It is widely thought that the Nordic nations of Europe possess a strong degree of homogeneity. This conception applies to sport as much as other cultural fields, but the role played by sport and physical education in the development of the distinctive political culture and cultural politics of the Nordic countries has been strangely and largely overlooked. Precisely because sport—in principle if not in practice—is based on the possibility of being the best on equal terms, it has been tied to the balancing of freedom and equality that seems to be so typically Nordic that one can speak of a particular Nordic way. Traditionally this trait has centered on the concept of “Folk.” The idea that both mind and body should be qualified and developed contributed decisively to the modernization and characterization of Nordic societies.

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