Superpowers on the Olympic Basketball Court: The United States Versus China Through Four Nationalistic Lenses

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Andrew C. Billings Clemson University, USA

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Paul J. MacArthur Utica College, USA

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Simon Licen University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

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Dan Wu Xi’an International Studies University, China

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Media renderings of the Olympics continue to offer opportunities for hypernationalism. This study analyzes the same basketball game (U.S. vs. China in men’s basketball at the 2008 Summer Olympics) through the lens of 4 different telecasts in the United States, China, Slovenia, and Canada. Results illuminate us/them and collectivist/individualist dichotomies, differing themes of redemption and expectation, and stark contrasts in network style and content in game coverage. Ramifications for theory, fans, and network gatekeepers are postulated.

Billings is with the Dept. of Communication Studies, Clemson University, Clemson, SC. MacArthur is with the Public Relations and Journalism Dept., Utica College, Utica, NY. Licen is with the Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Dan is with the School of English Studies, Xi’an International Studies University, Xi’an, China.

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