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The Olympics were revived in 1896 thanks to Pierre de Coubertin. Since its reemergence in 1896, the modern Olympic movement has been shaped and influenced politically through the tensions between countries, economically through financial gain opportunity, and socially by promoting women’s rights. Another document I would like to have seen would be one containing a record of third world countries that have attended the Olympics. This document would have shown how wealth effects and shapes the modern Olympics. After reading all of the documents thoroughly, I noticed that most of them had a political significance behind them.
Bob Matthias, a United States competitor in the 1952 games spoke about how enjoyable it was to bead the Soviet Team (Document 4). The reasoning for such a strong opinion against one’s competitors was not merely just a competitive nature, it was more. The cold war had been going on, and Soviets were back in the games for the first time since 1912. In contrast, the information guide that was provided to the members of the press in 1980 (Document 6) talked highly of the Soviet Union; this is no surprise considering in how it was published by the Soviet Union’s Olympic Committee.
The Olympics were boycotted in 1980 as a result of the Soviet’s invasion of Afghanistan. It’s interesting to see how after twenty eight years, tension between two countries can still be just as intense. Arnold Lunn, a British Olympic team official at the 1936 games held in Germany said “Germans sought to prove not that they were better skiers than other people but more importantly, that Nazism was better than democracy. ” If that’s not a profound statement, then I don’t know what is. When it comes to winning the games, all in all, it was Adolf Hitler who gained the most.
Except his rewards were different, instead of winning the gold, he scored propaganda success. The “Nazi Olympics” seemed to have quite a different meaning behind them than what Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, had intended (document 1). He wanted the Olympics to be about the actual sports, and if it did affect politics in any way, he wanted it to be positive and beneficial for all, not just one Country. No matter what, people always manage to find a way for an activity or organization to benefit them in some way. This is no different for the
Olympics. Throughout time, the Olympics have become an opportunity for many countries to gain economically. Rytaro Azuma, the mayor of Tokyo was incredibly grateful for the 1972 Olympics when he spoke in a magazine interview. He said “Without the Olympics we might not have gotten what we needed to rise as a world trade power. ” This shows that leaders used the Olympics to help out their economy in any way possible. Even corporations took steps to ensure that they could make some money off of the Olympics. However, Korea failed to do that in 1988.
In the Japan Economic Journal, it states that Korea failed to avail itself of an opportunity to display it’s industrial an economic power to a worldwide television audience. ” Even television and radio broadcasts made millions of dollars off of the Olympics (Document 9). So in the end, it wasn’t just the athletes who “got the gold. ” As much as the issue of “equality” is pushed on a generation like todays, it is almost impossible to imagine a time when women like Nastia Liukin and Kristi Yamaguchi wouldn’t have been allowed to compete in the Olympics.
In 1908, the percent of women athletes was a mere 2 percent (document 2). Many years later, the amount of women athletes rose to 29 percent. Hassiba Boulmerka, an Algerian competitor in the 1992 games said “A lot of women in my country are capable of becoming athletes, but not psychologically, they don’t think so. They have to become stronger in the mind, not just in the body. ” Boulmerka’s optimism for women athletes simply would not have existed in 1908.
Perhaps it was the positivity in the air around this time that made him look at women with such high hopes. Considering in how the Soviet Union had come to an end, and the Dream Team was dropping the jaws of everyone, it is effortless for one to assume that being positive was not a hard task. However, an Olympic loss can have the opposite effect on a nation. It can lower the self esteem of a country and suck the hope out of citizens. Ali Kabir was passionate about the importance of his country’s success in the 2002 games.
When Pakistan lost against their rivals, India, it was an embarrassing defeat, one that left them shamed. Although all of this may be true, I doubt the credibility of Kabir because he may have over dramatized it in order to appease his readers. In a nutshell, the Olympics have been massively affected over the time span from 1892 to 2002. Factors that enabled this metamorphosis to take place include: political tensions between countries, economic opportunities that arose, and the social impact through the endorsement of Women’s rights.