The International Olympic Committee: Tragedy, Farce, and Hypocrisy

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 University of Regina
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Many IOC actions have led to results that could be described as tragedy and farce. By comparing the presidency of Pierre de Coubertin with that of Avery Brundage, and comparing the decisions made in the denial of Jim Thorpe’s victories with the suspension of Karl Schranz, it is possible to see examples of tragedy and farce in the history of the Olympic movement. Further, it becomes possible to see how some of these actions and decisions have become hypocritical. The notion of hypocrisy is contained in Hoberman’s idea of “amoral universalism.” Several times the IOC has had to reverse its decisions regarding athletes. These decisions have resulted from hypocritical actions of the IOC in its attempt to maintain its version of Olympism as the guiding philosophy of the Olympic movement. The recent events surrounding Ben Johnson exemplify how the “amoral universalism,” and consequently the hypocrisy inherent in the Olympic movement, continue to affect the direct producers of Olympic performances.

Dwight H. Zakus is with the Faculty of Physical Activity Studies and Department of Sociology and Social Studies at the University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 0A2.

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