mega-event hosting process. More specifically, by examining the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as case studies, the study sought to identify discrepancies between the perceived roles and levels of host community involvement at different stages in the hosting process, from the point of view of the host public, community/welfare groups and organisers in both locations, and whether the level of perceived involvement influenced support for hosting the Games.
The methodology consisted of an initial review of literature examining event and planning theory and Olympic Games: background and theory. An Event Typology and a definition for mega-events were developed. In addition, six basic stages in the event hosting process (inception, pre-bid, bid, pre-event, event and post-event) were identified and incorporated into a Generic Model of the Mega-Event Hosting Process.
Questionnaire surveys were utilised as the major method of data collection for the empirical study. Findings indicated that the public in both host regions perceived levels of actual involvement to be lower than the ideal levels in both the pre-bid and post-bid periods. However, the differences between the actual and ideal levels of involvement were considered to be greater by Sydney residents. Unfortunately, poor response rates from community/Welfare groups and organisers in the Atlanta region meant that it was not possible to determine whether there were any discrepancies between the perceived roles and levels of host community involvement at different stages in the hosting process. However, results indicated that the Sydney bid/organising committee respondents perceived actual levels of involvement to be higher and ideal levels to be lower than the public of Sydney. In both host public surveys, relationships were detected between residents' perceived levels of community involvement and levels of support for hosting the Olympic Games. In essence, residents who perceived actual community involvement to be non-existent in either the pre-bid or post-bid period (except for the Atlanta pre-bid period) showed significantly lower levels of support for the Games, during those same periods and at the time of the Games/ survey, than other residents.
Perhaps the most significant finding, however, relates to the fact that, whilst members of the Atlanta and Sydney host public believed in the concept and benefits of community involvement in the planning process, the knowledge or reassurance that there were opportunities to become involved, via participation of various forms, was of greater importance than actually doing so. This finding strongly supports the rational choice theory, which proposes that individuals have a tendency to resist participating in collective decision-making. This tendency has been described as the free rider problem. It is believed that people, in general, are reluctant to participate in a process to deliver a collective good if they are reasonably assured that others will participate and be successful in obtaining the desired result. Application of the Generic Model of the Mega-Event Hosting Process allows a more accurate identification of how, and at what stages in the process, stakeholders' perceptions concerning various aspects (eg. community involvement) of hosting a mega-event, can change.
Further research aimed at determining the extent and implications of the free rider problem and the effectiveness of different levels of involvement and forms of participation at the various stages in the hosting process would be beneficial to event organisers and other stakeholders.
Merrilee Barnes: Observance or Repudiation? Australia's Role in the Modern Olympic Movement as it Relates to the Olympic Charter, 1997, MA in Sports Studies thesis, UTS
The general purpose of this thesis is to critically analyse Australia's role in the modern Olympic Movement since 1896, particularly as it relates to the Olympic Charter. Australia's Olympic experiences have often been mythologised, and studies to date have overlooked the important relationship between Australia's participation at the Olympics and its observance of the rules of the Olympic Charter. This research seeks to redress this imbalance by identifying controversial incidents which have involved Australia throughout the history of the modern Olympic Movement, and analysing whether these incidents have been contrary to the rules of the Olympic Charter or the spirit of Olympism, which the charter seeks to codify. A thorough qualitative analysis of data relating to the research topic was undertaken to perform this investigation.
This thesis found that at times the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), certain Australian Sporting Federations and individual Australian athletes have all acted, or threatened to act, in a manner contrary to Rules 3.2, 9.11, 20.13, 31.5 and 45.32 of the Olympic Charter. In short, these three groups have, to differing extents, practiced racial, political and sexual discrimination as well as the display of overt sport nationalism.
In Australia, the practice of discrimination and nationalism has been undergirded by the AOC's acquiescence to pressure from successive Australian Governments, and the media. In some instances, AOC acquiescence occurred after anti discrimination and anti nationalism rules became explicit. Yet even before that time the AOC was complicit in patterns of discrimination and nationalism that were clearly inconsistent with Olympism's spirit of equitable sport development.
This thesis also found that in regard to its practices in reference to nationalism and discrimination and its policies on drugs in sport, the AOC has chosen to reflect rather than lead popular sentiment. Consequently, the AOC has taken an aggressive role in combating drugs in sport, even when its policies disadvantage Australian athletes. This leadership stands in stark contrast to the AOC's failures to challenge public sentiment on issues of discrimination or nationalism even when its responsibilities as custodian of the Olympic Movement in Australia would require that it to do so.
