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Sport, the Olympic Games and the challenges of reconciliation

Session 37 Amphi 2 July 7, 2024 11:45 - 12:45


Major world sporting events, such as the O.G. or the Football World Cup, have always been highly diplomatic ‘moments’. We often remember the ‘critical’ editions, those that led to boycotts (the United States at the time of the Moscow Olympics in 1980) or were organised within dictatorships (the Berlin Olympics in 1936, the World Cup in Argentina in 1978). However, the Olympic Games have sometimes been forums for reconciliation and rapprochement between nations. An emblematic example is the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which marked Japan’s return to the international stage after the Second World War. More recently, the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang led to a temporary easing of tensions on the Korean peninsula, with both North and South participating under a common banner. In a few days’ time, the Paris Olympics will open in a geopolitical environment marked by the return of conflict and the fragmentation of globalisation. Will the Olympic truce be a short, disillusioned interlude? Or will the magic of the event produce the first (weak) signal of reconciliation?