Politics in Sports

Topics: Munich massacre, Summer Olympic Games, Israel Pages: 6 (2108 words) Published: May 7, 2012
The Olympic Games are a worldwide competition that brings people of different cultures and backgrounds into one united area where they compete in their specialized sports. These events, however, are not purely entertainment like they should have been. Today’s societies are more dependent on politics and therefore so are sports and the athletes competing, sometimes even without their own will. In various occasions across the world politics was the main reason for athletes to withdraw from athletic events such as the world cup, Olympics, and any other worldwide or region wide competitions. On the other hand politics sometimes are the reason that some teams re-establish themselves and get back into the world scene in sports. This two sided issue creates the question whether politics and sports should be mixed and if so when is it appropriate. In my analysis I will attempt to explore the various historic occurrences and their outcomes to assist me in reaching my conclusion about this topic.

The Munich Olympics happened in 1972, there were 121 nations participating including the state of Israel. The Munich Olympics were a significant event for Western Germany (Germany was divided at the time), not only because it was a major event watched worldwide, but also because it was the first Olympics Germany hosted after the past the Nazi regime. Germany, Mindful of the connection, was anxious to take the opportunity of the Munich Olympics to present a new, democratic and optimistic Germany to the world, as shown by the Games' official motto, "the Happy Games." The Israeli team had requested to be placed in a more secure location because of concerns for their safety as they were placed close to a gate in a segregated part of the Olympic village but the German authorities denied them and assured that there will be extra security in the building they stayed in. The Olympics started as a great success with great atmosphere; however, in the beginning of the second week a group of terrorists called “Black September” took hostage 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and in return for their lives demanded the release of hundreds of hostages from Israeli jails as well as some radical leaders from the German prison. The Israeli government didn’t agree, and the German government tried to take action by offering the terrorists unlimited amount of money but the terrorists refused. Brendan Gallagher wrote that “the terrorists never cared for a large amount of money or their lives, they believed they were heroes”. Politics play a major role for the German government because of the massacre that the Nazi inflicted on the Jews back in the day. The German Government was very helpful in attempts to return the Israeli athletes, motivated by their efforts to show that they’re no longer associated with the anti-Semitic views of the past government. The Olympics Germany hosted quickly evolved into a situation where they had to face the politically correct decision to attempt to rescue the hostages in negotiations for their lives. The German government later suffered criticism from many officials as to their decision to place the Israeli team in the end of the Olympic village and ultimately was accused of not completely forgetting the ways of the Nazi Government. They were accused of anti-Semitism when talked about the hospitality of the Israeli team although it could be interpreted that the German government hadn’t had the intention of having this outcome as their main goal was to show that it is a changed country. Politics play a major role here because the Nazi regime was a great cause to a homicide of nearly 6,000,000 jews. Although the Olympics were a sports event, the main focus was on the political aspect of the German government that has moved away from its old ways to unify as a country that accepts all people regardless of their beliefs. The politics regarding Nazism cast a shadow on the Munich Olympics and instead of enjoying the sporting events,...

Bibliography: Reeve, Simon. One Day in September: the full story of the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre and Israeli revenge operation "Wrath of God". New York: Arcade Publishing, 2001. Print
Richards, Huw. A Game for Hooligans: The History of Rugby Union
Wise, Mike. “Clenched fists, helping hand."Washington Post 10 May 2006: Section 7. Print
Anne Applebaum (2002-02-12). "North Korea: Threat or Menace?". Slate
Epstein, Adam. Sports Law (The West Legal Studies Series): Volume 2002, Clifton Park, NY : Thomson/Delmar Learning, 2003
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