Book report: Vyv Simson, Andrew Jennings - The Lords of the Rings

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 1999

25 Pages, Grade: A



I. Chapter summaries
Chapter 1: Welcome to Barcelona
Chapter 2: Horst' s System
Chapter 3: Dassler Takes Coke
Chapter 4: From Montreal to Monaco
Chapter 5: With Arm Raised I Salute You
Chapter 6: The Clever Chameleon
Chapter 7: The Jewel in the Crown
Chapter 8: ISL Rules the World
Chapter 9: Flotsam and Jetsam
Chapter 10: Olympia's Black Gold
Chapter 11: The Bumps on the Logs
Chapter 12: Twenty Million Dollars
Chapter 13: The Cheats
Chapter 14: Scandal
Chapter 15: Before Your Very Eyes
Chapter 16: A Lawyer From Des Moines
Chapter 17: Alarm Bells
Chapter 18: The Benevolent Dictator
Chapter 19: The Shoe Size of the Second Daughter
Chapter 20: Destroy the Olympics

II. Conflict Theory

III. Reaction to the Content

IV. Topics and Different Approaches

I. Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1: Welcome to Barcelona:

The authors Vyv Simson and Andrew Jennings begin their documentary with a background of the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. Since The Lords of the Rings was published in '92, the Barcelona Games are the most recent example of the glamorous and commercialized modern-day Olympics.

The authors give an impressive statistical background of the world's biggest and most sumptuous sport spectacle, the Olympics. Next they introduce the powerful International Olympic Committee (IOC), referring to it as The Club. The most powerful members of The Club are; president Juan Antonio Samaranch, FIFA (Federation of International Football Associations) boss Joao Havelange, the president of the IAAF (International Amateur Athletics Federation) Primo Nebiolo, ANOC's (Association of National Olympic Committees) president Mario Vazquez Rana, the World Teakwondo Federation's president Dr. Un Yong Kim, along with Dick Pound and Robert H. Helmick.

The next topic dealt with, is the rising value of the Olympics "as a global brand"(11) combined with the increasing amounts of money collected through the sponsorships of multinational corporations and official suppliers to the Olympic Games in Barcelona.

In the second part of this chapter the authors use the annual meeting of the IOC, which was held in Birmingham in 1991, as an example for the "constant and glittering round of first- class travel, five-star hotels, champagne receptions, extravagant banquets, mountains of gifts and lavish entertainment"(12) guaranteed for the Olympic family's gatherings. Officially the annual IOC meeting (behind closed doors) is supposed to "debate and vote on the policies to be carried out in the name of the Olympics"(18). Jennings and Simson conclude that the IOC members' lives are "a constant round of meetings, trades and deals in the now lucrative, powerful and high profile world of international sports"(20).

Chapter 2: Horst's System

This chapter tells the reader how Horst Dassler, the German owner of Adidas Sportschuhfabriken, created the powerful system around the IOC.

Dassler paid individual top athletes and teams to wear his shoes, or use other Adidas sport equipment in order to promote the three-stripe and trefoil motif. Dassler's long-time partner Patrick Nally, who has contributed a lot to this book, is introduced in this chapter and he tells how he and Horst started the sport marketing that slowly put Dassler in control over world sports. By 1974 Dassler changed his strategy and began working with Olympic federations and national teams. Dassler supplied Third World and East Bloc countries with free Adidas equipment, and began funding travel expenses for IOC athletes and officials. By entertaining and giving presents to these sport officials he could manipulate and later control the emerging power of the International sporting Federations (IF) and the IOC. Dassler's basic strategy was to re-call favors, which secured votes for any nominees he personally preferred in any major election within the world of sports. Meanwhile he and Nally used "sport as a commercial message", and started to "bring companies to sport sponsorship"(29) in order to develop sport worldwide, and of course for their own financial benefit. "By cleverly manipulating [the] 'needs of sports assistance' Dassler created the structure of today's world of business-orientated international sport. In the process he also turned his sports equipment company, Adidas, and his marketing company, ISL, into two of the most influential sporting institutions in the world."(22)

Chapter 3: Dassler takes Coke

In the third chapter the authors and Patrick Nally, reveal why Dassler persuaded Coca-Cola to enter a sponsorship with FIFA.

