South Africa: Olympic Games Underline That Politics Is Sport and Sport Is Politics


Politics and sport are curious bedfellows but there is no escaping the fact that they are inextricably linked. Yet the International Olympic Committee, which is ironically a hugely political entity masquerading as a sports organisation, does its best to separate politics and sport.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

In an age of social media and easy dissemination of information and messages, both real and fake, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) remains mired in the past.

Earlier this month the breathtakingly arrogant organisation that "owns" the Olympics amended Clause 50 of its charter to allow athletes more freedom to express their political and other views. As if they didn't have the right to do that anyway.

Previously the clause stated: "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas."

The new guidelines allow athletes to express their views but only on certain platforms at certain times. One of the times that is definitely off limits is on the podium, during a medal ceremony. Another is during the opening and closing ceremonies. If those rules are breached the IOC has a lengthy list of sanctions it can...

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