Friday, August 17, 2012

Olympics and Politics

“The re-establishment of the Olympic Games, on a basis and in keeping with the needs of modern life, would bring together, every four years, representatives of the nations of the world, and one is permitted to think that these peaceful, courteous contests constitute the best form of internationalism.” Pierre de Coubertin, January 1894

“No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas...No form of advertising or other publicity shall be allowed in and above the stadia, venues and other competition areas, which are considered as part of the Olympic sites. Commercial installations and advertising signs shall not be allowed in the stadia, venues or other sports grounds.” Olympic Charter Rule 51
It is evident that the above two quotes are not followed today, especially the second one. Throughout the modern era the Games have provided a stage upon which the great political and social stories of the day have been played out – from debates about the participation of women in the early years of the twentieth century, through cold war diplomacy, the politics of race and freedom of speech, to today’s concerns about human rights, regeneration, security and corporate influence. However, we should never forget the deeper meaning of the Olympics and how the Games are a celebration not an arena for emphasising our disunities

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