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1996-2016: Twenty years research about the history of Brazil in the International Olympic Movement
When we started our research about the history of Brazil in the International Olympic Movement back in 1996 the accessible material resp. primary sources had been extremely few. With the creation of the first research line as part of Olympic Studies at the post-graduation program at Gama Filho University under the coordination of Prof. Dr. Lamartine Da Costa and the candidature of Brazil to host the Olympic Games in 2000, the topic got more attention amongst academics.
Some initial hints and information led to the necessity for a wider thematic research project. Especially four topics needed to be further examined: the existence of a Brazilian Olympic Committee already in 1914, the Olympic Diploma for Santos Dumont, the Regional Games 1922 and the nomination of two teams for the Olympic Games 1936. Twenty years ago few publications existed about Brazilian participation in the Olympic Games 1920, 1924, 1932 and 1936 and some references to the Olympic Cup the Club Fluminense received 1949.
The research of primary sources had been complex and complicated and various visits to the Olympic archives in Lausanne were needed. In those times we could obtain only a small folder about Raul do Rio Branco for example with insignificant letters from Pierre de Coubertin. But surprisingly the folder related to the Argentinean Olympic Committee offered important sources about the Regional Games 1922 and letters related to 1936. Probably Rio de Janeiro had been considered the capital of Argentine, a common error in those times!
Research activities in archives of Brazilian institutions had been challenging and difficult too due to the fact that Olympic indexes did not exist. Each name, newspaper article, image and documents had to be captured through complex and time consuming unique processes. Many important documents were localised in private collections, private archives in Brazil and abroad (Germany, France and Greece), in “dead” archives of sport institutions and forgotten boxes in dusty cellars at the former Brazilian Football Federation CBF, where we discovered for the first time the minutes of the foundation of the Brazilian Olympic Committee in 1914.
Conversations and interviews with protagonists related to sports had been fundamental sources of information regarding the participation of Brazil in the Olympic Movement. Important support came from people working at the Ministries of Air Force and for Foreign Relations, at the CBF, the Brazilian Olympic Committee COB and the National Council of Sports.
The PhD thesis of Marcia De Franceschi Neto-Wacker entitled “The participation of Brazil in the International Olympic Movement from 1896 to 1925″, oriented by Prof. Dr. Lamartine Da Costa and presented in July 1999, had been a first important step of knowledge creation about the topic. The thesis had been written in Portuguese and therefore was not recognised by a broader academic public. Only after the publication of the paper “Rio de Janeiro goes Olympic” at the Journal of Olympic History JOH edited by the International Society of Olympic Historians ISOH in 2009 the results of the thesis were accessible to interested communities. The JOH has an international distribution to all members of the International Olympic Committee IOC, all International Sport Federations and 450 members of ISOH, who are Olympic and sport researchers, journalists and collectors of Olympic memorabilia. With the publication of this paper many information about Brazil very directed to interested lecturers, who for the first time heard stories and saw images and documents about the topic.
In 2010 after the election of Rio de Janeiro to host Olympic Games in 2016 the book “Brazil goes Olympic – historical fragments from Brazil and the Olympic Movement until 1936″ was issued with complementary research outcome. The book had been published in English and already went into a second edition in the same year. An edition in Portuguese was published and organised 2012 by Roberto Gesta, one of the worldwide most enthusiastic collectors of Olympic memorabilia. He added images of items related to the topic from his private collection and transformed the book into a source of major historical importance. Hereby the images added serve as additional confirmation of the outlined historical approach.
Between 2009 and 2014 researchers and journalists bringing up further discussion mirrored Brazilian sport because of the Football World cup 2014 and the Olympic Games 2016. A boom regarding publications about Brazil in the Games marked the period 2014 to 2016. In those times themes around former candidatures were reconsidered, Olympic heroes had been rediscovered and statistics about Brazilians in Olympic Games were brought together especially by journalists.
