Australian Left Review

Article Title

Saluting the state: nationalism and the Olympics


When John Sieben, the "slight, unheralded ''1 17-year-old Queenslander , won the Men's 200m Butterfly final at the recent Los Angeles Game's, the Australian media went bananas. Sieben had managed to defeat the West German champion Michael Gross, set a new world record and win a gold medal for Australia. He also sparked off an orgy of patriotism which, for a brief moment, recalled the emotional excesses of the America's Cup win. !t was a win in real Hollywood style — the young smiling Sieben, physically dwarfed by Gross, had been able to cut four seconds from his best previous race time, and, against all odds, beat the world champion. Cecil B. De Mille couldn't have done a better "David and Goliath” epic.