The Politics of Sport

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Jan 4, 2020
Sport, according to the International Olympic Committee, is not just about finding out who can run faster or jump higher – it’s about inspiring all of humanity. The goal of Olympism, as defined by the Olympic Charter, “is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”

Then there is the financial angle. Sport is big, big business. The Olympic brand is worth more than Google’s. And Forbes recently pegged the total value of the 50 biggest sports teams in the world at $53.69 billion.

With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that sport is so often politicized. Sporting heroes become national heroes. National teams become stand-ins for a country’s power on the international stage. Medal counts become a measure of collective worth.

Below, OpenCanada considers the political aspects of sport, from the culture of cheating, to women’s rights, to the power of the Olympic boycott.
Jan 8, 2020
The Nazis used the Olympics to manifest Arian superiority. During the Cold War the Olympics became the premier sporting venue to demonstrate the heroic capacity of capitalism over communism and vice versa, accelerating in the meanwhile the arms race of doping on both sides of the ideological divide. This was handled within both corporate deep state and state sponsored praxes, even with national intelligence agencies getting involved. Apparently the 1960 Rome games were a watershed moment in raising the scientific bar of doping in sport generally. Inflated revenues have promoted corruption, illicit deals, bribery, fraud, Mafioso governance, both on and off the playing fields, above all in the host state planning, development and putting on of the games themselves. It is hardly any wonder that the IOC is among the most problematic and shady institutions in the world today, along with its surrogate FIFA (for which the Brazil World Cup finals were exemplary in this regard), the IMF and the arms trade. Yet Olympian athletes are supposed to evidence the epitome of human virtue, clean living, and patriotism. As such they become the celebrated role models of national (and nationalistic) glorification. And who could forget the tragic political stage the 72 Munich summer games provided for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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