Sports have been an important aspect of U.S. military life since the early 20th century. From the Army- Navy football game to sports-associated pastimes in combat zones, the competition, physical training, and comradeship fostered by and through sports have remained a vital aspect of military life. Sports can also serve important diplomatic functions and continue to play a large role in today’s military. This entry describes the history of sports in the U.S. military and examines the impact of sports, especially the Olympic Games, on U.S. diplomacy.


Sports play a distinctive role in American society politically, economically, socially, and culturally. Americans spend billions of dollars per year on tickets, team gear, and memorabilia for myriad professional and collegiate sports teams. Millions of Americans maintain fierce loyalties ...

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