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Mega Events, Fear, and Risk: Terrorism at the Olympic Games



451 – 469

Since 1972, there has been an association between terrorism, violence, and the Olympic Games. The events of September 11, 2001, however, clearly reescalated concerns about the Games being a terrorist target. This conceptual article discusses the theories of the risk society and the precautionary principle to understand and interpret how visitors to the most recent Summer Games, Athens 2004, framed their decision to attend. Consistent with risk theory, a strong public and financial commitment to safety at the Games was evident, with the organizers undertaking wide-ranging large-scale risk management initiatives. Athens attendees, while displaying tenets of risk aversion and engagement with a discourse of fear, also showed resilience, resistance, and indifference to potential terrorism threats. Implications for both theory and practice are noted.


Authors: Hyung-Seok Lee, Chang-Hoan Cho,

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