Baseball, glima and Gotlandic sport: An analysis of the demonstration sports in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics


  • Leif Yttergren The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH)


Demonstration sports, competition program, 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games


The purpose of the study is to analyse the demonstration sports (baseball, glima and Gotlandic sport) into the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Who took the initiative for the demonstration sports? The IOC or the Swedish Organising Committee? How were the demonstration sports received by the public and the press, and what was their legacy? The study is based mainly on primary sources from the 1912 Stockholm Olympics’ archive. The 1912 Stockholm Olympics has been well explored, mainly by Swedes and internationals, and this gives a good picture of the 1912 Stockholm Olympics from different perspectives. On the other hand, research into the demonstration sports in the Olympic Games is clearly limited and there is thus a great need for further studies. This current study covers just a small part of this need. The results show that in 1912 there was no considered strategy on the part of either the IOC or the Swedish Organising Committee concerning the demonstration sports. The initiative for the demonstration sports came from individual representatives of each type of sport, and the Swedish organisers were positive towards three of those proposed: baseball, glima and Gotlandic sport. The Swedish organisers had control over which demonstration sports would be included in the programme. This meant that the choice of demonstration sports lay beyond the control of the 1912 IOC, but this would change in the 1900s. During the games they were given limited attention at most, both publicly and in the press. The demonstration sports were removed from the Olympic programme before the 1992 Olympic Games.

Author Biography

Leif Yttergren, The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH)

Leif Yttergren is an Associate Professor at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden. His research has dealt with traditional sports, the IOC president Sigfrid Edström and the history of training in sport. Yttergren is now working with a project about women physical education teachers careers and life stories from 1893-2003.