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“The Olympics are unreformable, and I think, on balance, they do more harm than good,” David Goldblatt, author of The Games: A Global History of the Olympics, told The New York Times.
With the delayed 2020 games set to begin later this month in Tokyo, despite an increase in COVID-19 infections in Japan, the Times explored the question of whether the numerous issues surrounding the Olympics outweigh the joys of competing in (for athletes) and watching (for fans) for two-weeks every for years. Unsurprisingly, there’s more than one response out there, but while few people are in favor of abolishing the Olympics outright, the consensus seems to be that the games can’t operate the way they do right now. Key complaints, the Times writes, are “corruption in host bidding, a lack of [International Olympic Committee] accountability, and a dearth of athlete rights.”
There’s likely no easy fix, especially when it comes to reshaping the I.O.C, which has long been susceptible to vote buying in the host bidding process and often appears to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses taking place in host countries. “You choose your membership, you’re totally untransparent, you have an appalling track record of corruption that you have not sorted out, you actively exclude critics and independent voices from your inner circles, you refuse to engage with your critics,” Jules Boykoff, a professor at Pacific University who has authored several books on the Olympics, told the Times. “How are we going to reform anything with this?” Read more at The New York Times.