A realist perspective of Sport Management Program and the H.J. Lutcher Stark governmental perceptions of Olympic boycott movements, 1936-2008


Using historical and discourse analytical methods, this study demonstrates the reciprocal relationship between sport and international relations among states and the need to incorporate sport into foreign policy deliberations. Specifically, this article traces the evolution of the US's governmental perceptions of Olympic boycotts under a realist international relations framework. In order to examine several different geopolitical contexts, the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the 2008 Beijing Olympics were selected for analysis. Both international and domestic politics were considered so that the derived policies regarding a US boycott during each Olympics could be better explained. While a US boycott is unlikely in the near future, it cannot be completely ruled out as an instrument of diplomacy. At a practical level, this article suggests sport is not free from government interests, and sport organizations would be well served to plan for various government-influenced contingencies. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Publication Title

International Journal of Sport Policy