Presentation: What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About the Olympic Games

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On 24 January 2020, I had an opportunity to attend an event as a conductor. The invitation was exhilarating by the fact that I could tailor my presentation based on my interest. Woohoo!

Against the backdrop of Indonesia’s official application to run for the 2032 Summer Olympic bid, I took the liberty to bring issues regarding the Olympics to the session. For your information, the government of Indonesia (GoI) has started a “mild” campaign on how the event offers an economic boost for the host city. Interestingly, most economists around the Olympic studies have debunked the economic benefits. Nevertheless, like other pro-growth governments that host the Olympics, the GoI is happy to go about their marketing promises on the economic impact.

I believe that it is only fair to let Indonesians in on the debate about the drawbacks that coexist with the Games. Thus, I committed to casting on the critical perspective as it has not been talked about on the media.

My presentation was mainly supported by my research for a term assignment back in 2018. On my paper, I explored the concept of mega sporting syndrome by Mueller (2015) and how is it explaining the controversies surrounding the past three Olympic Games.

In the session (and here too), I did not argue whether the Games should cease. I, for one, realized that putting an end to this sporting initiative will be impractical. To stop the Games might come with further humanitarian issues as the Games and its sporting values have created a room for peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

After all, the sporting event is one of the few places that I could see the red-white Indonesian flag fly high on the medal ceremony. I also picture my child, and future generations are running for the Olympic dream as athletes or academics in sports. I would say that without the Olympics, the next generation would have less diverse dreams.

Without the Olympics, the next generation would have less diverse dreams

That is why I am inviting YOU! Yes, YOU! Young people! We need to create a balanced discourse about the Games. We also need to push the GoI to stop seeking for economic benefits. In the next five to ten years, it could be us who sit on the decision-making level. On that level, we could make it possible for the Olympic Games to create more resilient cities, healthier communities, and a more peaceful world.

Lastly, it is also crucial to acknowledge the community that gave me a safe space for this discussion. Britzone Surabaya is a learning group that aims to provide opportunities for young people in the city to expand their active English skills. The vibrant and bright folks in the group have inspired me a lot. I am grateful for the insights they shared during group discussion. I will definitely refer to Britzone Surabaya whenever someone inquires about expanding their language skills.


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