Politics & Olympics | Free Word

there have been a number of times throughout Olympic history when individual athletes have made political gestures to draw attention to particular situations from the two most famous are Cathy Freeman in 2007 II Cathy Freeman's an Australian runner of Aboriginal origin and when she won she deliberately carried both an Australian and an Aboriginal flag with her the other most famous one probably comes from 1968 when a number of black American athletes particularly Smith and Carlos used the medal podium to make a Black Power salute the exhibition politics and Olympics is as the title suggests is about the intervention if you want in the relationship with politics throughout the Olympic Games history a modern Olympic Games were started in 1896 with the first ones being held in Athens the original vision was obviously very narrow as a very elitist the main founder was an aristocrat most of the original Olympic Committee were aristocrats members of the House of Lords high-ranking academics from different countries so it was a very elitist vision it's a very timely exhibition as Britain prepares to host the Olympics we're all at Olympic fever pitch and there's a huge amount of official discourse going around but we also actually want to look at some of the tensions there some of the hypocrisy Tsar playing and look at what other people are saying beyond those in positions of power there's always been a politics in the Olympics I think what's happened is over time the politics have become an awful lot more obvious as wider global issues have been played out in the Olympics I think the first really to do that was cold war politics so which China do you recognise which Germany which Korea it then really came to the fore in the 1960s over South Africa when the IOC through South Africa out of the games because of apartheid what are the values that we are subscribing to what are the values that perhaps we are ignoring you know some of those issues around the sponsorship some of those companies one wouldn't be quite sure that they represent the values that we hope Britain is holding close to its heart corporate sponsorship has a massive part of Olympics now and some may say too big but there is a historical story there really if you look at 1908 in London you know the games were part of the franco-british exhibition essentially a trade fair and people going into the stadium walked through the halls showing off all the exploits of British and French industry before they got to the games what's changed what's different is the level of sponsorship now we completely understand that coca-cola or McDonald's or BP pay huge amounts of money to be the only soft drink fast food restaurant petrol supplier linked to the games we fully understand them but when we're told that we can't even take our own pack lunch into the Olympic Park because that's going to conflict with the presence of the biggest McDonald's in the world that's when I think people get very uncomfortable about the relationship there have been a number of times in the Olympics history that they've been hit by terrorism from external political groups or in one case an individual I think the Olympics have become attractive to that kind of horrific tragic attention because they are so big one of the Palestinians involved in the Munich hijack said that by attacking the Olympics they would get more attention than if they bombed the Vatican and the White House that's a really really chilling image I think it's important to remember that while Munich and Atlantis stand out as examples of external organizations or individuals attacking the Olympics there's also been a very famous example of the state carrying out acts of terror on his own people around an Olympics the most famous one is in Mexico City in 1968 they've been heard there was a military dictatorship they did a lot of protests from student groups over the course of the summer arbitrary arrests arbitrary imprisonment without trial and in October 10 days before the Olympics started 10,000 students protested against the government and the Mexican government responded that they had snipers from their own Olympic Brigade planted in the crowd who started shooting which gave the cue for the army to shoot back and the fatality is that nobody's come down with hard and fast on this they vary from 30 to 300 there are over a thousand arrests next day and guess what ten days later the Olympic went as if nothing had happened I think this exhibition acts as a provocation as a springboard to the kind of events that are happening in this building the exhibition is not necessarily pro or against Olympics it's I think it's a it's an important research project as such which uncovers and unfold stories that could allow people to position themselves either Pro Olympics or anti boots or just you know have a critical understanding of the Olympic Games it's all about opening the debate up about pointing out the different kinds of politics of the games if it's anti anything it's an anti naivety exhibition it just wants to show a parallel reality that is never in a way communicated through the mainstream media you you

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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