Horst Dassler wanted to help the promising newcomer Joao Havelange, who had just become FIFA president, "to live up to his election promises"(41). Of course, this would secure Horst important influence on South American and Third World votes for elections within both the IF and the IOC. Also, Nally states that, "he wanted to make himself indispensable"(41)

As a consequence Nally and Dassler approached Coca-Cola, "the biggest and best-known Olympic sponsor in the world"(43). After tough negotiations Coca-Cola started pouring millions of dollars into Havelange's FIFA budget. Dassler and Nally also "set up the new events, the development progress ... and youth competitions"(45) for the Third World, which had been promised by Havelange before his election. As a result Horst - and Adidas - was "taking over world soccer"(45). Havelange became the official benefactor while Dassler was holding the strings in the background, and Adidas increased its popularity. The authors' conclusion is that "Coke's money was being used by Horst for his own benefit"(47).

Chapter 4: From Montreal to Monaco

The fourth chapter tells the reader how Dassler and Nally kept their fingers in the pie of the Olympic family. Jennings and Simson focus on the time between the Montreal Games '76 to the establishment of the GAISF headquarters in Monaco in 1977.

During this period of time and particularly during the Games in Montreal, Horst Dassler gave "compulsory Adidas dinners"(49) for numerous members of the IOC and the IFs, entertaining and making 'modest' gifts to his valuable guests. For this kind of manipulation he had a "dedicated team of political intelligence gatherers"(48) who were building files on the world's sport politicians and officials. Through such intelligence he also became aware of Tommy Keller, the president of the International Rowing Federation, who set up the General Assembly of International Sports Federations (GAISF). The GAISF was supposed to be a counterweight to the power-seizing IOC, due to the growing value of the Olympic Games, as a result of the increasing payments made by American TV companies. When Dassler's intelligence team realized the importance of the GAISF Horst provided them a headquarters in Monte Carlo. Through this 'beneficial' move he could "develop very solid relationships with"(57) a variety of federations and promote his marketing idea through his attractive example of FIFA's worldwide (economical) success. In addition he could build a relationship with the Rainiers who sought to "build up the image of the principality by associating it with prestige international events"(55). Another contribution to the principality's prestigious image created by Dassler and Nally was their joint company Societé Monegasque de Promotion International (SMPI), which was located in Monte Carlo, of course. They used SMPI to work with the different federations, which gathered for GAISF sessions in Monac

Chapter 5: With Arm raised I salute you

This chapter discusses about Juan Antonio Samaranch's political career in Franco's fascist Spain until he started his alternative career in world's sport politics.

The fascist politician Samaranch was, in his own words, "a hundred per cent Francoist"(59) until the very end of Franco's regime. According to the authors, he used sports as "a vehicle for working his way up the pinnacle of the Dictator's hierarchy"(60). Samaranch won sporting prestige for Spain and Franco's Movimiento, using his "life-long habit [of] making gifts - and waiting to call in the favour"(65). Thus he managed to climb up the political ladder in fascist Spain. After achieving the membership of Barcelona's City Council and the presidency of the Catalan Regional Council he reached the climax of his political career when Franco appointed him (temporarily) Sports Minister. Jennings and Simson also mention how Samaranch made it through military life in the republican army, which was completely opposed to his political beliefs, during the Spanish Civil War. According to a former comrade, he used his 'lifelong habit' during his time in the army of democracy, before "he deserted and went into hiding"(63) in Barcelona, until he was 'liberated' by Franco's nationalist armies. In connection with the takeover of Franco's regime Movimiento, the authors tell about hundreds of thousands of executions and a million of refugees leaving the country, to reflect the significant contrast between Samaranch's fascist Movimiento and his later presidency of the democratic Olympic movement.

After joining the "fascist controlled Spanish Olympic committee in 1956"(70) he began to promote himself within the Olympic family, which resulted in his entering into the IOC ten years later.

Chapter 6: The Clever Chameleon

The following chapter focuses on Samaranch's change from a fascist politician to an international sports politician, and his rise to the top of the International Olympic Committee.

