Olympic Movement & International Politics

A confrontational coexistence over time

T he relationship between the Olympic Movement and politics has gone through many changes and levels of conflict, as both these social forces have a different starting point and different target. On the one hand, the Games are based on a warm and strong co-existence of different peoples, religions, ideologies and cultures, targeting brother-hood, solidarity, humanism and consolidating world peace. On the other hand, politics attempts to take advantage of any fertile ground to flex its muscles and to gain an advantage, able to assist in imposing any idea expressed each time. Over the 120 years of its lifetime, the Olympic Movement’s relation-ship with politics went through three major historical phases. The first started with Pierre de Coubertin’s noble idea to revive the Olympic Games up until a short time prior to the 2nd World War. The second phase started dramatically before the end of the 2nd World War and spans the years until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Without a doubt this was the most difficult period for the Olympic Movement. The third phase is what we have lived through over the last 30 years, with political interventions in the Olympic Games gradually ebbing and the IOC reversing what had previously been the status quo, to impose its own terms in this relationship between sports and politics. Today the Movement is autonomous and imposes its might internationally in the pursuit of world peace - in which it is called upon to play an increasingly creative role. This is a new era for the Olympic Movement, with an enhanced role on the international political chessboard, which requires the Movement to impose its autonomy.