chapter  9
16 Pages

Torchlight temptations: hosting the Olympics and the global gaze: David Rowe and Jim McKay


The Olympic Games is much more than the festival of sport that runs in a chosen location for a few weeks every four years. Of wider significance is the festival of national representation that runs through the bidding process to the announcement of the successful host, the seven years until the Games are actually held, and the immediate and long-term assessment of the Games’ successes, failures and overall legacy. This Olympic cycle has at its heart the politics of representation and, in particular, contestation over the power to project the enduring image and to write the orthodox history of each Olympiad. Therefore, hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games is always a delicate and risky exercise for the local organising committee, because it must satisfy the competing demands of three main audiences: the International Olympic Committee (IOC), foreign visitors and TV audiences, and the local population.