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From Frozen Ponds to Organized Competitions: The Growth of Skating and Ice Hockey in Korea, 1886–1938

Kyoungho Park and Karam Lee

The encounter of American Protestant evangelicalism and Japanese imperialism formed in Korean society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries became a steppingstone for the acceptance of modern winter sports in Korea. In particular, skates introduced by American Protestant missionaries and the Young Men’s Christian Association formed an imaginary space to counter Japanese imperialism in Korea during Japanese colonial era. Ice hockey introduced along with skating is a representative product that evolved in this process. The history of the introduction of American ice hockey to Korea also had a dual imperial influence between the United States and Japan, and in another direction, there was a voluntary acceptance process by Koreans who recognized ice hockey as a modern product.

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Nature Sport and Environmental History: Adulation or Alteration of Nature?

PearlAnn Reichwein, Pierre-Olaf Schut, and Grégory Quin

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“I Live With and By Nature”: Swedish Alpine Skiers Reflect on Professional and Lifestyle Skiing, Nature, and Snow, 1964–2023

Marie Larneby

Alpine skiing has been a popular activity since the 1950s. However, global warming leads to milder weather, melting glaciers, and reduced snowfall which deteriorates possibilities to skiing. The purpose of this paper is to sketch a contemporary history of alpine skiing and environmental awareness in Sweden through the narratives of ten alpine skiers. A temporal and spatial perspective contributes to make changes over time and meaning of places visible. The skiers share a fixed narrative: nature as central for skiing. This is not unproblematic since nature has been more adapted and modified and resulted in a crowded landscape. Nature is a space to be preserved but also as a space to enable skiing. In this constructed landscape, over time snowmaking is reconstructed to being normal, albeit not natural. A way to handle these changes is to care more for nature, travel less, ski more local, and show environmental awareness.

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Landscapes of Performance: Using Local Geography for the Testing of Sport School Pupils in Sweden, 1972–2023

Daniel Svensson

Does nature still matter in sport? In the balancing between natural and scientific training, Swedish upper-secondary ski schools have played an important role. This paper deals with specific landscape features for testing at three Swedish ski schools: Hallstatestet in Sollefteå, Hovfjällsracet in Torsby, and Stoltjonastestet in Järpen. The following questions will be addressed: How do the coaches at each school use local tests to analyze performance? How is the importance of local tests articulated, and what roles do history and nature play in this process? The paper concludes that the use of local landscapes to articulate elite performance connects ideas of measurability and scientization to the lingering tradition of natural training. Local landscapes thereby become a mediator between scientific and experiential knowledge about sport performance and point out how local sport heritage can be used for addressing environmental issues in sport.

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Twice Invisible, Twice Clandestine. Football and Lesbianism in Spain During the Years of Democratic Transition (1970–1982)

Dolors Ribalta Alcalde and Xavier Pujadas

The main objective of this paper is to analyze the relationship between women’s football and lesbianism during the 1970s in Spain as well as the invisibility characteristics of this group of women in the context of the invisibility of women’s football in this period and in the context of the political transition until 1982. In the repressive context of late Francoism and given the validity until 1978 of laws that expressly persecuted homosexuality, social, cultural, legal, and political pressure had a very important impact on lesbian women who participated in the incipient practice of football in Spain in the 1970s. Some of these players built gay social networks through sports clubs and later started clandestine meetings in bars and private celebrations. The period studied—between 1970 and 1982—coincided with the rebirth of women’s football in Spain and the international emergence of this sport. The research has been based on the use of in-depth interview as a method and historiographical technique that has allowed us to obtain the life stories of nine lesbian or heterosexual women football players in different Spanish cities (who in general have lived and live in a private sexual identity) and two coaches linked to women’s teams. These sources have been expanded and contrasted from others of a documentary nature (specialized press and bibliography) to reconstruct the context studied and contrast the reliability of the information collected. In conclusion, it has been established that, despite the low visibility of women’s football and homosexuality, the legal pressure of the period and the opposition of the public authorities and institutions of the dictatorship, the field of football allowed these women to overcome some of the difficulties in the process of building their identity and discrimination based on sexual orientation. In turn, support networks—especially of teammates—private parties and atmosphere bars, were fundamental to the life experience of young lesbian athletes in the still repressive context of the end of the Franco dictatorship and the first years of the young democratic regime in Spain.

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The Birth and Development of Sports Video Games From the 1950s to the Early 1980s

Lu Zhouxiang

This article provides an overview of the origins and early development of sports video games. The first generation of sports video games were developed by scientists in laboratories for academic purposes. Together with the rise of microcomputers and the widespread adoption of television (TV) sets, commercial video games began to emerge in the early 1970s. Like their laboratory predecessors, most of the first-generation commercial games were sports-themed and primarily designed as a platform for competition between players. In the second half of the 1970s, ball-and-paddle-based games began to be replaced by more sophisticated games adopting the rules and actions of real-life sports. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, intense competition between video game companies gave birth to many innovative titles, with various sports disciplines adapted into games. Most of the sports games created in this period were based on competitive sports including American football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis, as well as recreational sports like bowling, pool, and darts, many of them long popular in Western Europe and North America, some with a huge fan base in Japan. They were clearly produced to cater to the needs of gamers and sports fans in the world’s three major TV, personal computer, video game, and sports markets at the time.

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Editorial Note

Tanya Jones