The Summer Olympic Games staged in London during August 2012 once again reaffirmed the powerful impact this seminal sporting event has upon a host nation. Aspects of the event's influence are of course related to sporting achievement but increasingly the Olympics is being used as a prism through which to view a variety of other issues, including cultural integration, security and high finance. This piece outlines in more detail some of these issues and provides a perfect introduction to a more in-depth scrutiny of a range of topics to follow throughout this collection.