Samaranch lost his Sports Minister position because some senior members of Franco's regime regarded him as being "too pushy"(73). Samaranch began to realize in the early Seventies that Franco and his Movimiento were going to die out soon, which is what made him launch his "alternative career abroad"(75) in sport politics. When Franco died in 1975 and his fascist regime collapsed, Samaranch had already reached the position of IOC's vice president and chief of protocol. Juan Antonio Samaranch had "re-invented himself" and therefore is nicknamed the "clever chameleon" by the authors of this book. He set up an alliance with Horst Dassler and Joao Havelange, and began "canvassing every IOC vote on offer,"(80) especially the votes from the East Bloc and Russia. Samaranch persuaded the Spanish soccer World Cup organizing committee to expand the number of participating teams, in order to help Havelange to keep his election promises. In return Havelange secured him important IOC votes from South America, Africa and Asia, which brought Samaranch the IOC presidency in 1980.

Chapter 7: The Jewel in the Crown

The title of this chapter refers to the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF),which "is the jewel of the Olympic crown"(86). Jennings and Simson devote chapter seven to the present president of the IAAF, Dr. Primo Nebiolo, and his way to the IAAF presidency.

During one of Nebiolo's dinner parties he revealed the secrecy of his political success to one of his influential guests: "Every morning when I wake up, I lie in bed and for five minutes I think of nothing else except how I can improve my position today"(85). The Italian Dr. Nebiolo began his career in international sport politics in 1961 when was elected president of the International Federation of University Sports. During the next decade he developed relations with the East Bloc and Third World through his popular Universiade, which brought him into the IAAF ruling council in 1972. Three years earlier he had managed to become president of the Italian national athletic federation (FIDAL) where "he did a good job promoting Italian athletics"(94). But Primo wanted to be primo in world athletics. He wanted the presidency of the IAAF, which organized the major competitions, provided officials and judges, and set up the rules. At the same time Horst Dassler was looking for a more favoring and promising alternative to the still acting IAAF president, Adriaan Paulen from the Netherlands.

Paulen is described as "a brave and patriotic man"(87), who preferred staying "in the background encouraging athletes and ensuring fair competition"(88), with "a very independent attitude"(95). In order to "ensure Adidas would be the exclusive equipment supplier to the IAAF"(95) Horst teamed up with the ambitious Nebiolo. After having postponed and moved the targeted elections to Italy to secure more votes, Dassler "convinced and cajoled Adriaan Paulen into thinking that he was going to lose"(97) his re-election for the IAAF presidency. As a consequence he withdrew from the election and Primo Nebiolo was elected president of the IAAF during its annual meeting in Rome in 1981.

Chapter 8: ISL Rules the World

By the year 1992, ten years after Horst Dassler split from his partner Patrick Nally and

created ISL Marketing; ISL held a "monopoly of the world's biggest and most lucrative sports marketing contracts"(99).

Back in 1982 Nally ended his partnership with Dassler because he had realized that Horst had always sought to get control and manipulate the sports world, instead of just developing it. As a result Dassler set up ISL Marketing and took the FIFA's marketing rights with him. In the following three years he called in favors, promised money and set up an alliance with the president of the Association of the national Olympic committees (ANOC), Mario Vazquez Rana. With this Mexican's influence in Latin America, Coca-Cola's credibility image, and most importantly the money that the ISL needed to pay off Western economic powers, Dassler succeeded in Olympic marketing. During the Los Angeles Games Dassler's ISL competed with his new rival Nally in front of the IAAF marketing committee. Due to Horst's financial promises and Nebiolo's political dept, ISL won the IAAF contract. In addition "Nebiolo concluded a deal with Adidas to provide sportswear for the IAAF."(106) In March 1985 Dassler signed the contract with the IOC that gave him the exclusive marketing rights for the Olympic Games, resulting in the first TOP (The Olympic Programme) designed to fund each Olympiad through the sponsorships of various international corporations. The prize he paid for these rights also included 49% of ISL, which he sold to Japanese advertising company Dentsu.

The authors also mention different companies. Like the 'TOP 12', the competition between these giants, and the consequences on the Olympic Games. The alteration of summer and winter Games, for instance, was introduced because of the huge financial burden for U.S. TV networks to buy both events, along with other marketing reasons. The authors conclude this chapter by expressing Nally's scepticism about the future of ISL, which had been based on the personality of Horst Dassler. Horst died of cancer at age 51 in 1987.

