Critical Issues and Questions Concerning the Sustainable Future of the Olympic Movement

  Salepi, Paraskevi. “Critical Issues and Questions Concerning the Sustainable Future of the Olympic Movement.” CHS Research Bulletin 9 (2021). http://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HLNC.ESSAY:102280144.



CHS–International Olympic Academy Pre-doc Fellow in Sport and Society 2020–21

Abstract

The paper presented the events that shaped the course of the modern Olympic Movement in order to approach the research issues that need to be investigated. Emphasis was placed on the challenges faced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and extensive reference was made to the issue of reduced interest in hosting the Olympic Games. Then the scientific interest of the researchers in the field was projected, focusing on the issue of the legacy of the Olympic Games, in order to present immediately after the reaction – action of the International Olympic Committee to the emerging obstacles from which the research questions arise. It followed the discussion about the educational legacy of the Olympic Movement. The connection is being made with the work of the International Olympic Academy (IOA) and the National Olympic Academies (NOAs) which are the educational pillars of the Olympic Movement, since the Olympic Movement is primarily an educational movement, according to the intellectual legacy of Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

Research proposals

It found that in recent years, researchers of the Olympic Movement address the issue of reduced interest in hosting the Olympic Games. The academic community needs, through extensive research, to focus on the problems that have arisen and to propose solutions. According to Salepi (2021 p.225):

Evidence shows that as far as the part of education within the Olympic Movement is concerned, in addition to the IOA and the NOAs, the IOC implements other mechanisms. These concern the Olympic Values Education Program… the International Pierre de Coubertin Commission…, the Olympic Study Centers worldwide.” She continues that it would interesting, in future research, to examine whether the work and the aforementioned actions converge with the work of the IOA and the NOAS or, if there is any kind of opposition and controversy, in the quest for supremacy and primacy within the Olympic Movement.

It is necessary that the successors of Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s work will protect the Olympic Movement and strengthen its educational role. Moreover, as mentioned above, the Olympic Movement is primarily an Educational Movement. The actions that should be adopted immediately, are the cooperation of the bodies of the Olympic Movement with a special academic committee that will undertake the research actions. In this way the resulting knowledge of the academic committee and their proposals can be processed by the technocrats.

According to Müller, as early as 1928, Baron Pierre de Coubertin states the following:

Stadiums are being built unwisely all over the place … once seats for forty thousand spectators are built, you have to fill them, and that means drawing a crowd. To draw that crowd, you will need a publicity campaign, and to justify the publicity campaign you will have to draw sensational numbers … Almost all the stadiums built in recent years are the result of local and, too often, commercial interests, not Olympic interests at all. Now … people are on the attack against the athletes, accusing them of the corruption that has been forced on them for the past twenty years. … In my view, these oversized showcases are the source of corruption at the root of the evil.”

Personal Evaluation for the grant program

A few months prior to the defense of my thesis, that took place on May 2021, I had the delightful opportunity to gain the respected fellowship form Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies.  My acquaintance with the Center for Hellenic Studies of Harvard University took place in 2011 in Olympia when the first symposium was held. At that time, I worked as volunteer for the symposium on behalf of the International Olympic Academy. I was impressed by the presentations that I was lucky enough to attend and also by the dynamics of the symposium. As I come from the field of sports with the main direction of studies the sports administration and the Olympic Movement I was impressed for the evolution and revival of the Olympic Games of antiquity. I thought I would like to do more research in this area. The opportunity arose for me a few years later through this grant. Although, by the time the specific grant started, I had nearly completed my thesis, and although the pandemic hampered the original plans for the grant program, it was a smooth development.

My experience from the meeting in Nafplio in August was stimulating. It seemed how a researcher could find common ground with another researcher from a completely different research field.

The access to the electronic database was helpful for my research but unfortunately I regret did not make use of the grant for purchasing books on my topic.

Sincere thanks along with gratitude goes to the personnel of the Center for Hellenic Studies who is in charge for this program, in specific to, Dr. Christos Giannopoulos (calming force), Evangelos Katsarelis (patient and efficient) and Christina Lafi (sweet and dynamic). Of course the assistance of Marilena Katsadoraki on behalf of the International Olympic Academy was valuable when needed. 

Last but not least, acknowledgement, credits and deep appreciation and gratitude goes to my supervisor, I cannot think of a better one than Charles Stocking for the specific theme. 

Select Bibliography

Brittain, I., Bocarro, J., Byers, T., & Swart, K. (2018). Legacies and mega events: Fact or fairy tales? New York, NY: Routledge.

Boykoff, J. (2017). The Olympics in the twenty-first century: where does Rio 2016 fit in? In A. Zimbalist (Ed.), Rio 2016: Olympic myths, hard realities (pp. 13–34). Washington D.C. Brookings Institution Press.

Chatziefstathiou, D. (2012). Olympic education and beyond: Olympism and value legacies from the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Educational Review64(3), 385–400 , https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2012.696094.

Coubertin, P. (1934–2000). To my hellenic friends. An open letter dated April, 1934. In N. Müller (Ed.), Pierre de Coubertin 1863–1937 – Olympism: Selected Writings (p. 278). Lausanne: International Olympic Committee.

Eyquem, M. T. (n.d.). Pierre de Coubertin: L’Epoque Olympique. Paris: Calman-Levy.

Gratton, C. & Preuss, H. (2008). Maximizing Olympic Impacts by Building Up Legacies. The International Journal of the History of Sport25(14), 1922–1938.

Gruneau, R. (1993). The critique of sport in modernity. In M. J. Dunning & R. Pearton (Eds.), The Sport Process. A Comparative and Developmental Approach (pp.) Leeds: Human Kinetics.

IOA, (2018).Directory of National Olympic Academies.

