Rhodesian readmission and the decolonization of the National Olympic Committee of Zimbabwe / James Alexander Ivey

Ivey, James Alexander

In May 1980, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized the National Olympic Committee of Zimbabwe (ZOC) after the latter had spent five years in exile under its former name, the National Olympic Committee of Rhodesia (ROC). Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwean government's desire to have a team compete at the 1980 Moscow Olympics delayed the multiracial restructuring of the ZOC. The government's efforts to reform the ZOC, replacing the old white ROC members, transformed into a two-year-long contentious struggle. After an intervention by the IOC in June 1982, a compromise was reached. The composition of the new ZOC represented the government's greater control over sport in the country. The reformation of the ZOC demonstrates the complex process of transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe and the difficulties of decolonization in sport. In examining these events, this article bridges the gap between colonial Rhodesian and postcolonial Zimbabwean sport and presents a case study of decolonization within a sports administration.

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