Library special Olympic Games

From 9 February 2018 to 25 February 2018, the XXIII Olympic Winter Games will take place in PyeongChang (South Korea).

PyeongChang's vision for the 2018 Games is to offer the Olympic Movement and the world of winter sports New Horizons for Sustainability - a legacy of new growth and new potential never seen before. Its Winter Games plan is one of the most compact in Olympic history, it offers a unique stage on which the world’s best athletes can achieve superior performances.

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 Arbitration 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.

NEWS regarding Olympic Wintergames

New horizons beckon as curtain falls on Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018

Unity and optimism for the future were also very much at the heart of the message then delivered by IOC President Thomas Bach, who hailed the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as “the Games of New Horizons”. President Bach was also full of praise for the way that the organisers had managed to deliver a Games that were “rooted in tradition” while “showing the way to the future”, something that he added was true to the founding principles of the modern Olympic Games. “They have proved true the words of our founder, Pierre de Coubertin, when he said the Olympic Games are a homage to the past and an act of faith in the future,” said the IOC President, adding that the PyeongChang 2018 Games had reminded the world of the power of the Games to promote peace. “A true homage to the past was the respect of the Olympic Truce, just as it was three thousand years ago in ancient Olympia.”

[BBC Sport weekly round-up of the big stories in the build-up to 2018 Winter Olympics]


North Korea and the Winter Olympics

26 February 2018, A New Game at the Winter Olympics : Kim Jong Un tries to play South Korea against the United States by Evan Osnos (The New Yorker)

18 February 2018, PyongChang "Peace Olympics"

20 January 2018, The International Olympic Committee said  that North Korea will send 22 athletes to 5 Olympic sports this year.

17 January 2018, North and South Korea have confirmed they are to field a joint women’s ice hockey team and will march under a pro-unification flag.

The North’s participation came as a result of a series of historic meetings in a conference room in Panmunjom, a village that straddles the Demilitarized Zone separating the two countries, which have maintained an uneasy truce since the end of a war in 1953. The discussions have not resulted in any major diplomatic breakthroughs and are not designed to reach an agreement on North Korea’s controversial nuclear and ballistic missile development.

1 January 2018: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un used his New Year's Day speech to announce for the first time that the country would be willing to take part in next month's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.


Russian doping sanctions

18 February 2018, The Russian delegation at the Pyeongchang Olympics says one of its athletes has failed a doping test. Two Russian state news agencies cite Konstantin Vybornov, spokesman for the “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” as saying the delegation received an official notification from the International Olympic Committee of the positive test. Vybornov adds a “B” sample taken from the athlete will be analyzed, but does not name the athlete or the sport. A confirmed doping case could be an obstacle to Russia’s efforts to have the Russian team formally reinstated in time for the closing ceremony.

1 February 2018, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that in 28 cases the evidence “was found to be insufficient” to establish the athletes committed an anti-doping rule violation. Although CAS has partially struck down International Olympic Committee sanctions for Russian athletes in the Sochi Olympics, the IOC said in a statement that the CAS decision does not mean the 28 Russian athletes will be invited to the Games. The "IOC regrets very much that – according to the CAS press release – the panels did not take this proven existence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system into consideration for the 28 cases. The CAS required an even higher threshold on the necessary level of evidence than the Oswald Commission and former CAS decisions. This may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping. Therefore, the IOC will analyse the reasoned decisions very carefully once they are available and consider consequences, including an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal."

5 December 2017, the IOC’s Executive Board has decided  to ban Russia from these Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang

IOC President Bach said: “This systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russia (during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Wintergames) was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games,”. “That is why the (IOC) Executive Board suspended the Russian Olympic Committee with immediate effect but it also respected the individual rights of the clean athletes by allowing individual clean athletes to participate in Pyeongchang.” While Russia, which has publicly refused to accept responsibility and has denied any systematic doping supported by the state, may not be happy with the sanctions, Bach sounded confident there would be no boycotting of the Olympics. “An Olympic boycott has never served anything. Secondly, there is no reason for a boycott because the clean Russian athletes will have the opportunity to participate in Pyeongchang,” Bach said.

November and December 2017 IOC has sanctioned about 30 Russian athletes as part of Oswald Commission findings.

See also Peace Palace Library blog: Russia at the 2018 Winter Olympics?


Olympic Games: Selective bibliography Peace Palace Library

Olympic Documents

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Librarian's choices

  • Mestre, A.M., The law of the Olympic Games, The Hague, Asser, 2009.
    Mestre, A.M., The law of the Olympic Games, The Hague, Asser, 2009.

    Mestre, A.M., The law of the Olympic Games, The Hague, Asser, 2009.

  • 513 B 5

  • Karamichas, J.,The Olympic Games and the Environment, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
    Karamichas, J.,The Olympic Games and the Environment, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

    Karamichas, J.,The Olympic Games and the Environment, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

  • 534 B 18

  • S 2564 d.15

  • S 2564 d.9