Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type



Political science, Social sciences

Publication Details

British Journal of Politics and International Relations, vol. 22, 2, pp.274-92

Published online:


Sport is widely acknowledged as an important contributor to the United Kingdom’s soft power resources. This article aims to broaden and deepen our understanding of sport and soft power in the United Kingdom through a case study of British expeditions to, and the eventual conquest of, Mount Everest. Based on original archival research, the article demonstrates that British state institutions intervened systematically and strategically to expedite, and massage the story of, the ascent of Everest to burnish British prestige and present a favourable image to the world. In doing so, the article provides evidence that sport has been intrinsic to the United Kingdom’s diplomatic repertoire and soft power assets for considerably longer than existing accounts discern. Moreover, the Everest case offers important cues for contemporary policymakers. In particular, it demonstrates the need for the United Kingdom to project a clear, credible and consistent image if it is to profit from its soft power resources.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.