Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Olympics, globalization and the medal count

The Olympics 2012 has ended and so has the controversy surrounding the national dress of a few countries. The medal tally of the top five were as follows:

Is it surprising to find that the two countries that are most active in the multilateral trading system in terms of trade, disputes and power also top the Olympics medal tally? Is there an inextricable link between trading power and Olympic prowess? Are outward, less protected economies more likely to do well at the Olympics?

A piece titled Globalization and the Olympic Games traces the history of the Olympics and highlights the similarities between globalization and the games. It also attributes the huge success of the games in recent years to the spread of globalization in terms of easier transportation, enhanced technology and participation of transnational corporations.It highlights the role of global investments, reality of transnational corporations investing in the Games and the goal of improving local infrastructure as essential features of an Olympic event. It brings together people across nationalities competing on the same platform. Stressing that Olympics has a positive impact on a globalized world looking for peace and security it concludes:
"The magnitude of the Olympic Games is incredible. The ability to bring together the best talent from around the globe to compete in a single international sporting competition is correlates with the rapid expansion of globalization. Questions about who hosts, attends, or targets the Olympic Games are constantly changing as globalization revolutionizes the way countries interact. Increased media attention heightens sensitivity to actions made before, during, and after the Olympic Games. The spread of modern technology is the driving force behind the expansion of the Olympic Games. The spread of modern technology like cars, planes, wireless internet, computers, and mobile phones increases communication between countries, expanding the international influence of the Olympic Games. Globalization continues to change how countries participate and utilize the Olympic Games as well as the dynamics of the entire international community. Learning how to adapt to the rapid spread of globalization allows international events like the Olympic Games to comprehend potential threats and develop new ways to achieve their original goals of promoting international peace and educating youth through sport."
While national tempers and pride are at stake, it also signifies the oneness of humanity and the greatness of sports as a leveller. The best competitors win. It does not matter if your coach is a foreign national or the equipment is from another country - what matters is how you perform. While competition in the Games is strongly on nationality, global realities run deeper.Forget the national dress controversy, protectionism and "Buy local" goods issue - the Olympic Games is much larger than all that.