The history of Brazil in the Olympic Movement became a focus of research by different specialists creating an extraordinary academic outcome for Brazil. Only to name the example of 2016, eight papers about Brazil in the Olympic Movement had been published only at the JOH.
Another significant indication for the importance of Brazilian Olympic heritage had been the raise of prices in the collectibles’ market related to items of Brazilian sports.
The most important publications had been summarised and published in Portuguese as part of an edition of selected texts of Pierre de Coubertin translated into Portuguese by the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee in cooperation with the Brazilian Pierre de Coubertin Committee.
The legacy of academic knowledge: a positive heritage
With the decision of Rio de Janeiro as host for the Olympic Games 2016 and with the augmented interest for the topics related, some new key words appeared on the indexes of Brazilian sport heritage. One good example was Raul do Rio Branco, who finally became connected to Olympic Games for a broader public. Also interesting had been the research activities related to the family de Coubertin, whose ancestor Julien Bonaventure de Coubertin, the grandfather of the founder of the modern Olympic Games, happened to serve as a diplomat at Rio de Janeiro more than 200 years ago in 1816.
Many documents were added to the Brazilian folders at the IOC. Documents about Brazilian Olympic history connected to 1936 were moved to the Brazilian folder, similar happened to the sources about the Regional Games 1922. An extremely important letter from Raul do Rio Branco written to his colleagues at the IOC after having served 22 years as Brazilian IOC representative, was moved to the Brazilian folder obviously deriving from other archive location. Those examples might be sufficient to document the important changes regarding the growth of academic heritage about Brazilian sport history.
Olympic heritage: preserving the memory
Independent to all problems and challenges related to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the outcome related to Brazilian Olympic history had been high and truly positive. One of the major heritages the Games left behind in this area had been a broad historical documentation of Brazilian participation, texts about the Olympic memory of Brazil and the growth of Brazilian memorabilia acquired especially by private collectors. The knowledge production, the national and international publications, thematic indexing, the creation of collections and thematic collecting can be regarded as huge legacies of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro towards the Brazilian society.
During this period Brazil and the whole world rediscovered a new profile of Brazilian history. And new discoveries had been made, that especially shed light to forgotten heroes of Brazilian sports like Adolpho Klingelhofer and L. Alvar da Silva. Some unknown stories about Santos Dumont and Raul do Rio Branco also can be told now after detailed research.
Brazilian Sport Museum: a necessary legacy
The main question arises, how to transform this positive legacy into a heritage, that can be used and enjoyed by the Brazilian and international societies. The answer to this question is pretty simple: in the creation of a Brazilian Olympic Museum with respect to the international parameters of the International Council of Museums ICOM. Even though this topic had been discussed since the Games had been awarded to Rio de Janeiro, the museum project never became concrete. To wait even longer with the building of such a museum might cause serious risks to this part of Brazilian cultural patrimony.
Tavares, O. – Belém, C. – Godoy, L. – Turini, M. – Todt, N. 2006: Estudos Olímpicos-Academia Olímpica Brasileira- Educação Olímpica. In DaCosta,L (org). Atlas do esporte Olímpico no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Confef
De Franceschi Neto-Wacker, M. – Wacker, Ch. 2009: Rio de Janeiro goes Olympic. In: Jounal of Olympic History (ISOH), vol.17,n° 3, p.6-20. Sankt Augustin: The official Publication of the International Society of Olympic Historians.
De Franceschi Neto-Wacker, M. – Wacker, Ch. 2010: Brazil goes Olympic – Historical Fragments from Brazil and the Olympic Movement until 1936. Kassel: Agon.
De Franceschi Neto-Wacker, M. – Wacker, Ch.2012: O Brasil torna-se Olimpico – Fragmentos históricos do Brasil e do Movimento Olímpico Internacional até 1936. Manaus: Confederação Brasileira de Atletismo.
