Indeed, the Olympic Torch may represent ‘peace, unity and friendship’ but the Games have always been about more than sportsmanship. The objective is to carry out sports diplomacy; however, the result is often dictated by power politics. This year, for instance, the participation of the first ever team of displaced athletes named ‘Team Refugees’ brings to light the instability of political regimes around the world.
In July 2014, Xi Jinping, the President of China, toured Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Cuba, all of which had leftist governments at the time. [...] Xi declared that Chinese-Argentine relations would reach “unprecedented new horizons.” [...] As of two years ago, it seemed that China and many countries in Latin America were moving unequivocally toward a future of closer cooperation and economic affinity.
Airbnb, the "official alternative accommodation service" for the Olympic Games, has made a big investment into Rio and it's is already paying off. A city that once lacked enough hotels and is living under Brazil's recession has meant big opportunity for the homesharing marketplace. [...] In preparation for the Olympics, Airbnb has worked in coordination with the organizing committee to encourage people to open up their homes for visitors.
This pattern was seen after the Second World War too, with the most notable example being of Tokyo hosting the 1964 Olympics to shed Japan of its militaristic past. In fact, one of the first major actions of post-apartheid South Africa under Nelson Mandela was to host the Rugby Union World Cup in 1995. [...] The success of it — South Africa became the champions — and the improved image of the country convinced Mandela to lend support for the FIFA World Cup bid.
The Olympics brings together athletes from countries with vastly different attitudes and laws for LGBT people. The event has in recent years become a site for diplomacy around global LGBT rights. The increasing number of athletes who are comfortable publicly discussing their sexuality is an indication of how successful that campaign has been.
Headlines unpacked Brazil's potential public diplomacy gains from hosting the Olympics.
As acting president Michel Temer has highlighted, a key goal is to present a vision to the world of a modern, vibrant democracy and stable emerging market that is a prime destination for future investment and tourism. Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has also asserted that, with billions watching, Brazil has a first-class opportunity to show it “can be a great country” after a troubled time.
Anjelina Nada Lohalith, who will compete in the 1,500-meter run, told reporters at Rio’s Tom Jobim airport that participating at the games was “really important, because I know I am going to represent thousands of refugees from around the world.”