Queen's University

Olympic Games not just an athletic competition, but a venue for controversy: Queen's University expert

2014-01-30

Queen’s University sports expert Geoffrey Smith is available to discuss the history of terrorism at globally-watched sports events, such as the Olympics.

“The Olympic Games must be understood not only as a competition involving the world's pre-eminent athletes, but as a venue and conduit for current cultural and political controversies.  This year's winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia, follow a long tradition, which is as old as the modern Games themselves.  Russian President Vladimir Putin has stamped his signature on the Games as no other political leader--and there can be no doubt that he will be fortunate if nothing untoward transpires,” says Dr. Smith. 

Dr. Smith can discuss events such as Adolf Hitler's Berlin Games of 1936, Black Power's emergence in Mexico City in 1968, and the murders of Israeli athletes by the terrorist Black September movement at Munich in  1972.

“So here we are again, in 2014, with these Games very much a part of the current troubled political and cultural scene--the need for security against terrorism, at the Games themselves and nearby; gender questions raised by Russian homophobia, and U.S. President Barack Obama's determination to meet that problem head-on; and the overall feeling that global corporations have taken over this event, turning it from athletics into a powerful force for sales.   Pundits and commentators will have much grist for their mills.”

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Rosie Hales at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or rosie.hales@queensu.ca, or Anne Craig at 613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca.

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Last updated at 3:38 pm EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
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