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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.
This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research in the field of Olympic Games. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library’s classification index code 167. Internationalism and International Life and subject heading (keyword) Olympic Games are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.
- Mestre, A.M., The Law of the Olympic Games, The Hague, Asser, 2009.
- Richards, A., P. Fussey and A. Silke (eds.), Terrorism and the Olympics: Major Event Security and Lessons for the Future, London, Routledge, 2011.
- Senn, A.E., Power, Politics and the Olympic Games, Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics, 1999.
- Mestre, A.M., The Law of the Olympic Games, The Hague : T.M.C. Asser Press, 2009
- Richards, A., Fussey, P. and Silke, A., Terrorism and the Olympics : major event security and lessons for the future, London : Routledge, 2011
- Schaus, G.P. and Wenn, S.R., Onward to the Olympics : Historical Perspectives on the Olympic Games, Waterloo, ON : Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007
- Spaaij, R. and C. Burleson (eds.), The Olympic Movement and the Sport of Peacemaking, London, Routledge, 2013.
- Stelitano, A., Le Olimpiadi all’ONU : le Nazioni unite e lo sport: dall’embargo all’Olimpismo, Padova, Cleup, 2012.
- Blackshaw, I.S., “Protecting Major Sporting Events with Particular Reference to the 2012 London Olympic Games”, Entertainment and sports law journal, 7 (2010) , No. 2
- Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol adopted at Nairobi (26 September 1981)
- Olympic Charter and other relevant documents
- United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/48/11 (2 Novermber 1993) Observance of the Olympic Truce
- United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/62/L.2 (16 October 2007) Sport for peace and development: building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal
- Cho, E., Olympics and International Sports Law Research Guide, Legal Information Management, 12 (2012), pp. 92–97
- Vael, A.J., Olympic Games : a Bibliography, Australian Centre for Olympic Studies
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Spaaij, R. and C. Burleson (eds.), The Olympic Movement and the Sport of Peacemaking, London, Routledge, 2013.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Sport and peacemaking have evolved. It is no longer the case that the Olympic Games and war games exist in isolation from each other. Increasingly, policymakers, peacekeepers, athletes, development workers, presidents of nations and others combine forces in an “integrated” approach towards peace. This approach is located not only within the broader, historically evolved Olympic Movement but also in relation to a newly emerged social movement which promotes development and peace through sport. This book critically examines the ways in which this development is being played out at global, national and local levels, particularly in relation to the Olympic Movement and initiatives such as the biennial Olympic Truce Resolution.
Karamichas, J.,The Olympic Games and the Environment, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Nowadays, sports Mega-events – with the Olympic Games leading the way – go to immense effort to showcase their environmental credentials. With that in mind, this book compares and contrasts the environmental credentials of four Olympic Host cities starting with Sydney 2000, the host of the first Green Summer Olympics, and culminating with London 2012. Setting out a comparative cross-national study that makes extensive use of perspectives offered by environmental sociology, this book showcases the scientific analytical vigour of this sociological sub-discipline. Since in most cases, the linkages between hosting the Games and the environment that are made by the general public and policy-makers are mostly in relation to the regeneration of the host city, this book engages with this type of environmental related contributions that can be made by Olympic Games hosting. Yet, inspired by the emphasis that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gives on the environmental impact and legacy of Games in terms of the Ecological Modernization (EM) perspective, the book engages with the potential imbued by Olympic Games hosting for the EM of the host nation.
Davis, J.A., The Olympic Games Effect: How Sports Marketing builds Strong Brands, Singapore, Wiley, 2012.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
The book delves into how, in recent years, the games have evolved into a seductively attractive vehicle for a wide range of audiences, from consumers to corporations, and the impact each Olympics had on the city and nation where the Games were hosted. From illustrations that show how the Games have become arguably the world’s most successful sports event, to an explanation of the bidding process that examines the companies that have benefited from sponsoring the events, The Olympic Games Effect highlights the important lessons of past Olympics.
Beacom, A., International Diplomacy and the Olympic Movement: the New Mediators, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
This book explores the relationship between diplomatic discourse and the Olympic Movement, charting its continuity and change from an historical perspective. Using the recent body of literature on diplomacy it explores the evolution of diplomatic discourse around a number of themes, in particular the increasing range of stakeholders engaged in the Olympic bid, disability advocacy and the mainstreaming of the Paralympic Games and the evolution of the Olympic boycott.
