PtG Article 02.10.2009

Political doping of the IOC before the election of Olympic host city

The domestic political and commercial marketing of the candidates Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo are contrary to the IOC's bible - the Olympic Charter.

"The Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries".

Thus reads the Olympic Charter, which is the International Olympic Committee, the IOC's constitution - or the Bible, if you will. According to the Charter, the Olympic idea is first and foremost a philosophy of life exalting and combining qualities of body, mind and soul. 

"Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles".

The Olympic Charter also states, that the IOC's 106 members, among other things should fight for equality between men and women, promote fair play in sport, lead the fight against doping and to oppose any political or commercial abuse of the Olympic sports and Olympic athletes.

IOC's 90 men and 16 women shall, according to the Olympic bible "will not accept from governments, organisations, or other parties,any mandate or instructions liable to interfere with the freedom of their action and vote.”

But Danish professor in sports history Hans Bonde has in these days, dominated by powerful leaders from the U.S., Japan, Spain and Brazil, who have come to Copenhagen to support the cities of Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro's efforts to host Olympics 2016, found it very difficult to discern the IOC members' national and political independence.

"One can rightly ask whether the essential for the IOC is sports or politics. If you bring matters to a head, large scale politics have determined who wins the hosting of the Olympics in recent years. When some of the planet's most powerful leaders like Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama chooses to go into the Olympic race of becoming the Olympic host city, it represents a new tendency to politicise in the IOC's history. A new phase in the mixing of sports and politics, which has always characterized the IOC and the Olympics," Hans Bonde says.  ”You cannot take for granted, that the city presenting the most substantial, and the best technically, legally and economically backed bid will win the hosting of the Games.In these days in Copenhagen, state leaders engage in a very strong political manipulation of the IOC members. You can call it "political doping" and ask whether there is fair play in the competition. "

Chairman of the Danish grass root organisation Danish Gymnastics and Sports, Søren Møller, who was invited to the IOC opening ceremony last night by the Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF), agrees with professor Hans Bonde.

"Assuming that the four candidates are equally qualified bids, it becomes hard to get around Rio de Janeiro. South America has never hosted the Olympics. If the IOC means anything by the reason   its members gave for choosing Beijing in China, namely the desire to spread the Olympic sports across the globe and to influence the development of the world community, then Rio de Janeiro will win. Politically and economically, Brazil has in recent years joined the world community and is on the rising. If, on the other hand Chicago wins, it is primarily because of glamour and commercial interests, "says Søren Møller.

The Danish host of the IOC's nine day long session and Congress in Copenhagen, President of the Sports Confederation of Denmark Niels Nygaard, is also concerned by the presence of many state leaders, sports stars and famous media people in the IOC's choice of host city and the subsequent Congress. An event that will bring together representatives from 33 international sports federations, 205 National Olympic Committees and 35 other sports that are not members of the Olympic family.  "There is a risk that many state leaders, limousines and all the glitter surrounding the celebrity foreign visitors overshadows the sport policy content of the IOC Session and Congress. But it is also a risk that we are very conscious of," says Niels Nygaard.



This article first appeared in Danish newspaper Information. It is republished here with kind permission of the author.