Andrew Roberts: Olympic Ideals Don't Match Reality
Mr. Roberts, a historian, is author most recently of The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War (Harper, 2011).
The 2012 Olympiad, which opens in London on Friday, will doubtless witness another astonishing exhibition of sporting endurance and excellence. It will also see yet another outburst of utter drivel from its organizers about what the Games themselves can achieve for the human spirit. Enjoy the former by all means; abjure the latter at all costs.
"The longest national Olympic torch relay in history will create a spirit of community and world citizenship," claimed the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, in 2009, adding this year that, "Through the Olympic spirit, we can instill brotherhood, respect, fair play, gender equality and even combat doping." Like every IOC president, he is repeating the view of the modern Games' inventor, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who in 1892 stated that the Olympic ideal represented, "The true Free Trade of the future; and the day it is introduced the cause of peace will have received a new and strong ally."
For all that the IOC trots out these platitudes, the fact remains that if anything it has caused more international bitterness and resentment than it has calmed. Far from finding "a new and strong ally" in the Games, the cause of world peace has been betrayed by the IOC time and again...
comments powered by Disqus
- New Hampshire professors at odds with library over discarded books
- Troubled history fuels Japan-China tension
- Independent Scotland's last gasp forgotten in Panama jungle
- LBJ was the ‘most-threatened president in American history’
- New exhibit at the World War I Museum ... Over by Christmas: August-December 1914
- Ken Burns on Colbert to promote his new documentary, "The Address"
- UC Santa Barbara History Department featuring a series on the Great Society at 50
- Historians are trying to recover censored texts from World War I poets
- Diane Ravitch blasts the NYT for failing to understand the controversy over Common Core
- Mormon history professors debate atheists in bid to foster greater understanding