Politics in sports


Gennady Marichev

Gennady Marichev

Either a new flag will be raised or a new target will appear after Russia

Either a new flag will be raised or a new target will appear after Russia
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The fundamental principles of Olympism, no matter how they are now distorted, still remain:

  • The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.

  • The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

  • Recognising that sport occurs within the framework of society, sports organisations within the Olympic Movement shall apply political neutrality. They have the rights and obligations of autonomy, which include freely establishing and controlling the rules of sport, determining the structure and governance of their organisations, enjoying the right of elections free from any outside influence and the responsibility for ensuring that principles of good governance be applied.

  • The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
    (Ref. Olympic Charter, in force as of 26 June 2019; were modified by the 136th Session on the 17 July 2020, p.p. 11-12)

Initially, positioning itself outside of politics, the International Olympic Committee acted as a kind of arbitration force, whose task was to at least slightly comply with the declared principles. The presidents of the Committee Until 1964 were somehow able to do this. But since 1964, when the countries participating in the GANEFO games (Indonesia, North Korea) got in the middle, everything gradually got crazy. I won`t be giving specific examples of boycotts and political tensions that arose, but there were many of them and they accompanied all subsequent Olympic Games. By the way, if we recall the infiltration of politics into sports, we should mention the ban on German athletes to participate in the 1920, 1924 and 1948 Olympic Games.

Since 1952, when the athletes of the USSR appeared in Helsinki, a great duel began, which became a symbol of all the Olympic Games of 1952-1992. Classic two examples, the reaction of US President John F. Kennedy to the defeat of American athletes in Rome. Kennedy said that any medal for American athletes at the Games is proof of the US advantage not only in the economy, but also in politics. The second example: the boycott of the Olympic Games in Moscow was initiated by the US government. But even then, the countries refused themselves, expressing their position, but they were not persecuted by sports federations.

But it wasn`t easy to cope with the Soviet Union, that pursued an active peace-loving policy. To do this, it was necessary to divide the work in two stages: to replace amateurism (the cornerstone of the Olympic movement) with professionalism, and then the sport was simply commercialized.
The collapse of the USSR, as an objective factor, and the election of “convenient” IOC presidents (starting with Samaranch), as a subjective guide, simplified this process. TOP partnership programs made it possible to fully commercialize not only the Olympic, but the entire sports movement.
The invasion of politics into sports destroyed not only all the principles of the Olympic movement. It ruined the sport itself. Of course, this destruction does not happen in one day or a year. The same as the fall of the Roman Empire, this will happen over a period of time. Russia has been chosen as the main target, and what is happening now is not a piece of news, it is a pattern. The most active actions began in 2014, and Russia itself did everything to speed up this process, due to the complete absence of its representatives in the executive committees of sports federations.

Olympic sport has been privatized, but those who pursue this goal will face failure, not a successful commercial project. 140 countries participated in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. But the absence of only one country — the USSR — made these competitions provincial.

Now is the most favorable time for non-participation and discrimination against ourselves and the formation of parallel structures. Of course, this is not a one-year question, but when, if not now?

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