The Olympics and the Influence of Politics In Sports

Posted: August 7th, 2013

The Olympics and the Influence of Politics In Sports







The Olympics and the Influence of Politics In Sports


The spirit of Olympism is based on the ideals educating people about equality and the importance of all cultures by supporting and encouraging sports as one of the humanities. This would blend culture, education and sport. Today’s Olympics have tried to keep the games aligned to these ideals, but despite a few unifying occasions, the games have veered off the original humanistic goals.

One aspect demonstrating this is the increased commercialization of the Olympic events and athletes. The prominence of sponsors takes away the focus from the use of sport as an avenue for equality by promoting elitism. A few athletes are thus placed on a pedestal above other athletes. This places a focus on winning to get a result for sponsors. Personality cults also form around a few prominent athletes. The media have also played a major role in the promotion of inequality due to the aspects of the games that they choose to promote. The International Olympic committee should engage the media in promoting the importance of all athletes who make it to the games. Tokens of appreciation should also be given to all participating athletes.

The excessive pressure to win has resulted in athletes using illegal means to boost their performance. The consistent discovery of doping in Olympic class athletes shows the desperation associated with winning a medal and veers off the ideals of fair play and friendship. Nationalism has also played a part in this by placing political pressure on athletes to represent their home countries well. This may later be used as leverage by countries that do well to lobby for the hosting rights of the next Olympics. Of wider significance than the games, is the festival of national representation that runs through the bidding process (Sugden & Tomlison, 2012).

The promotion of sports as a right to all for the joy of sport is also not a priority today. The idea of super Olympic athletes promoted by the media discourages the average person from participating in sport. It is ironical that countries that perform well in the Olympics like the United States and the United Kingdom also have high obesity rates. This can be resolved by using the Olympics as a platform to sensitize people worldwide on the importance of sport to human health and dignity.


Politics plays a highly influential role in most aspects of American sports. Of particular note, is the recent use of prominent sports personalities by politicians in the current presidential campaigns to help push for votes. Their endorsement is believed to help sway young people who place hero status on sporting legends. In addition to this, politics influences policies affecting sports on a regular basis. The National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity is one of several organizations that lobby for Federal government funding in promoting sports for health. They also push for policies governing physical activity in America. Government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control also institute programs like community and state physical programs besides keeping track of national physical activity statistics.

The promotion of sports plays a crucial role in the creation of government policies. The Bush administration formed an advisory council on sports and physical fitness to encourage national participation in sports. The goal was to promote the overall health of Americans. Cities and states across the United States also offer financial incentives to sports facility buildings. Part of the motivation is the keep professional sports active in their cities. Numerous government policies have historically provided taxpayer subsidies and other financial assistance to various franchises in the professional sports leagues (Jozsa, 2003).

The good governance in the United States promotes sports as it influences productivity in all spheres. The 2012 American Olympic team garnered the most medals. The fact that they had excellent training facilities, medical care, food and equipment, played a major role in their success. The stable political environment, made all this possible.





Jozsa, F. (2003). American sports empire: how the leagues breed success. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.

Sugden, J. & Tomlison, A. (2012). Watching the Olympics: politics, power and representation. London; New York: Routledge.

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