Exposes historically grown power imbalances in international elite sport

Meet Jörg Krieger

“Through my early studies, I became increasingly exposed to the challenges within international elite sport and began to question practices, processes, and policies. That was when I decided to pursue a career as a sport scholar, applying a critical lens on sport.”

How does history influence on our current sport system, and how do the most powerful organisations in elite sport affect for example athletes’ terms and conditions?

These are some of Associate Professor Jörg Krieger’s research questions. He focuses on sport history and in particular the history of elite sport. Jörg Krieger is, among other things, interested in the impact that historical decisions have had on our current sport system and in policies that have impacted athletes’ participation in sport due to racism, sexism, anti-doping, etc. His main focus area is the Olympic Movement.

Sport history provides essential insights into modern elite sport

“Overall, my research critically evaluates the structures, governance, policies and attitudes of international sport organisations and their leaders. My goal is to contribute to the understanding of the global sport system and to gain insights into the influence of key stakeholders and the institutionalized strategies that developed as a reflection of those stakeholders’ interests and values,” says Jörg Krieger.

He believes that understanding the historical development of the socio-cultural conditions in international sport is crucial because they are built into the fabric of today’s sport system. “In my view, sport history is often overlooked in research and in teaching, but it provides us with essential insights into the development of modern sport,” explains Jörg Krieger.

We are internationally leading experts in the humanities of sport

His objective is to establish a research group of young scholars (PhDs and PostDocs) focusing on global sport politics with a historical perspective within the Research Unit for Sport and Body Culture at the department.

“My colleagues here at the department are internationally leading experts in the humanities of sport, and a young group of scholars would benefit tremendously from their experience and input. Sport history is such an exciting field that does not receive the academic recognition it deserves, and therefore it is important to nurture young research talents and provide them with possibilities in our research field,” says Jörg Krieger.

Jörg Krieger has always been fascinated by sport and its history. He was a passionate sports participant, supporter, and volunteer in different sports, long before making it his career path. However, through his early studies, he became increasingly exposed to the challenges within sport and began to question practices, processes, and policies. That was when he decided to pursue a career as a sport scholar, applying a critical lens on sport.

“In 2021, my book Power and Politics in World Athletics. A Critical History was published. I’ve spent years conducting archival research for this project, and it was fantastic to have the publication in hand,” says Jörg Krieger and continues:

“Since this is the first book looking at the global organisation of the sport of athletics, the book was perceived as very important, by athletes, the organisation itself (World Athletics), but also the academic community. Reading the reviews of the book, written by peers in academic journals, makes me very proud, knowing how much time and effort it was to sit in archives around the world investigating ten thousands of documents.”

Jörg Krieger continues to work on the history of international sport. He is working on several research projects on the emergence and historical development of the relationship between sport and politics in different contexts. In one of the projects, he is exploring the impact of national politics on the formation of continental sport organisations on the Asian continent.

Jörg Krieger has an extraordinarily international profile. He studied his B.A. and his M.A. in England. Afterwards he obtained a PhD in Sport History at the Institute of Sport History of the German Sport University Cologne. He has had research stays and taught in South Africa, South Korea, Canada, and the US. Jörg Krieger was born in 1985.