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Sport & life

These pages take a wide ranging view of sport and the social issues raised by it. We ask questions about the media and how it interprets and reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Games; discuss how mega-events are conceptualised, and see how sociologists research the gender and body issues arising out of the Games. As time goes on we will be adding much more, including work on Olympic & Paralympic history, security and biography . To make a start, click on the research article on the right of the page, written for us by Professors John Horne and Garry Whannel, which looks at the background to London 2012..


TV studio [9KB]

Invoking the British Library's collections, we trace the history of media involvement with the Games and look at how new technologies are transforming the way they are reported.


Green environment [10KB]

The Games provides a window through which the ideas of sustainable development, environmental attitudes and planning for a greener future can be examined. Natalie Suckall, a PhD candidate at Leeds University, takes us through the basics.


Sprinters [11KB]

Sociology examines how human societies are structured and how these structures affect the way in which humans organise and experience life. Sporting events like the Olympics can symbolise, reflect and celebrate the dominant beliefs and values of society. See how that happens here.

Sporting biography


When it comes to milestones, few events beat the Olympics and Paralympics as symbols of achievement, dedication, prowess and even fortitude. It is therefore unsurprising that among biographical works, many are devoted to individuals who have had some kind of involvement with them.


Fireworks [7KB]

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are the archetypal mega events, but what constitutes a mega event, what logistical problems and legacy issues does it raise, and how is it being studied? We investigate these questions.


boxers [7KB]

The Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the sports that comprise them, owe their existence to a long history of sporting endeavours, ambitions and events, many of which can be researched using the archive materials held by the British Library. With the help of our contributors we look at another aspect of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy: the legacy of the past.

Food: consuming the Games

man on a pig [7KB]

Food plays a crucial role in sustaining and defining the sporting body, but the significance of food in the Olympics goes well beyond the physical.

Research the Paralympics

prosthesis patent[7KB]

On this website we have chosen to integrate our coverage of the Paralympics with that of the Olympics, since many aspects of sport research are relevant to both competitions. However, this page brings together, for our users’convenience, links to pages on the website which will be of particular interest to researchers into disability sport.

Help us to provide a research legacy for the London Olympics

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Research articles

The links below are to Adobe PDF files. Accessibility solutions and free Reader software are available from Adobe.

London, the Olympics & the road to 2012PDF file

Social sciences at the British Library

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