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The Olympic Games is arguably the ultimate 'mega-event'. But what are 'mega-events' and how should we study them? Maurice Roche, a prominent researcher in this field describes them as:

'large-scale cultural (including commercial and sporting) events which have a dramatic character, mass popular appeal and international significance'
Mega-events & modernity (2000)

In these pages we look at definitions of the mega-event, its significance, history, and how, as a phenomenon, it is being studied; later, we will be looking at the logistics of hosting an Olympic games, the issues raised for host cities and the physical legacies the Games leave behind.

Defining the mega-event

Stadium crowd [10KB]

Although mega-events each have their peculiarities, they also share a number of characteristics.

Olympic ceremonies

Fireworks [8KB]

As sport - and the Olympic Games - increased in international importance, the hosting of the Games provided the governments of the host countries with valuable legitimising and promotional tools.


World Outgames pillars [10KB]

Olympic ceremonies are intended to invoke a sense of community spirit at several levels, from the local to the international.

Mega-events Bibliography

Books [10KB]

A list of resources.

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Research articles

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

Building bricks by building stadiumsPDF file

The modern Olympic Games: governance & ownership of riskPDF file

Social sciences at the British Library

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