Payne, M., Olympic Turnaround : How the Olympic Games Stepped Back from the Brink of Extinction to Become the World's Best Known Brand, Westport, CT, Praeger, 2006.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
Higher, faster, stronger… The Olympic motto conjures images of heroes whose achievements transcended their athletic prowess, but also of tragedy and disgrace. By 1980, the modern Olympic movement was gasping for breath, bankrupt financially, politically, and culturally. But under the leadership of Juan Antonio Samaranch, and, subsequently, Jacques Rogge, the Olympics began a journey back from the brink. Michael Payne, who served as the International Olympic Committee’s top marketer for over twenty years, offers unprecedented access to the people and negotiations behind one of the most dramatic turnarounds in business or sports history (…) Turnaround is a remarkable tale of organizational renewal and a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain of the world’s most iconic brand.
Mestre, A.M., The law of the Olympic Games, The Hague, Asser, 2009.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
This book examines, from a legal perspective, the numerous developments in the rules and institutions of the Olympic Games from the Antiquity to the Modern Era. It offers a well-informed and insightful description and explanation of the so-called Lex Olympica. The book analyses the legal and institutional aspects that arise in the Olympic Movement, like its definition, composition and general organisation, its three principal constituents, its three ‘Satellite Organisations’ and its organs.
Nafziger, J.A.R. S.F. and Ross (eds.), Handbook on International Sports Law, Cheltenham, Elgar, 2011.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
This Handbook presents a comprehensive collection of essays by leading scholars and practitioners in the burgeoning field of international sports law. The authors address significant legal issues on two gradually converging tracks: the mainstream institutional framework of the law, primarily the International Olympic Committee, international sports federations, regional and national sports authority, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport; and the commercial sports industry.
Schaus, G.P. and S.R. Wenn, Onward to the Olympics: Historical Perspectives on the Olympic Games, Waterloo, ON , Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
”The Olympic Games have had two lives—the first lasted for a millennium with celebrations every four years at Olympia to honour the god Zeus. The second has blossomed over the past century, from a simple start in Athens in 1896 to a dazzling return to Greece in 2004. Onward to the Olympics provides both an overview and an array of insights into aspects of the Games’ history. Leading North American archaeologists and historians of sport explore the origins of the Games, compare the ancient and the modern, discuss the organization and financing of such massive athletic festivals, and examine the participation ,or the troubling lack of it, by women. Onward to the Olympics bridges the historical divide between the ancient and the modern and concludes with a thought-provoking final essay that attempts to predict the future of the Olympics over the twenty-first century.”
Olympic and International Sports Law research guide (Georgetown Law Library)
Protection of Olympic Properties
During the 2014 Olympic opening ceremony in Sochi, the World could witness the familiar Olympic symbols again: the torche, the flag, the rings and the mascots: three giant, stuffed-animal-like Sochi mascots, featuring a polar bear, a leopard and a hare. All three of these animals are indigenous to the country. These Olympic symbols, logos and mascots are very popular and therefore subject of plagiarism and corruption.Read more
Osaka Rule and Doping at Olympics
Cheaters have caused a lot of harm to the Olympic movement over the past few decades and it is reasonable for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to wish for clean Olympic Games. In the fight against doping the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) set up a system of strict liability on doping offencesRead more
Olympic Games and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
This evening the XXX Olympic Games will start in London. London has organized the Olympic Games twice: in 1908 and 1948. How will the Court of Arbitration for Sports be involved in Olympic Games in general and in the London Olympics in particular?
“Because the IOC and each IF seek to apply and enforce a set of uniform rules consistently [...]Read more
Athletes and whereabouts
Whereabouts are information provided by a limited number of top elite athletes about their location to the International Sport Federation or National Anti-Doping Organization that included them in their respective registered testing pool as part of these top elite athletes’anti-doping responsibilities.
What does that mean? Anti-Doping Organizations are required to have out-of-competition testing on top [...]Read more
Juan Antonio Samaranch (1920-2010)
Former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch has died in hospital after being taken ill at the weekend. The Spaniard was widely regarded as the most powerful man in sport when he headed the IOC from 1980 to 2001.Read more
His successor Jacques Rogge stated: “I cannot find the words to express the distress of the Olympic family (…) Thanks to his extraordinary vision and talent, Samaranch was the architect of a strong and unified Olympic Movement.
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