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Are the Olympics Necessary?


This has been an absolutely horrible week for the International Olympic Committee. On Sunday, CBS’s 60 Minutes interviewed a Russian whistleblower who claimed Russian gold medal winners at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games took banned substances. The New York Times has printed a similar story. Then came the news that the Brazilian Senate has started an impeachment process against the county’s President, Dilma Rouseff with Rouseff having to step aside as the Rio Summer Olympic Games opening in less than 100 days. Rio 2016 was already on the road to disaster with funding issues, pollution problems and the zika virus. But those two items might not even be the worst of the issues.

The UK-based Guardian newspaper is alleging that someone connected to the 2020 Tokyo bidding committee bribed an IOC delegate which helped Japan win the 2020 Summer Games. French investigators are looking into a money transfer of $1.5 million US from the Tokyo committee to a Singapore bank account. French prosecutors have decided to investigate the bidding process for both the 2016 and 2020 Summer Games. The IOC is said to be cooperating with French authorities although in March IOC President Thomas Bach denied that there was any corruption in the bidding process for the 2016 and 2020 Summer Games. The whole concept of an international sports competition is a good notion however there are questions of money improperly changing hands too many times in the bidding process and the IOC has stuck local taxpayers with incredible bills for the right to hold the Olympics along with rules imposed on local residents from protesting the Games to covering municipal owned billboards. The IOC acts more like an authoritarian country than what it is a sports organization. But this sports organization also has special observer status at the United Nations. Why anyone wants the Olympics today is a question that needs to be asked and answered.

By Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner


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