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North Korean Missile Testing Impacts Olympics

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President Lee Myung-bak, members of the PyeongChang Bidding Committee and with a delegation of Pyeongchang residents cheer as Pyeongchang was selected as the Games' host at the IOC general assembly in Durban, South Africa. Pyeongchang will host the 2018 Winter Olympics after beating Munich and Annecy as the IOC vote results are announced in Durban. Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

North Korea’s missile launch over Japan has sent a chilling message to both the United States and Japan but the International Olympic Committee, which has permanent observer status at the United Nations, is not making many public comments about the increasing tensions between the United States, Japan, South Korea and North Korea.

The IOC President Thomas Bach usually interjects his opinion into world events but he is sitting this one out. Bach should have a major worry. One of the two IOC showcase events, the Winter Olympics, will be held next February in South Korea. The other showcase event, the Summer Olympics will take place in Japan in 2020. A look at the map shows South Korea sharing a border with North Korea and Japan is not very far away. South Korea wants North Korea to send athletes to the 2018 Winter Games. That is not likely to happen.

Bach said very little. The truth is simple. The International Olympic Committee, which thinks it has some special place in world affairs, has no power. Sure the IOC can make demands of potential host cities that include having local taxpayers pick up the bills of cost overruns or close off roads in order for IOC officials to get to a venue without having to sit in traffic. But it is up to local politicians and elected officials to cave and give into the IOC.

When it comes to real world issues, Thomas Bach and his colleagues at the International Olympic Committee are paper tigers and have no teeth. The IOC talks about legacy but what is the legacy of the 1984 Sarajevo, Yugoslavia Olympics? That country no longer exists. The IOC put an Olympics in Beijing in 2008 despite protests from human rights organizations about China’s policies. As long as there is money, The Games Must Go On, no matter the conditions.

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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