Olympic traditions of capitalism and corruption continue – people’s world
As athletes and spectators prepare for the ‘sports party’ of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, it is worth thinking about how capitalism is exploiting these international games which were first conceived as an embodiment of fairness. play.
The history of the games is littered with corruption and bribery by host countries, sex verification scandals, doping by athletes vying for post-Olympic commercial sponsorship deals and the influence of advertisers who benefit from a global television audience.
In pursuit of prestige, governments back bids to host the Olympics, spending unsustainable sums of money in the process, construction contracts are awarded on the basis of bribes, venues are often left unused by the result and vast debts must be paid, citizens of the host country poorest.
While the current focus is on the pandemic and concerns over the potential convening of a mass transmission event for the coronavirus, politics and corruption are wired into the Olympic train.
The 2002 Winter Olympics bid scandal involved allegations of corruption used to secure the rights to host the games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to its successful bid in 1995, the city had made four attempts to secure the games, failing each time.
In 1998, members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were accused of taking gifts from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee during the tendering process. The allegations led to the expulsion of several IOC members and the adoption of new IOC rules.
A consulting firm working for the Tokyo Olympic Bid Committee paid around $ 370,000 to the son of then influential IOC member Lamine Diack before and after the Japanese capital was chosen in 2013 to host the 2020 Games, Kyodo News Agency reported last year.
The payment is said to be part of the $ 2 million transferred by the bid committee to Black Tidings, a now-closed Singapore-based consultancy.
Tsunekazu Takeda, the then president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, admitted to signing the $ 2 million payment and was indicted in 2019 by a French court on corruption charges. In 2019, the IOC disclosed assets of over $ 5 billion and a cash surplus of $ 74 million in its financial accounts.
After Montreal’s huge financial losses at the 1976 Olympics, Peter Ueberroth, head of the Los Angeles Olympic Committee organizing group, sold the exclusive official sponsor rights to the highest bidder in various categories of companies.
Now almost everything is commercialized, with official items ranging from credit cards to beer. And while American decathlete Bill Toomey lost his Olympic eligibility in 1964 for approving a nutritional supplement, athletes now openly endorse everything from allergy medications to jeans.
Fifty years ago, after debates about amateur versus professional participation, the IOC also legitimized the sponsorship of athletes by sports organizations and private companies.
In 1984 some of the best athletes in the world were still banned from the games because they competed for money, but in 1986 the IOC adopted rules that allow the international federation governing each Olympic sport to decide whether to allow whether or not professional athletes to participate in Olympic competitions.
Professionals in ice hockey, tennis, football and equestrian sports were allowed to participate in the 1988 Olympics, although their eligibility was subject to certain restrictions. At the beginning of this century, the presence of professional athletes at the Olympic Games was common.
Far from devoting its original ideals, games have become synonymous with bribes, cheating, corruption, organized in countries with high levels of poverty and inequality where the practice of sport is anchored in households. rich and middle class and junk food advertising contributes to the entrenched poor health of working class children.
The morning star