Wednesday, March 26, 2008

[olympics] politics versus sport

Well, you know, this is a tough call:

The problem is China's human rights record in Tibet, which it has ruled since annexation in 1949. On March 10, anti-government, pro-Tibetan independence protests started in the capital of Lhasa to mark the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against the Chinese Communist Party's rule. It turned violent four days later. Tibet's government-in-exile estimates 140 people have since been killed by Chinese troops.

It never alters, the politics and sports dilemma:

Freney was the major organiser, with Meredith Burgmann, of the demonstrations during the 1971 Springbok tour of Australia. The protestors, through their theatrical antics, caused this to be the last such tour; it was a major setback for the apartheid regime in South Africa, and a mind-altering event in Australia.

Right back to Hitler's time and before:

From the very beginning of the project, Hitler recognized the political value of architecture as a vehicle to proselytize Nazi Socialism and he mandated that not only should the stadium be constructed entirely with German materials but that in appearance it must enhance the collective tribalism that would resurrect the majesty of the Volk.

One of German fascism's first major architectural statements, the entire Wagnerian scale venue reflected the chauvinistic agenda of the Third Reich: statues and reliefs celebrated Aryan athletic youth, the Maifeld's four stone pylons were named after early Germanic tribes (Frisian, Franconian, Saxon, and Schwabian), and the Dietrich Eckart Amphitheater underscored Greco-German links--both real and imagined--to the new regime.

Sometimes it's not even for a public cause - do you remember the abandoned 3rd Test at Headingley in 1975, when vandals dug up the pitch and poured oil into it to prevent further play?

So yes, China is using the olympics, drug riddled and corrupt as it is and the question remains - should the olympics be abandoned and along with it all the idealism associated with it and the only real chance of international cameraderie?

The sense of friendship, even (dare I venture the word) cameraderie, the world en fete? Sure I think the Games will be great for London, but I find that the sport is the least attractive element and isn't that a shame for a sports nut?

Or look at the achievement of actually getting to the olympics:

The Afghan Olympic team has plenty of problems with run-down facilities and a woeful shortage of funds, but only Mehboba Andyar. the sole woman competitor, has had to prepare herself mentally for the biggest challenge of her life while dealing with sinister midnight telephone calls, the open derision of her neighbours and even police harassment.

You cancel the olympics and sure you comment on woeful human rights records and the whole thing but you also kill aspiration, hope, the cameraderie of youth and idealism.

Sure we can do that and then sink into our slough of despond or we can acknowledge the appalling hijacking and perversion of de Coubertin's ideal and concentrate more fully on the spirit of man as demonstrated by the bringing together of so many diverse elements of humanity from around the world.

It's not an easy issue.

May joy and good fellowship reign, and in this manner, may the Olympic Torch pursue its way through ages, increasing friendly understanding among nations, for the good of a humanity always more enthusiastic, more courageous and more pure. [Pierre de Coubertin]


Wolfie said...

What worries me is the way that the games bankrupts smaller countries like Greece. Its become an obscenely expensive showing-off contest and lost most of the original sporting ideals. I think it should (sadly) end.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Or perhaps metamorphize into something different.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You know my opinion: if you want to get the politics out of sport, you have to stop all the anthem- playing and flag-waving. I always thought it was mental to stage the event in China.

Verlin Martin said...

"all the anthem- playing and flag-waving."

You mean get the countries out of sports? A lot of people have pride and love for their country without having anything at all to do with politics.


Bring the Olympics back to Much Wenlock:

and, as in 776 BC, cut it to one event, the stadion:

One event, a laureled brow and undying fame for one winner; the losers sneak home shamefaced - and everybody can pay their own way, just like in ancient times.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Maybe they should use existing facilities only.

Don said...


May I suggest a link related to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games?

Our site:

Title: Beijing Olympics

Please let me know if you want a link back.
Many thanks for your reply.

Best Regards,