Now & Then

Projecting America at the Olympics


On this episode of Now & Then, “Projecting America at the Olympics,” Heather and Joanne frame the current Tokyo Olympics alongside historical examples of American cultural diplomacy. They trace efforts to appeal to France in the Revolutionary Period, the rise of World’s Fairs, and the controversies that accompanied Jesse Owens’ 1936 Olympics dominance in Berlin and the 1968 Black Power salute by medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos. What do these earlier negotiations say about American self-definition, particularly given the contemporary Olympics controversy over Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from portions of the gymnastics competition? Join CAFE Insider to listen to “Backstage,” where Heather and Joanne chat each week about the anecdotes and ideas that formed the episode. And for a limited time, use the code HISTORY for 50% off the annual membership price. Head to Join us each Tuesday for new episodes of Now & Then, and keep an eye out for live events with Heather and Joanne and the rest of the CAFE Team. For references & supplemental materials, head to: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit