Saturday, November 20, 2004

Olympic Ideal

London has just submitted its bid for the 2012 Olympics. Matthew Engel says London should pray for failure (Financial Times, November 20th, 2004). He has many strong reasons against. He then suggests a reason that works both ways.

"If Britain did get the games, it would become the centrepiece of British policy for seven years. It would be impossible to invade faraway countries on flimsy pretexts because to do so would jeopardise the Olympics. This might also be an improvement: fear of alienating the world pre-2008 certainly inhibits China from repeating some of its more flagrant humans rights abuses."

Some think that the Olympian ideal - if it ever existed - has been lost in commercialism and cynicism. But perhaps POSIWID restores something of the Olympian ideal. A country obliges itself to behave in ways that are broadly acceptable around the world. And if this is what the Olympics does, then this is after all what the purpose of the Olympics is.

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