Chapter 9: Flotsam and Jetsam

This chapter deals with a number of "discarded political appointees of the old East Bloc regimes"(111) who were adopted into the IOC through Samaranch.

"Since [Samaranch] came to power at the IOC he has recruited and sustained many East Bloc members who are dinosaurs from another political age"(111). For instance, he selected the Russian Marat Gramov, who used to be a "Deputy of the USSR Supreme Council"(116), to join the IOC, although Gramov had been the driving force behind the East Bloc's boycott of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles four years before. The result is an ill representation of the newly democratic East Bloc by "East Bloc rejects, the flotsam and jetsam of the Brezhnev era"(116). In addition, the authors reveal the hypocrisy during an IOC meeting in East Berlin, which reached its climax when Erich Honecker received the Gold Olympic Order from Samaranch. Another infamous recipient of the highest honor at the IOC's disposal is "the butcher of Bucharest"(114), Nicolae Ceaucescu. The authors call this a "disgrace to the Olympic ideal" and criticize how "it mocked the legions of decent, ordinary people who had often given a lifetime of service to sport"(114).

While Samaranch was developing personal relations with the East Bloc, by selecting IOC nominees, Dassler gave free Adidas equipment to Russia, along with valuable information from his intelligence team. Horst supported Moscow with their bid to host the Olympic Games in 1980 because "he wanted to be involved in the business"(113) of this Olympiad. In addition he sought a permit "to manufacture [Adidas products] behind the iron curtain"(113).

Chapter 10: Olympia's Black Gold

Chapter ten focuses on Kuwait's 'Mr. Sport' Sheik Fahd Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and his influence on the Asian area of the Olympic Movement.

Kuwait's governing family denied their half-slave offspring, Fahd, a ministerial position in their government. As a result he focused on an alternative career in sport politics. Soon he held the presidencies of Kuwait's soccer, volleyball, fencing, basketball and handball federations along with that of Kuwait's national Olympic committee. Sheik Fahd's main goal in his following policy, besides his personal gain and Kuwait's success in the world of sports, was to systematically exclude Israel from any Asian sport competition. He began spending Kuwait's petro-dollars to "wash away principles of a majority of the sports leaders in Asia"(122). When he had paid for the entire Asia Games in Bangkok in 1978, he had enough influence to exclude Israel's athletes from the competition. He kept paying for "events, for new sport facilities, for conferences, for air tickets to attend those conferences and of course personal bribes"(l22). This is how he was elected into the IOC in '81 and completed his anti-semitistic scheme one year later, during the Asia Games in Delhi. There he convinced Samaranch, Nebiolo and other IOC members to abolish the Asian Games Federation and replace it by Fahd's new organization called Olympic Council for Asia (OCA). The IOC recognized the new OCA although everybody knew that its "creation was aimed primarily at Israel's [exclusion]"(125) from the Asian stage of sports. The authors call OCA "an organization whose sole reason for being was a contradiction of the fundamental requirements of the Olympic Charter"(127). The OCA's headquarter was based in Kuwait City and Sheik Fahd became the first president, due to his financial promises. The Kuwaiti's manipulation, which is widely preferred to be called 'assistance', went as far as making "people raise both hands"(l25) during votes. Financial trouble and resulting political questioning of the Al-Sabah Government was resolved by suspending Kuwait's constitution, the closing of the parliament, and introduction of press censorship in 1986. After Sheik Fahd's death, during the Iraqi invasion in 1990, his son Sheik Ahmad took his seat in the IOC and OCA. But Ahmad could not hold on to his monarchist heritage of the presidency over OCA. When China, the Koreas, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong split off from OCA, in protest against Kuwait's domination, in order to stage their first East Asian Games in 1993, OCA lost its credibility.


Excerpt out of 25 pages


Book report: Vyv Simson, Andrew Jennings - The Lords of the Rings
Cleveland State University  (Department of Physical Education)
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ISBN (eBook)
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Book summary without secondary literature
Book, Simson, Andrew, Jennings, Lord, Rings
Quote paper
Lars Allenstein (Author), 1999, Book report: Vyv Simson, Andrew Jennings - The Lords of the Rings, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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