I am frequently asked, "Must politics be a part of the Olympic Games?" My answer is "yes." Why are world leaders planning to meet over gold medals rather than a "cloth of gold"? My answer is that the Games in many ways have always been a major international political playground, and the events of 2008 simply follow in that tradition.
Arguments that the Olympics have a sacred character fuel all sides in the dispute over the Beijing Games. Defenders say that politics should not sully this "sacred" event and its "sacred" attributes such as The Flame. Attackers argue that the decision to give China the Games was itself obviously political, and that China does not deserve to host this special and mystical celebration. Defenders invoke the Games' mystique and conjure up visions of "Olympic truce" in ancient Greece. "Sport – you are peace!" "Keep politics out of sport!"
Long before athletes had been selected and construction finished, the Beijing Olympic Games became embroiled in political controversy. People all over the world have focused on the event to express their displeasure with China's human rights record and its policies in Tibet. While these are the issues of 2008, University of Wisconsin historian Al Senn reminds us that politics and sport have always been intertwined at the Olympics. His essay puts the politics of the Beijing Games in historical perspective.
The hot topic of this year's Olympics seems to be "boycott." Protesters argue that China's human rights policies, especially in Tibet, make Beijing an unworthy host for the celebration of human athletic prowess in the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. Olympic officials, on the other hand, speak piously of keeping politics out of sports competition.
The Olympic Games have a magic appeal for people around the world. Yet, there is also a secular political dimension of this enchanting process that remains just as important a characteristic of the Olympics, even if it is at times shrouded in the pomp and circumstance.
Politics plays a highly influential role in most aspects of American sports. Of particular note, is the recent use of prominent sports personalities by politicians in the current presidential campaigns to help push for votes. Their endorsement is believed to help sway young people who place hero status on sporting legends. In addition to this, politics influences policies affecting sports on a regular basis. The National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity is one of several organizations that lobby for Federal government funding in promoting sports for health. They also push for policies governing physical activity in America. Government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control also institute programs like community and state physical programs besides keeping track of national physical activity statistics.
It is basically a cultural exchange, but unlike a traveling art exhibition…sport exhibits the state’s relative sense of political and economic strength through its prowess as a competitor on the playing field” (120).
“But really only the media and the upper classes know who he his.”That didn’t stop a crowd of Indians gathering round to have their picture taken with him at the India Gate in central Delhi.The business delegation travelling the Mayor – including the chairmen of Standard Life, Berkeley Homes and John Lewis – looked on bemused as Indian security guards shooed away children trying to sell him sweets and jewellery.Mr Johnson took the frenzied attention – and the cases of mistaken identity - in his stride, looking deeply relieved he hadn’t slipped into anonymity after all.
The excessive pressure to win has resulted in athletes using illegal means to boost their performance. The consistent discovery of doping in Olympic class athletes shows the desperation associated with winning a medal and veers off the ideals of fair play and friendship. Nationalism has also played a part in this by placing political pressure on athletes to represent their home countries well. This may later be used as leverage by countries that do well to lobby for the hosting rights of the next Olympics. Of wider significance than the games, is the festival of national representation that runs through the bidding process (Sugden & Tomlison, 2012).
Every hosting country is expected to put its “best foot forward” in hopes it can make a good impression on the thousands of eyes watching (Politics always an issue).
While the Olympics does showcase the world’s finest athletes in the largest sporting event to occur every four years, the Games also represent the politics, economy, and people of each nation.
Dr Paul Dimeo awarding of the Games to Moscow and the subsequent politically- motivated boycotts has a Explaining India's Olympics Performance | The Diplomat 20 Aug 2016 The Olympics are almost over.
Research has identified the five main political uses of sport as a vehicle for Interference of politics in sport - Sportstar 8 Mar 2003 Suresh Kalmadi, President, Indian Olympic Association, calls the decision In more than one essay, the Baron feared the Games he revived in Review Essay: Understanding Olympic Tourism - University of Stirling Review Essay: Understanding Olympic Tourism.