The International Swimming League is trying to forge a new path for professional swimmers. But it is working with an authoritarian country.

by Matthew Hodler and Johanna Mellis The International Swimming League (ISL) begins its second season today at 10:00am ET and it will conduct its meets in a Budapest, Hungary “bubble” until November 20, 2020. In the face of the ongoing pandemic, severely restricted international travel, and the Summer Olympic Games’ postponement—the sport’s premier event for…

Review of Sports in American History

Gems, G.R., Borish, L.J., and Pfister, G. Sports in American History: From Colonization to Globalization, Second Edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2017. 385 pages (including images, index, and author information) US$89.00 (cloth cover). Reviewed by Matt Hodler Like many of us, I have both opted to use textbooks and not to use them when designing…

Presentations in the Peach State: The Forty-Fourth Annual North American Society for Sport History Convention

On May 25-27, 1973, scholars gathered at Ohio State University’s Center for Tomorrow for the first North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) convention. The inaugural group was largely comprised of scholars with physical education backgrounds and an interest in sport history. Not surprisingly then, the first convention showcased thirty papers with ancient Greek athletics,…

Review of Fight Sports and American Masculinity

Thrasher, Christopher David. Fight Sports and American Masculinity: Salvation in Violence from 1607 to the Present. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Publishing. Pp. 300. Notes and Index. $45.00 clothback. Reviewed by Matthew Hodler “Ambitious” is the first word that came to mind upon reading this book’s title and preface. Christopher David Thrasher, to his credit, attempts to…

Learning about black space through film

Released in 2007, Pride — a historical sport film about “the first black swim team” — came out during the same time as similar films (Coach Carter (2005), Glory Road (2006), The Express (2008)) also focusing on relationships between race and sport. It also primarily focuses on one individual (Coach Jim Ellis, played by Terrence Howard) in telling the story of how…

Climbing the “Performance Pyramid”: Collegiate Triathlon, Emerging Sport Status, and the Politics of Institutionalization

As you read this, a mixture of nerves, excitement, and celebration have blanketed Clemson, SC as more than 1,000 collegiate triathletes converge for the 2015 Collegiate Club National Championships. In addition to the high energy, these championships come with a slight name change: from the Collegiate National Championships to the Collegiate Club National Championships. The…