Factors behind Lebanon's difficulties achieving success at the Olympics / Nadim Nassif

Nassif, Nadim

Lebanon’s record in international competitions is meagre. Since 1948, the year the country first participated in the Olympics, Lebanon has won only four medals: two silver, and two bronze. The last medal was obtained in 1980, during the Civil War that had ravaged the country from 1975 to 1990. Since 1992, the year of the first post-conflict era Olympics, only 11 athletes qualified for the Winter and Summer editions, but none won a medal. For the same period, countries such as Estonia, Georgia, and Jamaica with smaller populations and lower gross domestic product were able to win 20, 32, and 58 medals respectively. What are the reasons behind this condition? Is it the low public funding for sport? Is it rampant corruption gangrening the Lebanese sport structure? Or is it the fact that the sport sector, similar to any other public sector in this country, is a mere arena of struggle among political parties; thus, unable to provide the proper conditions for the establishment of an efficient national elite sport policy? This paper seeks to answer these questions by thoroughly examining the historical aspects of the Lebanese sport system.

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