Journal of Business Ethics 35 (2):131 - 142 (2002)

John Smith
University of Alabama
The backlash against the Olympic Games reflects the failure of the major global institutions in dealing with the social and ethical consequences of globalisation in areas such as the environment, poverty, terrorism and natural disasters. Disillusionment with the Olympic Games mirrors the disenchantment with the perceived values of globalisation, including winning at any price, commercial exploitation by MNCs, intense national rivalry, cronyism, cheating and corruption and the competitive advantage of advanced nations. How could the Olympic Movement reverse this perception? The most important change would be in the area of leadership. Revitalising the Olympic spirit will require a revolution at the IOC. Character, credibility and communication will be the critical success factors. Before appointing the next President of the IOC, there is an exciting opportunity to reconceptualise the Games as a platform for building a framework of global values to counter-balance the naked economic priorities currently dictating the pattern of globalisation. In reinventing the Olympic Games, it is important to recognise that the modern Games are based upon an anachronism. The idea that amateur sport is both the key to individual moral development and world harmony is largely an invention of the British aristocracy, whereas the original Greek Games not only celebrated the classical ideal of `a sound mind in a sound body', but also involved professional athletes and commercial activity. In making the Olympic Charter relevant to the 21st century, and in making the Olympics more than just a speculator sporting event, there is a strong case for the Games to include a wider spectrum of activities, including arts programs and policy forums, which address the well-being of all humanity in a competitive global economy.
Keywords Philosophy   Ethics   Business Education   Economic Growth   Management
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1013015331517
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