Long before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were plagued by cost overruns, sexist scandals, and fears that it would turn into a COVID-19 super-spreading incident, anti-Olympics activists had already called the whole thing a disaster.
This is why the year before the pandemic-affected Olympics was originally scheduled to open in late July 2020, anti-Olympics activists convened the first global “NOlympians” summit in Japan, because those who opposed the Olympics are well known .
The NOlympians’ prisoners of war show that the temporary localized opposition to the Olympic Games has gone global.
“We should not see the anti[Olympics] action [as] Hiroki Ogasawara, a professor of sociology and cultural studies at Kobe University in Japan, said that according to countries and cities are isolated and divided, “because protests are already worldwide, and the Olympics inevitably involve illegal acts on a global scale.”
Dozens of activists from the host cities of the past (London, Rio de Janeiro and Pyeongchang, South Korea) and the future (Paris and Los Angeles) have joined the ranks of the Japanese capital. These activists are preparing to accept bids from their cities, including Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta .
“That was a critical moment,” Jules Boykov, a participant and professor of politics and government at Oregon Pacific University, told Al Jazeera. What Boykov previously called the “moment of movement” has developed into a transnational alliance with enduring power.
Boykov was an Olympian who later became a critic. He said that since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is “a behemoth worth billions of dollars,” opponents have realized that “the only way to fight is Make their objections more flexible.”
Founded in 1894, the International Olympic Committee is a non-profit organization that serves as the governing body of the Olympic Committee of each of its member states. Its mission is to distribute billions of revenues from broadcasting and marketing to sports development. Its executive committee is composed of members from global business elites.
In Asia, Japan has hosted the most Olympic Games-the Olympic Games that opened on July 23 were the fourth in 50 years.
Although the 1964 Olympics were generally portrayed as positive — demonstrating Japan’s technical prowess and design talents after the war and debuting on the world stage for the first time — not everyone had such an optimistic view of the subsequent Olympics.
Two main Anti-gaming One of the groups spawned by Tokyo 2020 is called Okotowa Link, which means “Olympic disaster”.
From demolishing affordable housing to removing street sleepers, and transforming the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market into a parking lot for the National Stadium, Japanese activists have been concerned about this incident.
In an era when activism is becoming increasingly globalized and looking for momentum online—from the #MeToo movement to the fate of Friday and black people in the future—it’s hard to recall the days when the draft root organization spread one flyer at a time.
This is how Helen Jefferson Lenskyj and her fellow activists at Bread Not Circuses started in the late 1980s, when Toronto first competed for the 1996 Olympics and then the 2008 competition. Although her city has repeatedly bid to host a continuous campaign, Lenskyj pointed out how the anti-Olympic movement developed.
“This is definitely a gathering of strength,” said Lensky, now an emeritus professor of social justice education at the University of Toronto. “With the more efficient use of social media and the Internet, the growing problem of huge debts and expensive venues, and an unrealized legacy, people’s illusions are shattered.”
The Canadian anti-sports activist was the first to initiate the impoverished Olympic torch relay, in which the torch was made of a toilet plunger. The annual NOlympics Day is celebrated in late June every year to arouse opposition from all over the world.
The human costs of the Olympics, including large-scale disturbances in the lives of residents and increased police surveillance, are in sharp contrast to the corporate benefits of the Olympic boosters. Typically, they are the business and political elites who have benefited most from brand sponsorship, white elephant construction projects, and lucrative service contracts.
“I call it trickle-down economics,” Boykov said. “This is a huge economic giant; the movement is accidental.”
In the past few years, citizens have increasingly resisted hosting sports events, and some Western countries have handed over the decision to voters to a referendum.
From Boston in the United States to Krakow in Poland, potential bidding cities were eliminated by a veto.
In 2015, before the International Olympic Committee issued the 2022 Winter Olympics, only two candidate cities remained: Almaty and Beijing.
Authoritarian countries have long regarded the Olympics as a kind of “soft power”, while the International Olympic Committee is trying to shape the Olympics into a beneficial force that transcends politics.
In 2001, despite concerns about China’s human rights record, Beijing was granted the right to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, and the International Olympic Committee claimed that hosting would help usher in an era of greater freedom.
Seven years later, the artist Ai WeiweiThe people who helped design the Bird’s Nest Stadium in the center were persecuted by the authorities for political activities, and Beijing won the bid. 2022 Winter Games Three weeks after a nationwide round up of human rights lawyers and their staff.
In less than seven months, Beijing’s mass imprisonment of Uighur Muslims and the suppression of Hong Kong are stimulating calls for boycotts in Europe and North America.
At the same time, the number of cities preparing to bid for the event has been declining, prompting the International Olympic Committee to take action. Its 2020 agenda calls for transparency, sustainability and flexibility. However, critics say that the organization is unable to carry out real reforms.
“The International Olympic Committee has a democracy deficit,” Boykov said, adding that it is “ruling with an iron fist.”
In response to the backlash from NOlympics, the International Olympic Committee has accelerated the process of naming host cities.
In an unprecedented move in 2017, it awarded double awards to the remaining candidates: the 2024 Summer Olympics were awarded to Paris and the 2028 to Los Angeles.
Just before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced the host for 2032- Brisbane, Australia, the only competitorPreviously, the host city was selected only seven years before the opening of the Olympic Games.
For now, the slogan of activists “Do not host the Olympics anywhere” seems to be far away, but as the memory of the two-week sports event begins to fade and Tokyo assesses the long-term impact of the Olympics, the dissatisfaction seems likely to follow The IOC will only grow-so will sports.
Lenskyj said: “The anti-Olympics movement has a major impact on raising local residents’ awareness of which human rights will be violated and that they will have to suffer the Olympics.”