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Olympic Trials and Cultural Configurations

Although the 2012 Summer Olympics have come to a close, training doesn’t stop for elite athletes. Many athletes are already looking towards the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, after all, it’s only 1,451 days from now.

Throughout these summer games, Anthropology News has featured Olympic themed articles in its very first summer online issue.

Check out the latest article by Gabriel A. Torres entitled Olympic Trials and Cultural Configurations. Below is an excerpt. Read the entire article on Anthropology News.

Photo courtesy Gabriel A. Torres

Over the past two years, I have carried out fieldwork in a Midwest boxing gym in order to better understand the sport in its various social dimensions (from gyms, to competitions, to casual conversations).  I have found that the harshness and calculated strategy that characterizes the sport of boxing also characterizes the sociocultural contexts in which boxers, trainers, officials, and fans interact; which make boxing ideal for addressing questions that are of interest to anthropologists.  Discussions about how race or nationality affect boxing practices are passionately addressed head on in gyms, locker rooms, arenas, and other social spaces.  Volunteering over the last two years as an apprentice trainer in a gym with two very talented athletes, Shelden and Josh, I was able to document how the boxers and their trainers experienced the Olympics from the social margins where many gyms operate.

Read the entire article on Anthropology News.

Read more Olympic articles in the new online summer edition of Anthropology News.

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