Müller, N. – Todt, N. (Ed.) 2015: Pierre de Coubertin 1863-1937. Olimpismo –Seleção de textos. Porto Alegre: EdiPUCRS.
First publication of this paper:
Mataruna-Dos-Santos, Leonardo – Gama Pena, Bianca (Ed.) 2017: Mega events footprints: Past, present and future. Rio de Janeiro. p. 403-419.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
by: Marcia De Franceschi Wacker / Christian Wacker
The Legacy of Brazilian Olympic Historiography
Ten essays about Brazil and the Olympic Movement
These are ten essays, which bring together the fruit of twenty years academic research and the production of publications about Brazil in the International Olympic Movement (1996-2016). One of the major legacies of the 2016 Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro has been a broad historical documentation of the country’s participation in the Olympic Movement. When the authors’ research about the history of Brazil in the International Olympic Movement started back in 1996, accessible material in terms of primary sources was thin on the ground. But some initial discoveries revealed the necessity for a wider thematic research project. There were four topics in particular which needed further examination: the existence of a Brazilian Olympic Committee as early as 1914, the Olympic Diploma for Santos Dumont, the 1922 Regional Games and the selection of two teams for the Olympic Games of 1936. Twenty years ago, there was very little published information about Brazilian Olympic participation in the years before the Second World War even though they took part in 1920 and 1924 and then from 1932 onwards. There were a few references to the Olympic Cup received by Fluminense in 1949.
The research of primary sources has been complex and complicated and has required a number of visits to the Olympic Archives in Lausanne. Research in archives at Brazilian institutions had been problematical and difficult because indexes to Olympic material did not exist. Each name, newspaper article, image and document had to be captured through complex and time consuming unique processes. Many important documents were also held in private collections, private archives in Brazil and abroad (Germany, France and Greece), in “dead” archives of sport institutions and forgotten boxes in dusty cellars at the former Brazilian Football Federation CBF, where we discovered for the first time the minutes of the foundation of the Brazilian Olympic Committee in 1914. Conversations and interviews with those involved in sport have proved to be fundamental sources of information regarding the participation of Brazil in the Olympic Movement. Important support came from people working at the Ministries of the Air Force and for Foreign Relations, at the CBF, the Brazilian Olympic Committee COB and the National Council of Sports.
The legacy of academic knowledge – a positive heritage: When Rio de Janeiro was chosen as 2016 Olympic host city it encouraged new interest in sporting topics and some new key words appeared in the indexes of Brazilian sport heritage. Many documents have been added to the IOC’s own files on Brazil. Documents about Brazilian Olympic history connected to 1936 have been moved to the Brazilian folder, as have sources on the Regional Games 1922. An extremely important letter from Raul do Rio Branco written to his colleagues at the IOC after 22 years service as Brazilian IOC representative was relocated in the material on Brazil. These are just a few examples of how the heritage and legacy of Brazilian sports history has been transformed as a result of Rio 2016.
Content and timetable
Introduction (1st Nov. 2017)
1816: Baron Julien Bonaventure de Coubertin and Brazil (15th Nov. 2017)
1900: Adolpho Christiano Klingelhoefer, first Brazilian athlete in Olympic Games (29th Nov. 2017)
1905: Santos Dumont, Brazil’s first Olympic hero (13th Dec. 2017)
1913: Raul de Rio Branco, first Brazilian IOC member (27th Dec. 2017)
1914: Foundation of the Comité Olympico Nacional (10th Jan. 2018)
1922: Jogos Regionais in Rio de Janeiro (24th Jan. 2018)
1920-1932: Brazil at the early Olympic Games (7th Feb. 2018)
1936: Brazil and the Olympic Games in Berlin (21st Feb. 2018)
1949: Fluminense Football Club receives the Olympic Cup (7th March 2018)
2000: Brasília, candidate for Olympic Games in Brazil (21st March 2018)
Epilogue (4th April 2018)