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Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly clear for more and more people that the procedural format of Olympic Games, as we know it, has grown outdated. The indirect proof of this statement’s legitimacy can well serve the fact that, as of this day, the attendance rate at the currently ongoing Olympic Games in London has hit its all times low. In its turn, this caused Games’ organizers to resort to rather unconventional methods of increasing the number of spectators, “Faced with this awkward situation (the low rate of attendance), the London Olympic Committee invited security guards to fill the empty seats. This, however, was criticized by the media” (Zhang par. 7). In this paper, I will aim to explore the validity of the earlier suggestion at length, while outlining the main reasons why I think Olympic Games should be banned.
It now became a commonplace practice among many people to think that one of the main purposes of Olympic Games is to help the participating athletes and the spectators to embrace the spirit of apoliticalness – hence, advancing the cause of peace and tolerance in the world. Another assumed positive aspect of Olympic Games is that they are believed to promote physical culture. The earlier mentioned suggestions, however, are far from being considered as such that represent an undisputed truth-value. After all, the staging of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens (1859) was meant to serve the clearly political cause of celebrating Greek victory over Turks in what it is now being known as the Greek War of Independence.
Ever since the early 20th century, the factor of politics has been playing an ever-increased role, within the context of how Olympic Games used to be staged and within the context of what accounted for the process of defining the Games’ locale and content. This, however, did not make Olympic Games less popular. Quite on the contrary – as history indicates, the more there was politics to the staging of every particular Game, the more it was capable of attracting Media’s attention, and consequently spectators. The extent of Olympic Games’ politicization has reached its peak during the course of the Cold War, when these Games were commonly perceived as the sporting manifestation of an ongoing confrontation between the U.S. and its allies, on the one hand, and the USSR and its allies, on the other. This was exactly the reason why it is was namely throughout the course of the Cold War, when Olympic Games used to enjoy a huge popularity with people, throughout the world.
Nevertheless, ever since the world has ceased being bipolar, in the geopolitical sense of this word, the element of politics has been affecting the Olympic Games’ staging less and less. The ongoing process of Globalization contributes to this tendency, as well. After all, the process of world becoming ‘flat’ has resulted in the creation of a situation that, as of today, the very concept of a national sovereignty is being deemed inconsistent with the realities of a post-industrial living (Ohmae 5). What it means is that Olympic Games can no longer serve the purpose of providing a stage for the political competition between countries to be transformed into the sporting competition – with the exception of North Korea, there are simply no more de facto independent countries being left in the Globalized world.
As of today, the staging of Olympic Games is being essentially concerned with providing both: the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the host-countries with the opportunity to generate huge commercial profits. As Sreberny noted it, “Global sport is obviously big business, as is media coverage, and both function to extend the global reach of capital. Eleven key sponsors to the IOC enjoy agreements lasting over four years to include one summer and one winter event… The broadcasting rights revenue to the IOC from the games exceed $1.5 billion” (12).
In its turn, this explains why the International Olympic Committee is now being commonly referred to as the one of world’s most corrupted international organizations. This simply could not be otherwise – the members of this Committee are being in a position to unilaterally decide in favor of a particular country, where the next Olympic Games would be staged, without having to thoroughly substantiate their decision, in this respect. This naturally makes them prone to bribery, “The things IOC members would trade for their votes? Cash. Sex. College places for the kids. Hip replacement operations. Cosmetic surgery…” (Jennings 392).
However, it would be wrong to think that the element of corruption solely affects the decision-making process, on the part of International Olympic Committee. As practice indicates – the very process of athletes competing with each other cannot be discussed outside of the specifics of these athletes’ doping-techniques. Even though that the Olympic Games’ participants are being required to undergo a doping-control procedure, before being allowed to compete, it does not represent much of a secret that the overwhelming majority of these participants do take illegal stimulants, in order to increase their chances of winning (Maennig 70). One of the reasons why it is being the case is that the Olympic athletes are professional sportsmen, which means that their financial well-being directly relates to their ability to score wins. However, for those who strive to score sporting wins, as their life’s foremost priority, the related ethical considerations have absolutely no importance, whatsoever.
What makes things even uglier, in this respect, is the fact that doping-related practices do only result in inducing a number of long-term negative effects on the adult Olympic athletes’ health, but on the adolescent athletes’ health, as well. After all, it does not make much of a secret that many female Olympics athletes (particularly gymnasts) that represent China and Russia are only 13-15 years old. Yet, just as it is being the case with adult professional athletes, these children are also being forced by their coaches to take illegal stimulants – it is solely their ability to win Olympic medals that matters and nothing else.
Thus, it is not only that the Olympic Games’ very format has become outdated, but also as time goes on, these Games are becoming increasingly less capable of emanating the true spirit of sport. Instead, these Games are now being progressively associated with the notions of corporate greed, corruption and immorality. Therefore, it would only be logically to demand the Olympic Games’ banning, as such that had effectively ceased serving the purpose of providing spectators with a high quality sport-related entertainment, on the one hand, and with popularizing physical culture, on the other.
I believe that the earlier provided line of argumentation, in defense of the suggestion that humanity would indeed benefit from having Olympic Games banned, is being thoroughly consistent with the paper’s initial thesis. As it was pointed out earlier – the very realities of a post-industrial living in the Globalized world predetermine such an eventual development.
Jennings, Andrew. “Investigating Corruption in Corporate Sport: The IOC and FIFA.” International Review for the Sociology of Sport 46.4 (2011): 387-398. Print.
Maennig, Wolfgang. “On the Economics of Doping and Corruption in International Sports.” Journal of Sports Economics 3.1 (2002): 61-89. Print.
Ohmae, Kenichi. Next Global Stage: Challenges and Opportunities in Our Borderless World. Upper Saddle River: Wharton School Publishing, 2005. Print.
Sreberny, Annabelle. “Contradictions of the Globalizing Moment.” Global Media and Communication 1.1 (2005): 11-15. Print.
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Zhang, Hao. “Low Audience Attendance hits London Games.” CNTN. 2012. Web.