Geopolitics In The Olympics

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Since the first Olympic Games in 1896 winning the Olympics meant more than just a medal, it showed the power that the winning country possesses. Although the Olympics are meant to show peaceful amiability between all counties, geopolitics is still a factor in the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee President states “sport can only contribute to development and peace if it’s not used as a stage for political contest, have the courage to address your disagreements in a peaceful direct political dialogue and not on the backs of athletes.” Many historians ask if geopolitics was a factor in the Olympics during the Cold War era. The answer isn’t an opinion; geopolitics has never been absent in the Olympics and that is especially true for the Cold War. The Cold War was a battle for political power that will dominates the rest of the world. The idea that this was a battle for power explains the arms race, Korean War, Vietnam War and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Logically, this need to upstage the opposing super power leaked into international sports competition. With all this competition whirling around during the Cold War, the Olympics became a literal race against communism or democracy. As geopolitics played such a major role in the Olympics during the Cold War era, athletes’ fates were ultimately altered. In order to understand how the Cold War affected the Olympics, we must understand the Cold War its self. The Cold War started as World War II was ending; in February of 1945 the Yalta Conference was attended by the three ally powers, Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The conference’s main topic of discussion was the reorganization of post-World War II Europe. In May of the same yea... ... middle of paper ... ...organized retaliation with Operation Wrath of God. This operation systematically killed the remaining members of Black September and since then Palestinians and Israelis were at each other’s throat to defend what they each thought was rightfully theirs. The athletes that were murdered could have lived completely different lives if they had not met death so suddenly. Their death was caused by a trickle effect from the Cold War, if the Balfour Declaration didn’t happen then Jews wouldn’t have a homeland, which would lessen the tension between Israelis and Palestinians, which ultimately would mean that Black September would have no need to take Israeli athlete hostages that fateful morning and these athletes could have lived through the Olympics and gone home safe to their families. In the end global tensions are to be blamed for the massacre that occurred in Munich.

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