Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Robert Knight Barney


To become firmly established, the Pan-American Games depended on the efforts of particular individuals. With Avery Brundage's attention to the Pan-American Games as the center of this analysis, this study documented the main events leading up to the inauguration of the Pan-American Games as well as their development and significance to Latin American countries in the mid-twentieth century. The research material was mainly drawn from primary sources, most importantly, those found in the Avery Brundage Collection at Western University. The study demonstrated that Brundage saw in the Pan-American Games not only a challenge, but an opportunity to promote the Modern Olympic Movement’s rules and ideals throughout Latin America. A crucial finding from this investigation is how Brundage articulated the foundation of the Pan-American Games by clouding his actions and attitudes from imperialist connotations. He skillfully managed to build a trustful and solid networking with Latin American sport leaders, agreeing with the idea of creating a new and autonomous institution, the Pan-American Sports Organization (PASO). However, gradually, Brundage put forward the interests of the IOC, or to be more accurate, his view of sports, the Olympic Movement, and its purposes. In sum, two arguments related to the purpose and function of the Pan-American Games in its formative years stood out from data analysis: the diplomatic role of the Games towards enhancing Inter-American relationships; and the idealistic view later implicated in the event aimed at fostering the ‘high ideals’ of the Modern Olympic Movement.

Included in

Kinesiology Commons