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Sport is a rich source for memory culture. Conspicuously, sport regularly declares an event to be historical while it is still ongoing. This includes transforming the sport event into one of broader cultural, especially national significance. Using a number of examples from different sports, this article discusses how and why sport, for already more than a hundred years, continuously contributes to national memories. It will argue, that it is first of all the serial organization of standardized (and thus comparable) competitive events that enables sport to continuously declare and remember historical moments. Sport produces an endless series of events that can possibly become historic; simultaneously, all sports organize (‘their’) memory in such a systematic manner that the claim for historicity can be made with good reasons. On the one hand, it is the comparison with hundreds of past events that allows an ongoing or even an upcoming event to be marked as ‘historic’. On the other hand, retrospectively, this ongoing comparison guarantees that the historic moments of the past will be referenced repetitively and thus remembered. Analyzing these foundational mechanisms which represent sport to a global audience allows for a better understanding of the otherwise seemingly irrational and excessive role of sports in national memory cultures.

Keywords: Media sport; memory culture; sport history; seriality; competition

Full text (in English)

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