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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Australia, Greece and the Olympics: The Olympic Rings and Nationalism in the Antipodes

Peter Kell.

The paper also explores the special relationship between Greece and Australia and the role that the Olympics has had in Australia’s national journey. Australia has participated in every Olympic Games and has hosted the previous Games at Sydney in 2000. It is also one of the few nations to have hosted the Games twice with the other occasion being Melbourne in 1956.

Part of Australia’s development as a nation is influenced by its participation in the Olympic Games with the Olympic games being responsible for key shifts in the way Australia has imagined itself. This paper explores aspects of the way in which sports has shaped Australia’s identity and the role of the Olympics in fostering Australian nationalism. This paper documents some of the aspects of Australia’s sporting successes at the Olympic games and makes particular reference to the contribution of Greek-Australian sports men and women who have achieved at the highest level for Australian in international competition. This paper makes some observations on the future of the Olympic games in the context of a globalised sport dominated by corporate and media interests and the place of the Olympic movement.


Peter Kell  (Australia)
Associate Dean Research
Faculty of Education Language and Community Services
RMIT University

Associate Professor Peter Kell is Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Education. Language and Community Service and Head of Dept of Industry, Professional and Adult Education at RMIT University

  • Olympics
  • Nationalism

(30 min Conference Paper, English)