Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2011


The Olympic Games are a multinational and multisport event with unparalleled global allure. As athletes from more than 200 countries convene to compete, they are guided by the “Fundamental Principles of Olympism,” which call for a mutually acceptable quest for excellence through challenge. Critics of Olympism claim the zero-sum nature of competitive challenge promotes extreme patriotism and international animosity rather than cooperative spirit. In light of this criticism and the resilience of the Olympic Games, this paper considers the proposition that athletic competition is incompatible with the goals of the Games, but ultimately rejects that view and provides two policy recommendations to allow the Olympic Games to realize their full potential as a global assembling event.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Cesar R. Torres. "Morally Incompatible?: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Competitive Sport and International Relations at the Olympic Games." SAIS Review 31, no. 1 (2011): 3-16.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2011 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in SAIS Review 31.1 (2011) 3-16. Reprinted with permission by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Included in

Kinesiology Commons