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Politics & protest

Bidding for, and hosting, global and regional-level sporting events requires huge political capital as well as economic resources. Why do national governments and governing bodies place such importance on hosting events and what do they hope to gain from them? Does the rhetoric match the reality? What happens when other interests and campaigns organisations choose to use the occasion of a 'mega-event' to push forward their own agenda? And what of the players themselves? Whatever you think of the saying that 'sport and politics should not mix', it would be hard to disagree that, at an international level, the two are often tightly bound.


Germany Olympics 1936 stamp (detail) [10KB]

A summary of the issues with an outline of how to approach the subject using the British Library's extensive collections of books, journals and other material.

Olympic values and their dissemination in China 1978-2008

Olympic flame [10KB]

How is Olympism interpreted in China in the wake of the Beijing Games? Professor Ruotao Huang of the University of Physical Education & Sports in Beijing discusses the Chinese view of Olympic values, and how its media has communicated the message.

International Olympic Committee

Olympic flame [10KB]

An event as complex as the Olympic Games is achieved through collaboration between a large range of international, regional and national sports associations. The relationship between these organisations can be complex, and has a long history. This guide to the International Olympic Committee details its interactions with other sporting bodies.

Rings of rhetoric? Examining the political mobilization of the 1988 Olympic Games


Can sport and politics exist independently in the modern world? Amanda Cabral, a student researcher mentored by Dr Lara Killick from the University of the Pacific, discusses the effects on South Korea of the hosting of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.

The Olympic Truce

UN building New York. Copyright UN [10KB]

For Pierre de Coubertin the harnessing of the vigour and vitality of youth to peaceful pursuits was of immense significance, and made up a large part of his justification for holding an international sporting event. Jerry Jenkins, the British Library’s international organisations curator looks at how the Games can play their part in improving international harmony through the concept of the Olympic truce.

The International Paralympic Committee and the regulatory bodies of disability sport

blind runner and guide [10KB]

The IPC, and the regulatory bodies for disability sport have developed over the last sixty years out of a number of pioneering organisations. Andrea Cunsolo traces their history.

Sport, politics & the 1956 Melbourne Games

melbourne olympics stamp[10KB]

The Olympic Games of 1956 took place at a time of great international tension. Kendra Consiglio and Alex Gasiorowski, student researchers mentored by Dr Lara Killick from the University of the Pacific, discuss the sport-politics nexus at these volatile Games.

'The bloody Olympics down under' - Kendra Consiglio

'The ultimate revenge; the ultimate joy' - Alex Gasiorowski

Anti-Olympics protests

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Protests against the Olympics and Paralympics can be driven by both local and international pressures. The internet has helped these groups to make their feelings known. Find out more here.

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