The Barcelona 1936 Popular Olympics

Episode 38 with James Stout

As the 2020 Summer Olympics, postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, take place in Tokyo, we take a look at another Olympics planned under difficult circumstances, one that was never able to take place.The July 1936 Popular Olympics were planned to take place in Barcelona as a counter to the games held in Nazi Germany that year, but the Spanish Civil War broke out the day before the games were scheduled to begin. In this episode, James Stout, an investigative journalist with a PhD in modern European history and the author of the recent book The Popular Front and the Barcelona 1936 Popular Olympics: Playing as if the World Was Watching, joins us to tell the amazing story of these games and anti-fascist athletes involved.

The Episode

The Guest

James Stout is an investigative journalist and a historian of the anti-fascist Popular Olympics. His PhD dissertation examined the use of sport and physical culture to build a cross class multi-lingual identity in Second Republic Catalonia and his book Playing As If The World Was Watching examines the 1936 Popular Olympics in more detail than previous works in the English language. He is currently working on a second book detailing the biographies of some of the 200 Popular Olympians who went on to fight for the Republic.

Suggested Readings

  • Colomé, Gabriel. “La Olimpiada Popular de 1936: deporte y política.” Barcelona: Institut de Ciències Politiques i Socials, 2008.
  • Gounot, André. “El Proyecto de la Olimpiada Popular de Barcelona (1936), Entre Comunismo Internacional y Republicanismo Regional.” Cultura, Ciencia y Deporte 1 (2005): 115-23.
  • Hughes, Thomas. Tom Brown’s School Days. La Vergne: New Central Book Agency, 2020. A novel.
  • Kidd, Bruce. The Political Economy of Sport. Ottawa: Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, 1980.
  • Raanan Rein. “El desafío a los Juegos Olímpicos de Berlín 1936: Barcelona, la Olimpiada Popular olvidada y los atletas judíos de Palestina,” Historia contemporánea 56 (2018): 121-55.
  • Rukeyser, Muriel. Savage Coast. New York: Feminist, 2014. This is one of the better novels on the events.
  • Large, David Clay. The Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007.
  • Martin, Sylvia. Ink in Her Veins: The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer. Crawley: UWA Publishing, 2016.
  • Satanca, Carles and Xavier Pujades. L’Altra Olimpiada, Barcelona’36. Llibres de l’Índex, 2006.
  • Stout, James. “The Brutal Story of the 1936 Popular Olympics: A Boycott of Fascism and Hitler.” National Geographic, July 19, 2021.
  • Stout, James. The Popular Front and the Barcelona 1936 Popular Olympics: Playing as if the World Was Watching. Palgrave Pivot, 2021.

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