Published On: Fri, May 4th, 2012

Sport is Sport and Politics is Politics

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The Ancient Olympic Games were a series of athletic competitions held for representatives of various city-states of Ancient Greece held in honor of Zeus. During a celebration of the Games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their countries to the Games in safety. The prizes for the victors were wreaths of laurel leaves. The Games became a political tool used by city-states to assert dominance over their rivals. Politicians would announce political alliances at the Games, and the Games were also used to help spread Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean.

Although the ancient Olympics were rather different from the modern Games using the event as a political instrument survived and unfortunately evolved; sports is politics.

While a call for a boycott of this Summer’s Euro 2012 Football games hosted by Ukraine and Poland this is gathering momentum amongst European Leaders and opinion makers the 2012 Olympic Games hosted by the United Kingdom stayed relatively clear from anything to do with all politics and nothing sports.

That is until Argentina threw the first stone at the UK over their longstanding dispute concerning the claim on the Falkland Islands.

Argentina is attempting to politicise the London Olympics by using the event to highlight its claim to sovereignty of the Falklands. The Argentinean government has released a primetime television advert linking the Games to its demand to rule the South Atlantic islands. The provocative 90 second commercial, screened on the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the General Belgrano, features Olympic hopeful Fernando Zylberberg and is filmed in Port Stanley.

The 35-year-old Argentine hockey player is shown among classically English sights – the Globe Tavern pub, a red telephone box and the offices of the English-language Penguin News.

It finishes with the slogan: ‘To compete on English soil, we are training on Argentine soil.’

The ad was filmed without the permission of the Falklands authorities, who said it was ‘cheap and disrespectful propaganda’.

I agree. Sports is Sports and Politics is Politics, and this indeed is ‘cheap and disrespectful’. Not only to the Olympic Athletes but foremost to the soldiers that lost their lives in recent disputes over the Islands.

Here’s the propaganda movie:

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About the Author

- As a creative strategist I work on complex (digital) communications issues for international industry leading companies, organizations and agencies. I'm interested in how technology integrates with (and influences) traditional marketing, media, human behavior, society and culture.

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