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Cold War And Olympic Games Essay

1800 words - 8 pages

Avery Brundage, the president of the International Olympic Committee from 1942 to 1972 declared : “We are dead against any country using the Games for political purposes, whether right or wrong. The Olympics are competitions between individuals and not nations.” Unfortunately, the statement of the president did not prevent the Olympics from 1956 to 1984 to be a platform for Cold War hostilities. The Cold War is defined as a state of hostilities between the Soviet bloc countries and the Western powers after the Second World War . The Games were clearly representative of the tensions of the Cold War and were even sources of it. Governments of several states used the Games for political ...view middle of the document...

The Games were of course held in the planned city, raising vivid reactions from the International Olympic Committee : Lord Killinan “considered the American administration completely ignorant about the politics and structure of the modern Olympics”.
But the American did not participate and led another fifty countries to act the same way . In that sense, the Soviet Union were deprived of the international acknowledgement it was looking for.
The Soviet’s reaction was pretty provocative towards the United States. Indeed, Novikov, said that the selection of Moscow to hold the Games “became a signal for attack to which rallied not only open anti-Soviets but also opponents of Olympism, all who openly or secretly struggle against peace and international cooperation.” The United Stated wanted to show one of the weaknesses of the Soviet Union but the latter did not get dashed, on the contrary, it used it in order to prove one of the American weaknesses. The two countries were then eager to have an occasion to devaluate the “enemy” by emphasizing one of its bad points.
The Soviet boycott of the Los Angeles Games of 1984 were then the response to the American non participation. The Soviet used the fact that the city was too dangerous as a reason not to attend the Games, and that according to them, the Americans’ organization did not match the Olympic Charter. But some critics saw this move as a means to attack the United States, especially because it was a period of presidential elections and that the Soviet Union aimed at hamper Ronald Reagan’s reelection. Furthermore, the Soviet boycott was followed by only twelve other communist countries, which can be seen as a failure. But this did not demoralized the Soviet Union, on the contrary, they were pretty proud of themselves.
But just because the Soviets did not attend the Games did not mean that they did not comment them. Indeed, they showed a provocative behavior, criticizing the organization, the fairness of the judges, and claiming that if they had participated, they would have won a lot of medals. Even the newspapers showed irony towards the Games : “Sovetskii sport questioned whether, in view of the rampant criminal use of guns in Los Angeles, the starters’ pistol shots would be even audible”.

The Olympic Games are have also been a means to reinforce one’s ideology. We can see that with several events that took place during the period. First of all, the Games of 1956 were the second ones the Soviet Union attended. Previously, there had been a great fear because of these newcomers : “their basis fear was of possible Soviet expansion into a manipulation of the Olympic movement for its own purposes “. In 1952, for their first participation, one can remember that they were isolated, they were in a separate housing and posted a large picture of Stalin on the outside of their building. They even considered the fact of staying in URSS and crossing the border everyday to participate to...

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