The Olympic spirit

Leaving aside various questions that are still begging for an answer – such as: How much did the Olympics cost? What was the size of the debt bequeathed by the Games? Who exactly profited from the projects? To what extent were civic rights undermined? And what was the damage done to the country’s international profile as a result of security-related allegations? – one could raise another question. If the US and EU governments as well as other states really think that global terrorism poses an immediate threat to the Olympic host country and if they really think that the perils necessitate a string of security measures such as changes in the legal code, violations of civil rights and military mobilization including the deployment of NATO troops, then why should we go on staging the Olympics in the modern world? Indeed is there any connection between the security measures for the Olympics – that were revived a century ago by the Baron Pierre de Coubertin, an admirer of the Olympic ideal born in ancient Greece – and what we now universally understand as sports? Terrified governments, anxious crowds, and nervous athletes surrounded by security cameras, policemen, secret agents, special military forces, NATO commandos and anti-aircraft missiles – all these are barely compatible with the spirit of the Olympic ideal. Even if one admits that the Olympic Games are not a pure sporting event but a global commodified fiesta, it is still hard to swallow the anti-terrorist hysteria in which they will take place. The modern Olympics are anything but a «celebration of sports and peace» – unless our intention is to ridicule these concepts.

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