In a story picked up by international news networks, Professor Patrick Cottrell says, “The Olympic Games are often perceived as a symbol of peace, but ironically also serve as venues for intense political contention.” Cottrell studies the political side of the Games.
“Louder, madder, more prepared: Here come the protesters,” published by the Vancouver Sun in British Columbia, site of the upcoming Winter Olympics, says athletes from more than 80 nations are gearing up for their moment in the spotlight. And so are the protesters.
“The games are an ideal platform for protest,” Cottrell says. “Up to 90 percent of the world’s television sets tune in.” More than half the demonstrations that have taken place since the first modern Olympics in 1896 have occurred in the last 20 years, he says, and conveniently, the Olympics setting reduces the ability of regimes to repress protesters and makes it politically difficult to use force.
The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Cottrell says, gave a platform to environmental groups, animal rights crusaders, Falun Gong supporters and Generation Life, which protested distribution of condoms to athletes.
Cottrell expects Vancouver will be the site of protests by animal rights groups, anti-Olympic activists, aboriginal groups and women’s groups upset by the International Olympic Committee’s refusal to sanction a women’s ski jumping competition.
His comments were picked up by the World News Network; World Sports Woman; Canada’s Global National, National NewsWatch and National Post; London Olympic News; World News Athletics News; Yahoo!; the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and First Nations (who will be protesting); the Salt Lake Grapevine and other news outlets.