The runup to the Beijing Olympics has had its share of political drama—torch relay protests, calls for a boycott and tussles over which world leaders will attend the opening ceremonies. All the while, Beijing has protested that politics has no place in sports. If you still harbor any illusions that the Olympic games are a politics-free zone, this recent program from Public Radio International should set you straight. In “Power, Politics and the Olympics,” Deborah Amos runs through the political history of the modern Olympics, in light of issues surrounding the upcoming 2008 games. The piece begins with the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany and looks closely at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and the International Olympic Committee’s decision to award the 2014 Olympics to Sochi, Russia. It includes sound bites from Walter Cronkite, Muhammad Ali, Jimmy Carter and Vladimir Putin.
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