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Croissants and Commentary #2: The Origins and Evolution of the Olympic Games
Episode 1123rd June 2024 • Women's Performance • Sara Gross, PhD
00:00:00 01:03:55

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“What’s the point of the Olympics, anyway?!” That’s the question Kelly and Sarah look to answer on Episode #2. And how do athletes get to the Olympics. Let's talk all about the Olympic Trials — why is that a uniquely American thing — and the Olympic selection process.

At its core, the Olympic Games were developed to improve international relations and promote unity through sport — except, of course, only among men. In some ways, this global celebration of athleticism has turned into a big business that's about competition, medal count, performances, and money. But in other ways the whole point of a Trials process and expanding the Games to new people and new countries was to create a more universal and diverse event that truly reaches everyone.

Today, Kelly dives into how we've gotten to this point and describes the complicated and confusing Olympic qualification process, including the many ways countries (and even athletes without a country) can get spots to the Games. 

Are the Olympics still achieving their initial goal of promoting peace? Do they help or hurt the host city? What's the best (and most fair) way to qualify for the Olympics?

Is one of the goals of the Olympics to inspire future generations of athletes? According to Chat-GPT, it is. According to Kelly, not so much. 

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