February 01, 1998

It's the Participation That Counts!

It's the Participation That Counts!

Naive journalists have been trying for too long to convince us that sports and politics should be separated. But is it realistic to separate sports from politics or from day-to-day life for that matter? Wasn’t it Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Contem-plation Olympic Movement, who said “Oh, sport, you are Peace!”?

No matter how hard countries have tried to separate sports from politics, they have invariably failed. Proof? The same, “О спорт! Ты мир!” was beaten to death by Soviet propagandists in the run-up to the 1980 Moscow Olympics. But this didn’t stop the USSR’s diplomatic opponents from boycotting the event (because of the USSR’s military invasion of Afghanistan).

The linguistic dividing line between politics and sports is even more fragile than the diplomatic one. Today we hear how Russian politics is full of “low blows” (удары ниже пояса) or how Yeltsin won his second presidential seat by points (по очкам), whereas Yuri Luzhkov knocked his opponents out (нокаутировал) in the recent mayoral elections.

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