Tag Archives: Tommie Smith

Faster, Higher, Stronger: A History of Olympic Oppression

By Erika Kreeger, ’15

On December 4th, Erika published a piece entitled “Minha Casa, Minha Vida” about the human right’s violations occurring in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in preparation for the Olympic Games. This is a follow up to that piece.

Beijing Olympic Torch, cristyli.blogspot.com

Beijing Olympic Torch, cristyli.blogspot.com

Any conversation about the problems in Rio de Janeiro surrounding the World Cup and the Olympic Games would be strikingly inadequate without a critical look at past events to place these current tournaments in better context. Forced removals were completely commonplace in preparation for many Olympics. Some (unfortunately, I am not one of them) may have been old enough or aware enough to read about the controversy surrounding the Beijing Games in 2008, in which 1.25 million people were dislocated in the years prior to the Games, dwarfing the previous record of 720,000 for the Seoul Olympics in 1988. By these numbers, Brazil’s heinous 170,000 seems rather measly and insignificant.

Beyond forced removals, there are ‘anti-crime’ crackdowns and roundups in the months and days prior to the Opening Ceremonies arguably to make the city safer, but which overwhelmingly unreasonably and excessively target poor, geographically disadvantaged, oppressed communities. The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, while generally viewed as an amazing success, was also marked by extreme police brutality and crackdowns in the South Central and East parts of the city. Continue reading

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