Library special Olympic Games

Olympic Games

From 5 August to 21 August 2016, the 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, and commonly known as Rio 2016, have taken place in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics. More than 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) were scheduled to take part. The 2016 Summer Olympic program features 28 sports and a total of 41 disciplines and 306 events. These will be the first Summer Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Thomas Bach. From 7 September to 18 September 2016, the 2016 Paralympic Games will take place in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

Recent News:

Rio 2016 Paralympics: Russia to hold alternative competition after Swiss court rejects ban appeal - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
2016-08-31 23:28:30
....Russia will hold a two-day competition next week for its Paralympic squad banned from Rio, a top sports official said on Thur....


Swiss Federal Court dismisses Russian appeal against Rio 2016 Paralympics ban as Sports Minister alleges IPC violated UN regulations
2016-08-31 19:03:17
....will remain banned from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games after the Swiss Federal Court dismissed their appeal against the suspen....


Why Brazilians' Skepticism Of The Olympics Was Good News
2016-08-22 17:52:56
....m Of The Olympics Was Good News 08/22/2016 10:42 am ET Beatriz Pedreira Passionate about of new political behaviours and how ....


Olympics: A privilege to be a front-row witness to great sporting moments, Sport
2016-08-22 16:42:34
....ng is bigger at the Olympics. I've covered three SEA Games and a Commonwealth Games, heard colleagues' tales about the Asian ....



Olympic Games are the world's most important international athletic competition. The Olympics bring together thousands of the finest athletes to compete against one another in a variety of individual and team sports.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the supreme authority of the Olympic Movement. Its role is to promote top-level sport as well as sport for all in accordance with the Olympic Charter. The IOC defines itself as an international non-governmental organisation. The IOC "decided to revive the concept of the Olympic Truce on the occasion of the Olympic Games, with a view to protecting, as far as possible, the interests of the athletes and sport in general, and to contribute to the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the world’s conflicts."

The ancient Greeks held the first Olympic games in the year 776 BC; they dedicated the games to their god Zeus – only men were allowed to participate. The four-year period between the Olympic games was called an olympiad. The Olympic games were banned by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II in the year AD 394.

Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin (1863-1937), a French educator and sportsman, revived the Olympic Games in 1896; the all-male 1896 games were held in Athens, Greece. The Olympic motto is, "Citius, Altius, Fortius," which means "Swifter, Higher, Stronger." The tradition of the Olympic flame began during the ancient Olympic Games. The flame symbolized the death and rebirth of Greek heroes. There was no torch relay in the ancient Olympics.

The Court of Aribtration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, originally founded by the IOC, provides ad hoc divisions to hear urgent disputes arising out of every Olympic Games. In CAS ad hoc Division arbitration, the governing law is the Olympic Charter, the applicable regulations, general principles of law and the rules of law, the application of which it deems appropriate. The development of lex sportiva by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and International Sports Federations (IFs) is shaping the nature and scope of legal protection of the athlete’s opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games.

One or two weeks prior to Rio 2016 a doping scandal involving Russia which has affected the participation of Russian athletes in these Games. For more information about the systematic, state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics, please take a look at Sports and Russian Doping: Fairness vs. the Human Right to Sport (Peace Palace Library blog). On 24th July 2016, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) decided not to impose a blanket ban on the Russian team competing in Rio 2016. On the 31st of July the IOC announced that a three person IOC panel will have the final say on the eligibility of Russian competitors. The panel will receive independent advice from CAS before making its decisions. IOC president Thomas Bach added : "Let us just for a moment consider the consequences of a ‘nuclear option" (i.e. blanket ban on the Russian team). The result is death and devastation. This is not what the Olympic movement stands for." He said it would be wrong to make individual Russian athletes “collateral damage” for the wrongdoing of their government. On the 7th of August, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee with immediate effect due to its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code. As a result, the Russian Paralympic Committee will not be able to enter its athletes in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

There are more hurdles and controversies in the lead-up to Rio 2016:

Campaign groups have called on the International Olympic Committee to urgently change its host-city contracts to place human rights at their heart, after warning that Rio missed an opportunity to improve lives of those in the city (favelas). Atila Pereira Roque, the director general of Amnesty Brazil argued that in their promise to use the Olympics to improve public security the government "used it to increase the number of operations, to focus on criminalising a certain group of people instead of using it as an opportunity to change. We see a war against the poor, a war against the favelas, a war against the young black men who live there. It ends up reinforcing all kinds of stereotypes. That’s why I see it as a huge missed opportunity.” Sylvia Schenk of Transparency International said that “It is important to influence the host city contract – obligations are laid down. It is very important to have a host city contract that is very clear on human rights, abuses of the local population and anti-corruption.”

MascotteRioVinicius_and_TomLet the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro be fair and competitive under safe and equal circumstances.

For relevant titles in the Peace Palace Library catalogue, please check out Olympic Games: Selective bibliography

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  • Mestre, A.M., The law of the Olympic Games, The Hague, Asser, 2009.
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  • Beacom, A., International Diplomacy and the Olympic Movement: the New Mediators, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
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  • Spaaij, R. and C. Burleson (eds.), The Olympic Movement and the Sport of Peacemaking, London, Routledge, 2013.
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