Sport and Moral Ethics Bring Dilemma of Olympic Proportions as Nations Brandish Political Tools to Compete - or Not - on World Stage; as a Coalition of Nobel Prize Winners and International Athletes Calls on Olympics Host China to Abandon Its Support for Sudan, Catherine Jones Reports on the Age-Old Issue of Whether Sport and Politics Mix

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 21, 2008 | Go to article overview

Sport and Moral Ethics Bring Dilemma of Olympic Proportions as Nations Brandish Political Tools to Compete - or Not - on World Stage; as a Coalition of Nobel Prize Winners and International Athletes Calls on Olympics Host China to Abandon Its Support for Sudan, Catherine Jones Reports on the Age-Old Issue of Whether Sport and Politics Mix


Byline: Catherine Jones

I MAGINE, four years from now, if British troops are still in Iraq as the UK prepares to host the Olympic Games.

What if, as the global sporting occasion draws closer, a handful of countries announce they are refusing to take part in an event hosted by a nation which is participating in what they believe to be an illegal war?

Would Britain feel piqued that by boycotting its big event, others were deciding the nation's policies, moral and political, on their behalf?

Would it see they had a point about human rights and the preservation of human life and decide to withdraw from the conflict? Or would it take the view that sport has little to do with politics and should remain simply an arena where physical prowess is put to the test?

"I think sport and politics are both inextricably linked and uneasy bedfellows - when you think about it, the Olympics are naturally politicised," says Dr Calvin Jones, senior lecturer at Cardiff Business School, whose work focuses on tourism, sport and economics.

"It was used as a political tool by South Korea to bring itself on to the world stage.

It was used by Los Angeles to make a statement about the vibrancy of the place and cement the local mayor's position.

"The Olympics is inextricably linked to politics. It may be hosted by a city but the country's bid is typically presented by a head of state and has to have the backing of the government."

With the approach of the Olympic Games in Beijing this August, a letter of protest, organized by a group of Nobel Peace Laureates, is demanding that China stops trading with Sudan, whose regime is considered responsible for the carnage in Darfur.

Signed by eight Laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu as well as many international public figures, it criticises China's President Hu Jintao for providing succour to a government "that continues to carry out atrocities against its own people".

Human rights activists have accused China, said to buy around two-thirds of Sudan's oil exports and which sells weapons to Khartoum, many of which end up in the Darfur conflict - of being partly responsible for Darfur's chaos.

Around 200,000 people are believed to have died in the region in the past five years, mostly black Africans at the hands of Arab militias alleged to operate with government backing, and rape and sexual violence continues against women.

Following on from the withdrawal of the Holly wood film director Steven Spielberg as artistic adviser to the 2008Games, the Laureates' letter - which states China has a "special role to play in ensuring that its actions this year are commensurate with the Olympic ideals of peace and international co-operation" - has further brought to the fore the uneasy of alliance of sport and politics.

But beyond support for those who highlight and call for an end to such atrocities, should sporting events be employed as catalysts for political debate?

Looking at past attempts to use sport as a tool for bringing the world's attention to a particular country's moral standards, does the threat of boycott really pack such a powerful punch?

When the US boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games, did it achieve anything more thana tit-for-tat riposte by the Soviet Union four years later when the Games were held in Los Angeles?

Dr Jones says, "It depends what boycotters want. In the case of China, the best-case scenario would be that having had the light shone on them, the government says, 'We are going to give Tibet back and stop the death penalty,' but that obviously isn't going to happen.

"If the objective is to spotlight the country's abuses - and if the involvement of Steven Spielberg draws attention to this - then it's done the job, and might be considered part of a much longer process.

"I don't think there's any sense in which a boycott will change things. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Sport and Moral Ethics Bring Dilemma of Olympic Proportions as Nations Brandish Political Tools to Compete - or Not - on World Stage; as a Coalition of Nobel Prize Winners and International Athletes Calls on Olympics Host China to Abandon Its Support for Sudan, Catherine Jones Reports on the Age-Old Issue of Whether Sport and Politics Mix
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.