This article is a case study of the vision of Mexican history, identity, and culture that won the 1968 Summer Olympic Games for Mexico City. The Mexican elites’ portrayal of Mexico as a modern, cosmopolitan nation contributing to emerging global institutions and ideals in the postcolonial era ensured the bid's success. The article's core is a close reading of the official bid and bidding process. This analysis is supplemented and sharpened by contrasting it with alternative visions of Mexican nationalism and the competing Buenos Aires bid. Guided by symbolic interactionism and theories of cultural politics, the study highlights the unique status of Mexico and Latin America in the Olympic Movement, reminds us of the role of the International Olympic Committee in constructing global order in the Cold War era, and shows the value of studying alternative and unsuccessful visions of nationalism, modernity, and global cosmopolitanism.

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