Monday, 7 April 2008

Politics and the Olympics: My Humble Opinion

There is no larger special event in modern times than the Olympics. No event musters more of a host nation's pride, creativity, and sustained planning than this international extravaganza. It is an opportunity seldom presented that has such commercial and emotional influence on all the nations participating.

In my opinion, however, it should NOT be a forum for politics. The time for making choices based on politics is during the selection process for the host nation. The time is not immediately before or during the games. If the ideal of de Coubertin as "a way for the countries of the globe to become more connected" is to be followed true to the letter, then once a decision is made for a country to host the games, politics must be left behind. Those who continue to use the games as a forum for their political agendas will eventually cause those games to be lost to history forever. Indeed, history has proven that once a civilization loses its focus on the true reason for a large public event, that event soon deteriorates and becomes extinct. Egypt, Rome, Greece, and a host of other ancient civilizations have seen this happen. The various boycotts of the modern Olympics have been hard on the Olympic movement and if the current furor over Tibet continues (a complex problem, by the way, that dates back to the Mongol Empire of the 13th Century), it may be the beginning of the death knell of these games in modern times. Those who suggest boycotting the games or any part of them are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

But that's just my humble opinion.