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Olympic ideals and the limitations of liberal protest / Helen Jefferson Lenskyj

Jefferson Lenskyj, Helen

Idealist rhetoric has served the interests of all players in the Olympic industry for more than a century, and continues to do so, despite global resistance campaigns and indisputable evidence of the International Olympic Committee’s self-serving hypocrisy. Much of this rhetoric has its origins in nineteenth-century Europe, as expressed by Coubertin, the founder of the modern games. In Western democracies, propaganda that invokes Olympic ideals and values floods the media, the school system, and even the academy. Many liberal critics have relied on idealist arguments, apparently in an attempt to appeal to Olympic leaders’ and sponsors’ sense of decency and commitment to the moral principles embedded in the Olympic Charter. However, reliance on idealism has become so exploited and tainted by Olympic industry leaders that its use is both unwise and ineffective. History has shown that these principles have repeatedly been ignored by the IOC, national Olympic committees, international sports federations, bid and organizing committees, and athletes. A more productive approach to Olympic protest calls for politicians and business leaders in bid and host cities to assess all the economic, social, and environmental costs associated with hosting the Games.

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