Comprehensive Essay on Politics and Sports



The relation between politics and sports is as old as politics or sports are themselves. The games and sports have always been promoted by various rulers. From time to time holding of first Olympics to its present scenario, selection of players, opening of institutes for physical education, politics makes its presence felt.

Age of the Olympic Boycott :

International political tensions led to the Olympic Games greatest tragedy. Twelve Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games. Although individual countries have declined participation in the Games as a means of political protest throughout the history of the modern games, the 1976 Montreal Games introduced what some have called the "age of the Olympic boycott," Seventeen African and Arab nations boycotted the Montreal Games protesting New Zealand's violation of the international sports ban of South Africa.

Four years later, a number of nations, led by the United States, boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games in protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan, Citing concern for the security of its athletes, the U.S.S.R organized an Eastern Block boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Controversial Games :

Controversies are arised in sports due to the effect of political tensions, Although the goal of the Olympic Games is to bring together the athletes of the world in peaceful competition, the games often have been affected by political tensions. The most controversial games in modern Olympic history were the 1936 Berlin Games. German Chancellor Adolph Hitler used the Games as propaganda for Nazi ideology. Prior to the Games, several nations called for a boycott in protest of the anti-Semitic policies enacted by Hitler's National Socialist Government. The tragedy of World War II still shrouds the memory of the Berlin Games.

Racism and Sports :

The 1950s witnessed the emergence of Cold War tensions. At the 1956 Melbourne Games, nearly 40% of the Hungarian Olympic contingent defected rather than return home to a country that had been recently invaded by armed forces from the Soviet Union. During the 1960s, human rights issues confronted them to expel the Republic of South Africa from the Games, in 1964, for its recist apartheid policies. At the 1968 Mexico City Games, African-American athletes visibly protested the discrimination against blacks in the United States. The image of American sprinter Tommie Smith and John Carlos standing on the victory stand with clenched fists in black gloves remains etched in Olympic memory.

Demand of Peace :

The IOC's most assertive political voice, however has sounded in the name of international peace. Former President, now Honorary Life President of the IOC, Juan Antonio Samarach, of Spain, has championed the ancient tradition of the Olympic Truce. The truce calls upon the cessation of all hostilities and warfare during the period of the Olympic Games. Perhaps the most compelling moment of the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games came at the Opening Caremony when Semarach asked attendants and viewers worldwide to observe a moment of remembrance for the Olympic City of Sarajevo and pleaded for a cessation of fighting in the war-torn former Yugoslavia.

Gender Issues in Sports :

During the 1960s, the Olympic Movement has concerned itself with gender issues. The IOC has called for the greater involvement of women in the governing structures of sport.

Sports in India :

In India to the political leaders made provisions for the promotion of games and sports ever since independence. Efforts has been put to set up Tara Chand Committee (1948), Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur Coaching Scheme (1953), All Indian Council of Sports (1954). National Plan of Physical Education & Recreation (1956), Lakshmibai College of Physical Education (1957), National Fitness Corps (1965) and LNCPE given the status of Deemed University. Despite tight economic conditions first Asian Games were conducted in Delhi in 1951, later in 1982 and in 2001 first Afro-African Games were conducted.

Conclusion :

Hence politics is and will remain an integral part of sports. Our political leaders decide the fate of sports in the country-decision of India and Pakistan not to resume cricket ties. The question of race and sex in sports too is affected by political implications. Political leaders used sports to promote nationalism and at the same time for political propaganda. Hence its upto the political leaders and the government to boost sports in the country.