Reflexivity in the Apologetic Aeon: NZOC’s Return to Moscow

Geoff Z. Kohe


There has been an emergent trend among governments, and within sports organizations, to engage in public apologies. These politically orchestrated attempts to recall, forgive (and potentially forget) are typically orientated toward smoothing past injustices and advocating reconciliation. Such remembering, reflexivity, and criticality are not typically characteristic of Olympic organizations and/or sport museums. However, New Zealand’s Olympic Committee (NZOC) has caught the apology bug. As part of its impending centennial celebrations, NZOC is reflecting on the consequences of its past (in)actions. Accordingly, this study analyses and evaluates the recent launch of NZOC museum’s 1980 Moscow exhibition and its ‘apology’ to athletes excluded from the 1980 Olympic team. I question NZOC’s desire to apologize. I then argue the exhibit and apology established a new, and needed, connection between NZOC and its colourful past. Within this public history exemplar are promising signs of the critically-framed histories academics encourage.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Geoff Z. Kohe

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360