"The Games were to arouse the interest of Governments, of educators, and of the public in establishing national programs of physical training and competitive sport, which would assist in the tasks of eradicating social injustice, of combating the growing materialism of our times, and of correcting the features of growing industrialism and urban living that are destructive to health and morals. In addition, by extending the ancient Greek idea, which was strictly national, to all countries, they were to create and develop international amity and good will."
- Avery Brundage, Former President of the IOC
Subsequent to its re-birth, the modern Olympics Games have since served as a non-violent platform for nations and individuals to express their political as well as social views. In the year of the Olympics, a nation unsatisfied with the political or social actions of another nation might express its strong disapproval by refusing to send athletes to the Games. A recent example can be seen in the 1980 Olympics held in Moscow, when the United States led a boycott of thirty-two countries in protest of the Soviets invasion of Afghanistan in December of 1979.
It is often times the individuals and not the countries that repeatedly use the Olympics as a forum to bring attentions to certain events or causes. For example during the Games of 1968 held in Mexico City, African American athletes brought attention to the civil rights movement in the States by giving the black-power salutes at every award ceremony honoring their successes in the games.
People so often use the Olympics to express their views and ideas because it is the ideal forum for such exchange due to the strong presence of the worldís media. For fourteen days, the worldís attention is fixed on the host city of the Olympics. Every actions and words of the athletes and officials representing the different countries are seen and heard by billions of people around the world. The Olympics is perhaps, the greatest of all conglomerations of advertisements for all aspects of our society. Countries seek to achieve greatness at the Games to further their national propaganda and agenda.
During the Cold War, the United States and its arch-rival the USSR used the fields, arenas, courts, pools and rings of the Games as battlefields to support the idea that their governments are justly better because they produced such strong and skilled athletes.
At times, the Olympics seem to kin observers to be a war between different political agendas and ideologies. At more peaceful times, the Gamesí surface appearance is shown as a struggle between the human spirits and disheartening obstacles.
Going deeper into time, in 1932, the Games were held in Berlin under the tense blanket of World War II. Adolf Hitler attended the Games with the hope of witnessing a German victory (especially in track and field) in order that he could further his propaganda on the physical superiority of the ìAryanî race. His hope was shattered by repeated wins by American Jackie Owens.
Coubertinís greatest legacy with the rebirth of the Olympics is providing a forum for political and social clashes without bloodshed and roaring thunders of cannons.