The Political Heritage of the Olympic Games: Relevance, Risks, and Possible Rewards

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 6 (2):108-122 (2012)
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The Olympic movement sometimes claims that sport has nothing to do with politics, yet its goal of promoting peace is explicitly political. The Olympics' association with peace, furthermore, is inherited from the ancient version of the festival which took place in a very distant time and place. This essay examines the ancient political heritage of the Olympic Games and questions its relevance to such modern Olympic challenges as globalisation, cultural hegemony, social discrimination and environmental degradation. It suggests that these challenges are not so different from those addressed in the ancient Olympic Games, and argues that a better understanding of the ancient games' political achievements may increase the modern Olympic movement's chances of realising their own political goals. After all, the basic structures of sport, which underpin the political achievements of the Olympic Games, have changed little over the last 2,500 years



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Heather Reid
Exedra Mediterranean Center, Siracusa, Sicily

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References found in this work

Sport and Olympism: Universals and Multiculturalism.Jim Parry - 2006 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 33 (2):188-204.
Sport and Moral Education in Plato’s Republic.Heather L. Reid - 2007 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 34 (2):160-175.
Preface.Jo Alyson Parker, Paul A. Harris & Christian Steineck - 2010 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 4 (2):XVII-XXIV.
Olympic Sport and Its Lessons for Peace.Heather L. Reid - 2006 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 33 (2):205-214.
Aristotle's pentathlete.Heather L. Reid - 2010 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 4 (2):183-94.

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