Ethnic and state sports in the context of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, by Sufian Zhemukhov

Sufian Zhemukhov
IERES, George Washington University, 1957 E St NW, Washington, DC 20054, USA

National Identities Vol. 16, Iss. 4, 2014

Sports have long been an important point of expression in communal identity in the North Caucasus and recently came to serve as a forum for political dissent. This article examines the emergence and transformation of ethnic sport projects in the North Caucasus in connection with the 2014 Sochi Olympics. It charts the history and progress of two projects known as the Circassiada and the Caucasus Games and evaluates the debate of the sport-nation nexus in the North Caucasus. While the Circassiada and the Caucasus Games reflect the typical elite-driven narratives of border security and terrorism, they also highlight discussions over historical and cultural practices of nationhood and the boundaries of national identity.

Keywords: Caucasus, Russia, nationalism, Circassians, ethnic sport, 2014 Olympics, Sochi