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The Olympics: Politics, Scandal, And Corruption

3744 words - 15 pages

ABSTRACT: The purity of the Olympics has been smeared by scandal, corruption, boycotts, political disputes and even acts of terrorism. Sadly, politics have taken control of the Olympics and turned it into a political and money-making extravaganza. Olympic boycotts became a way for countries to protest each other. Hitler tried to use the Games to prove his belief of racial superiority. Wars interfered with the Olympics. Bloodshed even covered the Olympics, in the 1972 Munich Games where terrorists killed eleven Israeli Olympic members. Unfortunately, throughout Olympic history, politics have overshadowed the true focus of the Games. They were "intended to unite the countries of the world through friendly competition" not segregate them through politics (Siggers 1).

Politics have obscured the true meaning of the Olympic Games. Sadly, the intervention of politicians has caused the destruction of the Olympics' golden halo. The purity of the Olympics has, since their resurrection in 1896, been politically led. Scandal, corruption, boycotts, and political disputes have smeared the Olympic innocence.

The Games have always been an easy target for political protests, bitter disputes, and even acts of terrorism. The Games are no longer about sportsmanship and athletic competition, they are now about nationalism and whose country is the better country. The Olympics were "intended to unite the countries of the world through friendly competition. Unfortunately, since its founding, international feuds and disputes have found their way in to the Olympics" (Siggers 1).

Early Greek Olympics were not immune to the political virus. They used the Olympics to show off their prominent cities and to gain support from their communities. During the Early Olympics a truce was instated, a halt of wars during the Games and also enough time before and after for safe travel. Greeks had to suspend legal disputes and postpone capital punishment sentences until completion of the Games. Early Greek politicians took advantage of the Games by using it as a tool to promote their city's importance (Hellenic World).

Politics started to overcome the Early Olympics when the Romans took over Greece. They not only restructured the stadiums, but also the Games themselves. These new Games began to greatly stray from their origins until Emperor Theodosius I, being disgusted with the games, cancel them in 393 AD. The Olympics remained canceled until 1896 when Pierre de Coubertin fought to start the Modern Olympic Games. He did so with the intention of promoting peace, unity, and sportsmanship through athletic competition. He knew politics would be a part of the Games, but not to the extent that they have become. Over time, politics has taken over to make the games into so much more than friendly competition.

Politics has been evident almost from the beginning of the modern Olympics. At the 1908 London Olympics, American flag bearers refused to lower their flag in front of...

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