With the increasing focus of world attention on Australia in the lead up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, breaches of the Olympic Charter need to be addressed if this nation is to set a leading example in taking the Olympic world into the twenty first century. Future actions contrary to the Olympic Charter as it presently stands, in the period before the Sydney Olympics, may affect the credibility which Australia requires to do this.
Peter C. Wejbora: The Sydney 2000 Olympics Bid and its Impact on the Process of Redefining Australian National Identity, 1996, MA in Arts Management, UTS.
When in 1993 Sydney was awarded the rights to host the Olympic Games in the year 2000, the Olympic bid was hailed by the media and governments alike as a milestone in the development of Australia as a nation. Throughout the Olympic bid period, the question of civic pride and identity (as a culturally diverse nation) seemed to transcend with ease the traditional boundaries/inhibitions of social and political divisions in Australian society. Although initially conceived by the New South Wales state government as a local venture Sydney's bid soon developed into a project of national importance, boasting the active involvement of wide cross-sections of Australian society, including both major political parties, unions, industry and commerce, and ethnic and indigenous community groups. In a time of uncertainty and change, the successful Olympic bid appeared to offer a reaffirmation of Australia's achievements as a nation and was highlighting the potential of the Sydney Olympics as an agent for 'national reconciliation and reconstruction'.
This thesis sets out to examine the phenomenon of the Sydney Olympic bid within the current debate on national identity in Australia. How, if at all, did the Olympic bid impact on the nation building process in Australia? There are no exact terms of measurement for the status of a nation's identity, hence it is not aimed to quantify statistically a possible impact of the bid. The main objectives of the research were twofold. First to identify and critically analyse the theoretical/ philosophical and historical processes that delineate the phenomenon of the Olympic Bid. Second to establish a framework of relationships that connect those processes. How do they interact?
It is argued that the concept of national identity as a sense of collectivity is centred upon an act of imagination within the spheres of subjectivity. Although being an abstract concept that is often likened to quasi-religious observance, the nation is set in and subjected to the power relations of the socio-political framework within a bounded territory. The imagined community of nation does not occur naturally, it requires an active process of communication that relies on symbolic representations, such as flags and anthems, a history of heroic acts, and collective experiences. It is within the context of symbolic representations and imagination that the Olympic bid operated and ultimately, however temporarily, impacted on Australian nationhood. Undoubtedly, the Olympic bid has given a grand promise of a collective identity that is based on an all-inclusive membership. However, it is argued that the bid operated predominantly through projections of an idealised future that imposed versions of Australianness, namely multiculturalism and reconciliation with the indigenous people, which by no means can be considered as fully developed or resolved within the current process of redefining Australian identity.
Andrew Hopper The Australian Sport Industry and China: Leveraging off the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, 2002, BA Honours thesis.
The Australian sporting industry has a unique opportunity to export and promote its proven organisational expertise. This expertise has been brought to the attention of the global community as a result of the coordination and subsequent staging of 'the best Olympics ever'. Professional penetration into Beijing by Australian sporting businesses appears likely, which will further foster opportunities to demonstrate the industry's capabilities.
Through China's membership of the World Trade Organisation, globalisation and all it represents has arrived in China. This, in conjunction with Beijing being awarded hosting rights for the 2008 Olympic Games, has facilitated China's trade doors being thrown open to foreign firms. However, the Australian sporting industry knows it can not rely just on the success of Sydney 2000 to ensure Olympic related business opportunities come its way. On the contrary this thesis shows that a very coordinated and disciplined approach is required to capitalise on the opportunities now appearing in China.
This thesis endeavours to present strategies for the Australian sporting industry, to utilise as it attempts to leverage off the success of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and gain business opportunities in Beijing related to the 2008 Olympic Games. The research identified three interrelated strategies for Australian companies to use in order to maximise the opportunities presented by the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Firstly, government, both at a State and Federal levels, and their expertise and assistance, will be invaluable to organisations not large enough to allocate their own resources for the move into the Chinese market. As a result of utilising government mechanisms, better opportunities to initiate relationships with the appropriate people in China will arise. This is important because there is a need to develop relationships in the Chinese market. These relationships and their development are seen as a key component to conducting business in China. The final strategy, and a logical extension of the second, is to form joint ventures. Through the development of relationships, joint venture opportunities may arise. Joint venture will allow foreign companies a better understanding of Chinese laws and regulations and also gain empathy from the Chinese towards Australian firms trying to work Chinese Olympic related projects.
The Australian sporting industry is in an excellent position to leverage off Sydney 2000, but it will require thoughtful strategies, as Chinese culture conducts business differently to Australian business. With the implementation of a government supported approach and the development of relationships in China joint venture opportunities are more likely to occur. By utilising this approach the Australian sporting industry will place itself in the best possible position to leverage off the success of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
Cassandra Loder: Politics and the Olympic Games: Beyond Athletic Endeavours., 1997, BA Honours thesis.
