The Olympic Games: A Critical Approach

Helen Jefferson Lenskyj
University of Toronto, Canada

Product Details
15 Apr 2020
Emerald Publishing Limited
251 pages - 129 x 198mm
Do the Olympic Games really live up to their glowing reputation? As the biggest global sport mega-event, the Olympic Games command public and media attention, while Olympic mythology and ritual obscure their underlying function as a profit-making business enterprise. In contrast to terms such as 'Olympic movement' and 'Olympic family', the concept of 'Olympic industry' focuses on sport as an economic and political enterprise, its beneficiaries including sponsors, developers, media and politicians. Negative impacts on host cities and countries disproportionately threaten the lives and welfare of disadvantaged populations.

Citizens' resistance campaigns have been addressing these issues for decades, with some successes. Recent athlete activism focuses on anti-doping initiatives and sexual abuse of girls and young women. Female athletes with 'differences of sexual development' are targets of the discriminatory gender policies of the International Association of Athletics Federation that disqualify them from women's events.
Chapter 1. Introduction and Background 
Chapter 2. Olympic Resistance
Chapter 3. 'Sport and Politics Don't Mix'
Chapter 4. Olympic Industry Impacts
Chapter 5. Reform: 'To Restore Reputation'
Chapter 6. Athletes, Politics, and Protest
Chapter 7. 'Educating Youth Through Sport'
Chapter 8. Athletes' Rights, Athletes' Lives
Chapter 9. Gender Policies: Challenges and Responses
Chapter 10. The Olympics: 'Not a Welfare Program but a Business Venture'
Helen Jefferson Lenskyj is Professor Emerita, University of Toronto, where she taught sociology from 1986 to 2007. Her work as a researcher and activist on gender and sport issues began in the 1980s, and her critiques of the Olympic industry include Inside the Olympic Industry (2000) and Olympic Industry Resistance (2008).

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