Romanian Sports Diplomacy at the Olympics in the 1980s: A Waste of Chalk?
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This thesis investigates how the performance of Romania at the Olympics in the 1980s affected the international image of the Ceaușescu regime. Focusing on the impressive success of Romania at the Summer Olympics in Moscow and Los Angeles during the 1980s, this thesis finds that the Ceaușescu regime purposefully used sports as a tool to shape its international image. As a guiding compass in the analysis, this work lays out and utilises a conceptual framework of sports diplomacy. By triangulating this with existing historiography and Dutch and American newspapers, it enquires how impactful this mobilisation of athletic achievements was in modifying Romania’s image abroad. Acknowledging and supporting the shift in academia towards smaller states as subjects of Cold War research, this work aims to improve the conceptual relationship between sports and diplomacy within IR as well as contribute to the historiography on Romanian foreign policy during the Cold War.