Reading list: The importance of the Rome Olympics

Not long after I scarfed up a copy of David Maraniss’ “Rome 1960,” sports business and politics writer Henry Fetter recalls just how low certain sports rated in the American athletic imagination, and how these deficiencies dovetailed perfectly into a certain candidate’s Cold War electoral message:

“By the time the Rome games ended, American fortunes in men’s track and field had recouped somewhat, but it was the American setbacks during the first week that resonated the most—defeats and disappointments that meshed perfectly with Kennedy’s successful campaign theme of a once-mighty America that was losing ground in the contest for the global preeminence that many Americans claimed as a birthright. It turned out to be very close election.”

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