10 months ago

Reviving the Flame

Travail de Master de Tiffany Duc

3. Literature Review

3. Literature Review This chapter introduces the reader to the facts and existing researches regarding the Olympic Games. To frame the research question and target its specific topic, this review provides a short step in the history of the Games and their evolution until today: what drove people to withdraw their faith in Sport Mega Events (SMEs) and their organisations; the arguments found in the literature to support or oppose the Games; and a sneak peek into the actual state of mind of countries toward the IOC and the OG. A more detailed explanation on the key concepts of this research are given to better grasp their relation to the present topic. To conclude, missing information of the existing work give the foundation of the research goal and question. Far from the Games we know today, the ancient Olympics were created 3,000 years ago, in the Peloponnese. To bring an end to the hostilities between kingdoms, King Iphitos was advised to organise an athletic and cultural festival every fourth summer. Its actual purpose was to bring all states to declare Truce before, during and after the festival in Olympia, leading to peace between the conflicted areas. This “Olympic Truce” engendered a sacred tradition for over a thousand years, until the Roman Emperor Theodosius I banned all pagan cults from its territory (IOC, 2012; Lambrinidis, 2003). But the Olympics only disappeared for a time. In the winter of 1892, Pierre de Coubertin proposed to revive the OG, and use them as a vector to foster peace through sport, education, and respect of cultures (IOC, 2017). To restore them, the International Olympic Committee was founded in 1894, and the first Modern Olympic Games were inaugurated in 1896 in Athens (IOC, 2017; Lambrinidis, 2003). During their early years, the OG did not have much notoriety and were outshined by world’s fairs. Nonetheless, the success came as soon as 1924 in Paris. The same year, the first Winter Games were held in Chamonix (History, 2017). Mostly organised with public money, the OG faced a major crisis after the 1976 Montreal Olympics: the absence of candidates for the following years. Indeed, since their triumph in Paris, the size of the Games, number of participants and costs constantly increased. Montreal invested a massive sum of public funding, which occasioned a financial deficit that Canadians took 30 years to repay. This gigantism scared other potential host cities to organise the Games (Homma & Masumoto, 2013; Agha, Fairley, & Gibson, 2012). The 1980 Winter Games and 1984 Summer Games saw only one candidate city each: Lake Placid and Los Angeles. The situation allowed Los Angeles to re-negotiate its contract with the IOC. It also changed the entire management of the OG by initiating its commercialisation through private funds, using existing infrastructures for the venues, encouraging volunteers and introducing sponsorships and marketing strategies (Homma & Masumoto, 2013). Literature Review 5

While sponsors and partners had always supported the Games, it is their exclusivity that became important after Los Angeles’ Olympics. In 1985, the IOC implemented “The Olympic Partner” or TOP programme, insuring worldwide marketing rights for official sponsors and a quadrennial funding for the OG (IOC, 2017; Louw, 2012). The TOP partners also support the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and Organising Committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs). In addition to its economic issues, the organisation faced the emergence of environmental concerns and the concept of “sustainability”. In the 1990s, the action plan “Agenda 21” was offered by the United Nation as a model to attain sustainable development. Consequently, the IOC strengthened the Olympic Movement with the “environment” as a third pillar, alongside “sport” and “culture” (Homma & Masumoto, 2013). Despite this new resolution, the Games kept on growing, leading to new scandals such as corruption, human rights abuse (Rio 2016) (Carroll, 2012; OECD, 2016) and environmental disaster (Sotchi 2014) (Geeraert & Gauthier, 2017). Frequent debates and public critics led the IOC to redefine the Olympic Games through the “Agenda 20 20” (IOC, 2014). This plan aims at improving the future OG with 40 recommendations tailored to “protect the uniqueness of the Games and strengthen Olympic values in society” (IOC, 2014, p. 1). The first cities able to base their bid entirely on this agenda are Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028 and the Winter Olympic 2026. Though the goals of the Agenda 20 20 are honourable, researchers have widely covered both sides of the medal with a wide range of arguments in favour or against the Games. While certain authors provide existing cases of successful Games, others highlight stories undermining these successes. According to Grix, Brannagan, Wood & Wynne (2017), opinions about the Games can be placed along a continuum from a positive to a negative viewpoint. PROS Coalition of beneficiaries Private sector organisations Medias Academics & opponents CONS Figure 1 Opinions on the Games continuum The side in favour regroups the “coalition of beneficiaries”, such as the IOC, governing bodies, sports administrators, etc. Between the extremes, private sector organisations tend to be more positive, while the medias relate both views, but are more critical and can easily unveil scandals. Finally, the opposite side includes academics and opponents that are strongly against the OG. Based on this body of work, the author conducted a benchmark analysis to point out the main flaws and strengths of the OG. She highlighted four main themes in which to regroup the arguments: Economy & infrastructure; image & marketing; social; and environment. Some features can fit in several groups, depending on the viewpoint or context it appears in. In the following table, the writer keeps each argument in the theme they occur the most: Literature Review 6