Good Sports: Australian Sport and the Myth of the Fair Go

by Peter Kell

Is sport the great leveller and the unifying force as claimed by sports junkies?

Good Sports puts the boot into the myth of the fair go in Australian sport.

Peter Kell delves into how the media covers our national obsession, and reveals a harsh sporting culture of racism, sexism and homophobia.

  • Why is sprinter Matt Shirvington described as the fastest white man in the world?
  • Are the Chinese women swimmers the only ones taking dope, or are they being painted as the proverbial Chinese dragons out to get innocent Aussies?
  • Why are Australian cricket contests with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka all spiced up with chucking, betting scandals and dodgy food?
  • Why is racial vilification of Aboriginal sports identities by TV personalities so pervasive?

Good Sports critically analyses Australia's sporting heritage and challenges the myth that sport gives everybody the opportunity of the fair go, looking at the way sport has recycled, revived and sustained racism in Australia. It looks at recent coverage of some sporting "stories" and "celebrities" in terms of race and identity and argues that Australia's sporting image needs a change which departs from Australia's racist past as we stage our second Olympics and move towards a republic.

Good Sports will interest the fans and those puzzled about why Australians are obsessed with sport and so fanatical about the Olympic games. Some of our favourite sporting personalities make winning appearances: Shane Warne, Mark Phillippoussis, Pat Rafter, Cathy Freeman, Evone Cawley, Nicky Winmar, Mark Taylor, Dawn Fraser, Newk and Rochie. Side show acts like John Howard, Alan Bond, Phil Coles, Arthur Tunstall and Sam Newman make guest appearances for the amusement of the fans. The book looks at chucking scandals, cricket betting, doping scandals, corrupt Olympic officials, the hero factor and racial blow ups in sport.

Associate Professor Peter Kell is Head of Department Industry, Professional and Adult, RMIT Melbourne. He has published and researched in the areas of adult education, politics, sport, race, identity and culture. Peter Kell, like many Australians will stay up in the small hours of the night to catch Grand Slams, Grands Prix, World cups and Test matches on the TV.



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