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Sport and Politics

            For this essay i will use the example of The Olympic Games, as the most politicaly controversial sports event of the year.
             In reality the Olympic Games, in their own small way, do help promote peace. Proponents say the Olympics create international harmony because the Games are apolitical. But the Games aren't apolitical at all. Politics are inseparable from the Games, and nationalism is a big part of what has made the Olympics such a huge global success.
             It was the France who gave the Games political significance for the first time. Pierre de Coubertin (French aristocrat, who founded modern Olympics 1892) - a patriot who saw international sport as a way of reviving France's grandeur and might. By organizing the Games along national lines, he deliberately tied them to national prestige.
             It wasn't long before countries recognized the propaganda value of gold medals and began to subsidize their Olympic teams, but it happened. Today, "How much do i get if i win" system is used by countries all over the world, to subsidize the athletes that show remarkable results not only duaring The Olympics, but also for high results gained for the achievement in various kinds of international sport events. For example Virgilijus Alekna who was recently awarded for bringing the fame back home with a men's discus gold medal and with the first place in the world championships this summer.
             Politicians and the public came to believe that the Games tested not just the valor of the athletes, but the health and vitality of the nation itself. High medal counts in the Games produced national exultation, while poor performances could provoke paroxysms of national self-doubt.
             During the Cold War, many observers thought that all those gold medals piled up by Soviet and East German athletes were a sign that the "Free World" was in danger of losing to communism.
             This thinking has given the Olympics a political importance that makes participation imperative for all countries.