OLYMPIC AND POLITICS
Posted on December 13th, 2021

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

The Olympic games have been subjected to politics since 1936, the refusal of some Western countries to boycott the Winter Olympics (2022) in China is the newest politics and China has reacted that countries like Australia, the US, Canada and New Zealand would be subjected to consequences, and the politics in Olympics might lead to economic relationships and what would be the measures that China has planned to implement is not clear. Politics in Olympic games is a less emphasis point, however, the story of politics in Olympic games would provide a broader knowledge about the game history and to understand how international events used to spread propaganda.

Many accept that Nazi abuses in the Berlin Olympic games of 1936 were the first evidence of politics in the modern Olympic games. Since then, different organized politics have been assiduously worked for a long time, and so-called human rights abuses of China against the Uhgher community have become to originate new politics in the Winter Games in 2022. As people are involved in the games, it is easy to assume that the involvement of politics cannot avoid whether athletes are like to politics or they don’t. The vital nature that could be observed in politics is unidentified powers are behind politics.

When the Olympic games were forming in 1887, Baron de Coubertin had to get the consent of politicians of different countries and he could not organise the International Olympic Committee as an independent body that purely represent the wishes of the people. It is observable that the representatives to the committee from many countries have political links and they should make hidden representation for the political link. The political influences of modern Olympic games have a long history and the political influences have been increased since 1900.

The second obvious evidence of politics in the Olympic games was recorded in 1956 in the Melbourne games. There were two international political events that people were talking about. The first event was the Russian invasion of Hungary and the British and French Invasion of the Suez Canal was the second. They were not related to games. The Netherland and Arabic countries pulled out from the 1956 Olympic games in protest at these two political events.

African Nations threatened to boycott the 1968 Mexico Olympic games and because of this threat, the International Olympic Committee reversed its decision to readmit South Africa to the Olympic games. The 1968 Mexico Olympic games were the most violent Olympic ever recorded in Olympic history. Ten days before the Olympic games over 10000 protesters, many of them university students gathered in Plaza De Las Tres Cultures in the centre of Mexico City for the protest and without warning the Mexican government opened fire with rifles and machine guns and the army dropped grenades by military helicopters. In this incident, 300 to 500 died on the spot and over 1000 were injured. It was so violent and recorded regrettable violence despite the peace expected by peace-loving athletes, but the Mexican government claimed only four persons died. This incident had wide publicity in the world and sport loving people question why is such an incident incurred and what was the use of such a violent game festival for the world?

The London Daily Telegraph reported the incident as one of the bloodiest assaults on a civil group that had taken place anywhere in the world for the past twenty-five centuries. The best observation was recorded by Chris Brasher, a Gold Medallist in the 1968 Games, that they were killing people when I arrived in Mexico City on the night of Wednesday the October 22nd”. Many people living today are out of knowledge about the records of politics and many have an idea that the game spirit should not be disturbed by politics. When it is talking about politics the involvement of money with the politics of the Olympic Games could not be ignored and money has been an incentive for politics despite that many critics don’t talk about it.  

The Olympic Committee for Human Rights in the United States was organised by Harry Edward, a prominent Californian activist who specialized in racial politics in sports. Two US runners, Tonic Smith and John Carlos, protested against American racial discrimination by wearing black gloves and socks and making the black power salutes and bowing their heads during the US anthem.” This circumstance showed that how did the Olympic games could have been used for politics for various human issues in countries.

In the 1972 Munich Games, the German government expected a cheerful game intending to erase the Nazi abuses of the 1932 Berlin Games, Moshe Weinberg, an Israel Wrestling Coach was killed by eight members of the Black September Group, El Fatah and they took the custody of ten Israeli hostages.  The Black September group demanded the release of 234 Palestine guerrillas and German terrorists, Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof. Later, ten Israelis were killed and the Black September group was provided with a plan by the German authorities to be flown to an Arabic country. The politics in the Olympic game have gone too far and the organized structure of the games was abused by terrorist-style political groups.  The division of International political administration would have the major reason for violent politics in the games. The visible aspect of politics in the Olympic Games was the division of political groups based on philosophies or leadership or any other reasons.  That situation complicated issues and intricate the manipulating a solution to the demand that was complicated and arduous to solve.

Further, the 1976 Montreal games were boycotted by Africans and the American president, Jimmy Carter influenced 62 countries to boycott the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 to display the disapproval of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The politics further revealed in the Los Angeles Games in 1986, many East European countries boycotted it and the International Olympic Committee is in a difficult situation to avoid politics.

Although the common people of the world disapprove of politics in the Olympic Games the experience indicates that politics have become the major event in the game. The other significant aspect of politics is internal political parties and organizations and others play politics selecting players to games from countries and in many instances have selected players who are not the best spirit in countries. This type of politics dominates in developing countries.

The politics in the Winter Games in 2022 seem to involve political and economic arguments that should have not been considered because the economic backwardness created by the COVID 19 forced the world to cooperatively work the economic problems.       

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