Flyvbjerg, B., Stewart, A., & Budzier, A. (2016). The Oxford Olympics Study 2016: Cost and Cost Overrun at the Games. Said Business School Working Papers. Oxford: University of Oxford.

Olympic Charter (1991). In force as from 16th June 1991.DidWeDo, S.à.r.l., Lausanne, Switzerland.

Olympic Charter (2018). In force as from 9 October 2018.DidWeDo, S.à.r.l., Lausanne, Switzerland.

Olympic Charter (2019). In force as from 26 June 2019.DidWeDo, S.à.r.l., Lausanne, Switzerland.

Olympic Charter (2020). In force as from n force as from 17 July 2019. DidWeDo, S.à.r.l., Lausanne, Switzerland.

Fourie, J., & Spronk, K. (2011). South African mega-events and their impact on tourism. Journal of Sport & Tourism16 (1), 75–97.

Kaplanidou, K., Al Emadi, Α., Sagas, M., Diop A. & Fritz, G. (2016). Business legacy planning for mega events: The case of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. (2016). Journal of Business Research69(10), 4103–4111.

Karadakis K., & Kaplanidou K. (2012). Legacy perceptions among host and non-host Olympic Games residents: A longitudinal study of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. European Sport Management Quarterly12(3), 243–264 , https://doi.org/10.1080/16184742.2012.680067.

Gursoy, D., & Kendall, K. W. (2006). Hosting mega events: Modeling locals’ support. Annals of Tourism Research33(3), 603–623.

Hiller, H. H., & Wanner, R. A. (2011). Public opinion in host Olympic cities: The case of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. Sociology45(5), 883–899.

Horne, J., & Manzenreiter, W. (2006). Sports mega-events: social scientific analyses of a global phenomenon. Oxford:  Blackwell Publishing.

Jackson, S. J., & Dawson, M. C. (2017). The IOC-State-Corporate Nexus: Corporate Diplomacy and the Olympic coup d’état, South African. Journal for Research in Sport,Physical Education and Recreation39(1), 101–111.

Jago, L., Dwyer, L., Lipman, G., van Lill, D., & Vorster, S. (2010). Optimising the potential of mega‐events: an overview. International Journal of Event and Festival Management1(3), 220–237.

Jones, Z. M., & Ponzini, D. (2018). Mega-events and the Preservation of Urban Heritage: Literature Gaps, Potential Overlaps, and a Call for Further Research. Journal of Planning Literature33(4), 433–450.

Kidd, B. (1984). The myth of the ancient games. Five ring circus: Money, power and politics at the Olympic Games. London: Pluto.

Kidd, B. (1996). Taking the rhetoric seriously: Proposals for Olympic Education.Quest, 48(1), 82-91.

Krieger, J., & Kristiansen, E. (2016). Ideology or reality? The awareness of Educational aims and activities amongst German and Norwegian participants of the first summer and winter Youth Olympic Games. Sport in Society19(10), 1503–1517.

MacAloon, J. (1981). This great symbol: Pierre de Coubertin and the origins of the modern Olympic Games. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

MacAloon, J. J. (2016). Agenda 2020 and the Olympic Movement. Sport inSociety19(6), 767–785. https://doi.org/10.1080/17430437.2015.1119960.

Müller, M. (2015). The Mega-Event Syndrome: Why So Much Goes Wrong in Mega-Event Planning and What to Do About It. Journal of the American Planning Association, Müller, N. (2000). Pierre de Coubertin 1863–1937 – Olympism: Selected writings. Lausanne: International Olympic Committee.81(1), 6–17.

Müller, N. (2000). Pierre de Coubertin 1863–1937 – Olympism: Selected writings. Lausanne: International Olympic Committee.

Parry, J. (2012). The Youth Olympic Games – Some Ethical Issues, Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, 6(2), 138–154.

Preuss, H. (2019). Event legacy framework and measurement. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics11(1), 103–118.

Preuss, Η. (2007). The Conceptualisation and Measurement of Mega Sport Event Legacies. Journal of Sport & Tourism12(3-4), 207–228.

Preuss, Η. (2015). A framework for identifying the legacies of a mega sport event. Leisure Studies34(6), 643–664.

Scheu, A., & Preuss, H. (2018). Residents’ perceptions of mega sport event legacies and impacts. The case of the Hamburg 2024 Olympic bid. German Journal of Exercise and Sport Research48(3), 376–386. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12662-018-0499-y.

Schnitzer M., & Haizinger, L. (2019). Does the Olympic Agenda 2020 have the Power to Create a new Olympic Heritage? An Analysis for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games Bid. Sustainability11(2), 442, MDPI.

Smith, A., Ritchie, B. W., & Chien, P. M. (2018). Citizens’ attitudes towards mega-events: A new framework. Annals of Tourism Research. doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2018.07.006.

Tien, C., Lo, H., & Lin, H. (2011). The economic benefits of mega events: A myth or a reality? A longitudinal study on the Olympic Games. Journal of Sport Management25, 11–23.

Tomlinson, A. (2014). Olympic Legacies: recurrent rhetoric and harsh realities. Contemporary Social Sciences9(2), 137–158.

Waitt, G. (2003). Social impacts of the Sydney Olympics. Annals of Tourism Research30(1), 194–215.

Weber, W. (1970). Pierre de Coubertin and the introduction of organized sport in France. Journal of Contemporary History5(2), 3–26.

Wong, D. (2012). Expect the unexpected? An evaluation of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events4(2), 138–154.Zimbalist, A. (2017). The Economic Legacy of Rio 2016. In A. Zimbalist (Ed.), Rio 2016: Olympic Myths, Hard Realities (pp. 207–238). Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.




Skip to toolbar