POLITICAL POTENTIAL OF SPORT IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND FOREIGN POLICY
References: 5th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences and Arts SGEM 2018, www.sgemvienna.org, SGEM2018 Vienna ART Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7408-30-0 / ISSN 2367-5659, 19 - 21 March, 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 1.1; 741-748 pp, DOI: 10.5593/sgemsocial2018H/11/S12.094
The article is devoted to the study of sport as a political phenomenon. Although it has traditionally been interpreted as non-political one, its political potential is clear even if a person is not interested in politics at all. Sport has long been a means of establishing national pride and a belief in a population’s physical or at least cultural superiority. For example when boxer Joe Louis avenged his earlier loss to Max Schmeling with a first-round knockout it was considered a victory for American democracy over a perverted German nationalism, not just one boxer over another. The similar situation was in 1972 during the Olympic Games in Munich in the final basketball match between the USSR and the USA, when the Soviet national team defeated the US team on the last second of the match and won the Olympic gold. The importance placed on Olympic athletes’ success during the Cold War is a topic for a separate huge research. Today the political approach to the athletes has evolved not so strong. Significantly, they are still under pressure not only to win medals, but also to unite the population in celebration of both athletic and moral superiority. But nevertheless, even in the political sphere sport can play a positive role. In any case, the manner in which sport provides the chance to connect with communities that bridge political and ideological divides between countries and peoples makes it particularly appealing to those seeking public approval. But it should be outlined, that this concept works only if we speak about fair sport which is free from any political preferences or global political prejudices. The author realizes, of course, that it is impossible to withdraw sports out of politics or vice versa. Sport is a powerful and important political force. But it is most powerful when people are least aware of it—when people believe that nothing important or unusual is going on; in other words, when the politics are hidden or masked, seen as natural or organic. So, our conclusion is simple: it’s not necessary to take sport out of politics, but simply to realize that it is there and to engage it appropriately. Perhaps this realization is the first and most basic “political” act of all.
Keywords: sports, policy, conflict, Olympic Games, boycott.
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