A key point often lost in the criticism of the IOC’s tolerance of tyranny is that by hosting the Olympics, democracies become more authoritarian
On Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee will rubberstamp the plan to hand Paris the 2024 Summer Games while Los Angeles will host in 2028. Given the lack of bids from democratic countries and the increasingly frequent torpedoing of bids by activists and referenda, Olympic boosters are surely thrilled to lock down Paris and LA, two cities in democracies with storied Olympic histories.
After all, the IOC has received negative attention – and rightfully so – for bestowing the Games on authoritarian regimes. Olympic honchos even handed Beijing its second Games – it will host the Winter Olympics in 2022 after staging the Summer Games in 2008 – despite the fact that China is a serial human-rights abuser. As Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, said: “The reality is that the Chinese government’s hosting of the Games has been a catalyst for abuses.” No matter to the IOC, despite its own charter’s celebration of human dignity and non-discrimination – apparently, the Games must go on.