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2008 Beijing Olympics

Hot Topics 2008 Beijing Olympics – the world’s largest stage

Although historians believe that the Olympics were held for many years before, the first Olympic Games for which we have written records were held in 776 BCE. They continued to be held every four years until 393 CE when the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, (a Christian), abolished the Games because of their pagan influences.

Fast forward 1500 years -- fueled by the enthusiasm of a young Frenchman, Pierre de Coubertin, the games were revived; Athens was chosen as the location of the first modern Olympic Games held in April, 1896. 

The modern Olympics organized in the spirit of the idealism of the Victorian era and paying  deference to the ancient Greek philosophers has matured, evolved and increased in stature over the decades into a spiritual, commercial, corporate, and world-wide political event.  Olympic ceremonies, environs and events are televised for hundreds of hours all over the world to countless millions of people – making it the world’s largest stage for information, propaganda, advertising, sports, corporate branding, national pride, and oh yes, individual courage and accomplishments, and athletic skill. 

As in years past, all eyes will be focused on Beijing this August.

Controversy has dogged the modern Olympics, beginning with the 1936 Olympics that showcased the triumph  Nazi Germany and the accomplishments of U.S. black athlete Jesse Owens who was snubbed by Adolph Hitler. The U.S. boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics and was joined by  61 other countries because of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. The retaliatory boycott of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles was payback by the Soviets, East Germany and Cuba. The World was stunned by t he tragic slaying of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. The modern Olympic Games have taken on a purpose and direction never envisioned by the Greeks or the French noblemen who helped to revive them. 

With the 2008 Olympics competition looming, the world is focused on China. That nation’s  support for the Sudanese government and acts of genocide in Darfur, and China’s occupation, repression and human rights violations in Tibet, as well as, the overall status of human rights in China itself, puts Chinas in the crosshairs of protestors on every continent. 

Beginning with the Olympic Torch run and demonstrations in the UK, France and U.S., activists, human rights supporters, elected officials and ordinary citizens are expressing themselves -- by demanding reforms, clamoring for freedom, calling for boycotts, vilifying Chinese officials, and focusing on the Olympics in Beijing. – The games may turn out to be  the world’s largest stage to leverage for change.

The editors at Accountability-Central have been following these unfolding events, and the editorial board has voted to create a Hot Topics section on the 2008 Beijing Olympic – the World’s Largest Stage.  We will present news, opinion and commentary, and we welcome your participation to create an ongoing dialogue...        

As with all the stories on Accountability-Central, an opportunity is presented at the end of each article for our readers to comment....don’t let this opportunity to be heard slip buy...we welcome civil, respectful and cogent comments and ongoing discussions.



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