chapter  Chapter 7
15 Pages

Politics and the Olympics

ByJohn Horne, Garry Whannel

This chapter explores the international political and economic context that shaped the politics of the Games from the 1960s onwards. The Los Angeles Games of 1984 were the tipping point in the shift to the next phase of the politics of the Olympics. The 1980s saw the second peak of Cold War politics during the Reagan years, and the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the decade. Based upon ideas that the collective public interest would best be served by urban entrepreneurialism and wealth creation via trickle-down economics, the politics of redistribution gave way to a politics of recognition, or identity politics. Jules Boykoff argues that the processes and politics of hosting sports mega-events are precisely a manifestation of a globalized ‘celebration capitalism’, whereby public resources are made available to private interests and for private benefit.