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Are the Olympic games truly global events?

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βˆ™ 2011-09-21 17:24:03

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Since the Athens games have more participating teams than the UN has members, it is a truly global event. To be sure, many small countries are only represented by one or two athletes with no realistic chance to win a medal, but their presence -- proudly announced in the Opening Ceremony, highly visible in the Olympic Village -- gives the games an unquestionably global color. This is hard to see on TV, which focuses almost exclusively on the events where Americans do well and downplays the rest.

The Winter Games are a much smaller affair -- fewer events, fewer participants -- given the fact that large parts of the world suffer from an acute lack of snow and ice. "Outsiders," like the famously inept British ski-jumper and the "cool-running" Jamaican bobsledders, are now largely excluded, for their own safety most of all and for the integrity of the sports. But the winter games are also a chance for small countries -- Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, etc. -- a rare chance to earn the global spotlight.

2011-09-21 17:24:03
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