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“Olympic Games, China, and Human Rights,” Olympic Symposium on “Culture, Covid, Controversy: Tokyo 2021 & Beijing 2022,” hosted by 21M.848 PS: Advanced Theories of Sport, Department of Theater and Media Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 5, 2021. Brownell introduction by Claire Conceison, presentation, and Q&A at 1:07 - 1:38.


“Olympic Games, Human Rights, and China,” Virtual Symposium on “The Asia Olympics: Past Achievements and Future goals,” Hellenic Studies Program and the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University, April 19, 2021.

“Olympic Games, Human Rights, and China,” Virtual Symposium on “The Asia Olympics: Past Achievements and Future Goals,” Hellenic Studies Program and the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University, April 19, 2021.

“Olympic Games and Human Rights,” Virtual Session of the 60th International Session for Young Participants, International Olympic Academy, Olympia, Greece, September 4-10, 2020.

To Be Added

“The Rise of Asia and the Decline of the West? China's Bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games,” delivered before the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, New York, NY, March 12, 2015.

British Journal of Sociology podcast in the lead up to the London Olympic Games with Editor-in-Chief  Richard Wright about the special issue on “Olympic and World Sport: Making Transnational Society?” (June 2012)

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“The Beijing Olympics and China’s National Image: Who was the Target Audience, Really?,”  International Conference on “The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games: Public Diplomacy Triumph or Public Relations Spectacle?,” University of Southern California, January 30, 2009.

Cameo interview and consultant, “Never Perfect” (Single Drop Films, 2007), directed by Regina Park. 

How are ideals of beauty influenced by race, history, and geopolitics? With a rich selection of film clips and archival footage, Never Perfect examines the dramatic rise in popularity of cosmetic surgery among Asian-American women.

Cameo interview in National Geographic Television, “Taboo” Series, "Childhood," S2 E7, segment on Chinese child athletes, first aired January 6, 2004.

Taboo examines how people in different cultures raise children including young gymnasts in China, India children raised in prison, and unsupervised children in Indonesia.

Cameo interview in “The Ultimate Athlete: Pushing the Limits,” directed by Scott Hicks, first aired on The Discovery Channel, June 9, 1996.

"Susan Brownell: Profile of a National Champion," Documentary Short by Jon Macht, project completed for USC Film School, 1983.

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At USC film school in 1983, filmmaker Jon Macht wrote, directed, filmed, edited and produced the short film Susan Brownell: Profile of a National Champion, a documentary short about the USA Olympic Pentathlete. Macht traveled to the University of Santa Barbara in California to film Brownell training for the US Olympic trials under USA Olympic Women's Track Coach Jack Griffin. Brownell would later move to China and become an expert on sports in China. She later was a professor at Yale University teaching anthropology and the role of sports in society. Jon Macht has worked in all aspects of movie and television production for the last 35+ years and was involved in the Star Trek television series for Paramount Pictures, Babylon 5 series at Warner Brothers and is writing, directing and producing in Hollywood today. 

Athletic Double for Patrice Donnelly in "Personal Best," Directed by Robert Towne, The Geffen Company (1982)

At the 1980 Olympic Trials, Robert Towne recruited me as the athletic double for Patrice Donnelly, a 1976 Olympic hurdler who did not really need a double. I sat around all day long and do not appear in the film. I worked a total of six weeks and saved up $6,000, a large sum of money in those days that partly funded my graduate education and lasted me nearly until I completed my Ph.D. in 1990.

"Tory" wears my University of Virginia uniform in the movie, since the original plan was to incorporate Trials footage.

The film was pathbreaking in its time for its adulation of athletic female bodies and its depiction of a lesbian love affair, along with the fact that its male frontal nudity did not earn an X rating.

Review by Roger Ebert

Robert Towne's “Personal Best” tells the story of two women who are competitors for pentathlete berths on the 1980 U.S. Olympics team--the team that did not go to Moscow. The women are attracted to one another almost at first sight, and what begins as a tentative exploration develops into a love relationship. Then the romance gets mixed up with the ferocity of top-level sports competition.  

What distinguishes “Personal Best” is that it creates specific characters--flesh-and-blood people with interesting personalities, people I cared about. “Personal Best” also seems knowledgeable about its two subjects, which are the weather of these women's hearts, and the world of Olympic sports competition.


 حكاية الأولمبياد.. سياسة في مضمار الرياضة  [“The Olympic story: Politics in the field of sports”], Lahtha Podcast, Al Jazeera Podcasts, November 11, 2021.

 “The Fight for the First U.S. Olympics – Passing the Torch,” Season 36, Episode 4, American History Storytellers podcast, August 11, 2021.

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Podcast interview by Tom Fabian about Niko Besnier, Susan Brownell, and Thomas F. Carter, The Anthropology of Sport, New Books Network, July 15, 2019.

Global Sport Conversations - Professor Susan BrownellSOAS Radio
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“The Disastrous 1904 Olympic Marathon,” Our American Stories website, March 5, 2021.

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Global Sport Conversations - Professor Susan Brownell: On spaces and bodies in global sport. SOAS Radio, January 7, 2019.

Radio interview by Lara Hamdan, “UMSL professor Susan Brownell is studying hospitality at the 2018 Winter Olympics,” St. Louis Public Radio, February 8, 2018.

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“Episode 36 - China's Return to the Olympics,” “Sport in the Cold War,” Cold War International History Project, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, September 2016.

“Susan Brownell on China’s Bid to Host the 2022 Winter Olympics,” Videos & Podcasts, The US National Committee on US-China Relations, March 12, 2015.

Interviewed by Jeffrey Wasserstrom, “A New Kind of Spectacle: How China Changed the Olympics,” The, July 27, 2012.

Open Anthropology's guest editor, Niko Besnier, interviews anthropologist Susan Brownell of the University of Missouri, St. Louis, on sports as a topic of study by anthropologists and on her fieldwork in China on sports. Recorded for the special issue on "Sport, Pleasure, and Violence," edited by Niko Besnier for Open Anthropology vol. 2, no. 2, June 2014. 

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