'Sport provides an easily accessible platform for political exploitation' (Barry Houlihan). The great international importance and high media exposure accorded to the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement means that political involvement is inevitable and thus politics has been one of the major forces which has influenced the Games and Movement. This political involvement and its influence is clearly illustrated in the existing body of literature and is reiterated throughout this thesis. The political involvement inherent in the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement is reflected in quotes which suggest that the Olympic Games are 'permeated with politics' ; 'constitute not only an athletic event but a political event'; and are 'inextricably linked' with politics.
The purpose of this thesis was to investigate and analyse specific types of overt political involvement which have occurred during the Olympic Games and throughout the Olympic Movement; the effect these types of political involvement have had on the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement; and why there has been political involvement in the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement. To examine and answer these research questions, selected Olympic Games in which political incidents occurred were investigated and analysed as case studies. The specific types of political involvement examined and analysed throughout the thesis are: propaganda; apartheid; terrorism; and boycotts.
Some of reasons for political involvement in the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement include: the definition of the purpose of the Olympic Movement using political terms; the structure of the Games and Movement; the high level of media exposure accorded to the Games; the increasing dependency of National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and individual International Olympic Committee (IOC) members on support from their governments; the IOC's own internal workings and membership criteria; and the growth of the Summer Games.
It has been argued that politics and sport, especially the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement, cannot be separated. However, it may be possible to limit political involvement. In order to do this, the nature and structure of the Games and Movement will need to be changed, otherwise politics will remain involved. Recommendations for possible changes to the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement which may alter the current situation with regard to political involvement include: establishing a permanent site for the Games; spreading the Games' locations over several cities of a host nation; reducing the size of the Games; restricting events to competition among individuals; eliminating national anthems, national flags and national uniforms; and eliminating medal counts. Many of these recommendations are an attempt to eradicate nationalism, which highlights the role nationalism has played in forging the link between politics and the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement.
It is envisaged that this research will add to the existing body of literature on politics and the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement, especially in relation to Australia's involvement.
Millicent Kennelly, ‘Business As Usual’: How Elite Australian Athletes Frame Terrorism Post 9/11, 2005, BA Honours thesis.
The terrorist strike in the United States on September 11, 2001 (commonly referred to as 9/11), represents a turning point in international recognition of, and reactions to, terrorism. While this attack did not directly target a sporting event, the flow on effects of 9/11 are evident in the international sport industry. In particular, post 9/11, the finances and preparation required to secure major sporting events has increased.
In addition to the flow on effects of 9/11, sporting contexts, particularly high profile international events such as the Olympic Games, have historically been targets for groups and individuals attempting to make political statements. This is most obvious in the infamous 1972 Munich Olympic Games hostage taking crisis, in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed.
Not only have sporting events and athletes been targeted in the past, literature on current trends in terrorism suggests that many features of modem, globalized sport may increase its desirability as a target to some terrorists in the future.
This research sought to determine how elite Australian athletes frame terrorism post 9/11. In particular, it examined whether changes in the security environment post 9/11 have had any effect on athletes' participation in sport at the elite, international level. Using a combination of face to face and written interviews, as well as a document analysis, it was found that post 9/11 it has been 'business as usual' for many elite Australian athletes. However, several athletes indicated that post 9/11 they have held concerns about international travel, 'touristy places' and major competitions. Further, while some athletes indicated that they actively avoid information on the issue of terrorism, half the participants in this research indicated that they would like more information on the threat posed by terrorism and the safety precautions being used to protect them. While most participants accessed television and newspaper reports on terrorism, some questioned the accuracy of media accounts.
With this in mind, and using figurational sociology, a theoretical approach established by Norbert Elias, it was suggested that sport organisations have an important role to play in the provision of accurate and up to date information on possible terrorism risks to athletes, as well as the safety plans instituted to protect them. In providing this information, sport organisations can help athletes make informed decisions about their safety and at the same time shield themselves from possible legal ramifications if athletes or support staff are injured or killed in a future act of terrorism.
Stephen Frawley (ongoing) The SOCOG Sports Commission and the delivery of sport competition at the Sydney Olympic Games. PhD thesis, ongoing
Rob Harris (ongoing) The Environmental and Educational Legacy of the Sydney Olympic Games. Doctor of Education thesis, ongoing.
In addition to formal theses, a significant number of Masters Projects have been supervised in Olympic-related studies.