The Tokyo Olympics did not take place in 2020, pandemic requires. The replacement version (which nevertheless retains the original Tokyo 2020 logo …) must begin in a few days with nearly 340 competitions opposing some 11,500 athletes surrounded by around 80,000 specialists, support staff, Olympic delegates and media representatives.

Finally, it is the program, set with strict constraints such as reducing to a minimum the stay of athletes in Japan in order to limit their contact with the population. We will have to wait until July 23 to believe it and August 8 to see the end of it.

If we get that far, of course. And these Games, which almost did not take place, will be held against the opinion of the Japanese population: eight Japanese in 10 would like their outright cancellation despite the 20 billion invested in the preparation of this world sports orgy.

“The pandemic is far from over, the new variants worry a lot and, frankly, the risk, if the Tokyo Games take place, is that they will leave thousands of deaths behind”, said in an interview the French Marc Perelman, a fierce critic of global sports entertainment and the Olympics in particular for decades.

And then ? Well, in 2024, the olympics did not take place, according to the strange retro futuristic title of the last fire of Professor Perelman, who teaches aesthetics at the University of Paris Nanterre. He chose it as a nod to the philosopher Jean Baudrillard, who provocatively declared in 1991 that the Gulf War “did not take place” in our world of mediatized simulacra.

“To take place? Such is in fine the question which has become nagging concerning the Olympic Games, from which the citizens of the cities and countries concerned, in a period of health and social instability, seem to want to turn away from what is now considered superfluous, ”writes the essayist.

Political sport

Marc Perelman was trained as an architect. He has published extensively on the body, its mutations and its figures – and on sports too.

“What we do not succeed in apprehending in sport is its deeply political nature,” he said. Politics ? Yes Yes.

“Sport was born at the end of the XIXe century and is deployed as a political and ideological project in a capitalist framework structured by competition and the global organization of social relations. Sport is a struggle against oneself, against others, in a permanent search for excellence and performance. “

The Olympic Games represent the pinnacle of the structural springs of sport. He also recalls the obvious, namely that “the deep essence of the Games” brings together “muscular youth” (to use the expression of the founder Pierre de Coubertin) in a physical competition between individuals fighting hard for their country in an immense show, today the most watched in the world. Four, maybe 4.5 billion people will watch proofs.

Trending on Canadian News  An Aboriginal component to better equip future police officers at Cégep de Baie-Comeau

“Today, there are very, very few people to criticize this aspect,” says the professor. The Olympics celebrate fierce competition between individuals and the performance of the ideal man. He says indeed man in the sense of the virile male. “The woman remains inferior, since the men are always the strongest, the fastest, with exceptions for the rare mixed disciplines. “

The imposed sport-spectacle model

Major planetary sporting gatherings, such as the Soccer World Cup (in Qatar in 2022) and the Olympics (presented in their winter version in Beijing next year), focus and expose this reality which is taking shape in a formatting of the city. , he exposes.

“The Olympics are implementing urban planning,” says the architect. It is fundamental. Construction and public works companies see a real treasure coming. And each time, every city – and therefore the states, and therefore the citizens – ends up with quite impressive bills. In addition, costs are always systematically exceeded, except once, in Los Angeles in 1984. “

Montreal got a taste of it in the 1970s with its “Modest Games”. The Olympic Park had already cost more than two billion 30 years after the Olympics, for 180 million budgeted. The saga of the roof of the Olympic Stadium continues and fortunes will still be necessary to install a fourth version. Montreal wanted this renovation to host World Cup soccer matches in 2024. Quebec finally refused to finance this ostentatious sports madness. Its estimated cost for three games presented at the Olympic Stadium: 100 million each! Yes, yes 300 million expenses for a few hours of competition …

In short, all this for 15 days of emotional plague, and then basta.

The Olympic cities inevitably find themselves with sports equipment used during a few euphoric days, then quickly abandoned. The ruins of Athens, hostess of the Olympic Games in 2004, are proving particularly disturbing in a country floundering in crises since the turn of the century.

“In France, we were presented with it differently, admitting the problem,” notes Perelman. We were told that 90% of the equipment is already built. That is true. Except that the State is putting the package on urban development. In the space of seven years since the awarding of the Olympic Games, the Paris region will have undergone gigantic work. Concrete is everywhere; 65 new stations are being created, 200 km of tunnels, etc. A real urban transformation is taking place in the capital and its surroundings. “

Isn’t that positive? These developments will continue to be used, like the green line of the Montreal metro extended in 1976, which still serves the east of the city. “Of course, there will be a positive legacy, but only if we accept that the development of the city should take place in this form,” replies the professor. They want us to believe that the natural development of the city is there, in this model of rapid and constant circulation between distant points. “

Trending on Canadian News  PM responds to 'concerning' rise in hate across Canada

The population, little, if not not consulted for these major projects, would they really want a gigantic stadium rather than modest, but practical local sports facilities, parks and access to water? Would she prefer a metro line to this stadium or other transit options?

“Not to mention that, for years, Paris has been impracticable because of the pharaonic works,” continues the critic. There were up to 7,000 work points with impediments to parking, movement, noise and pollution. So everything we said about the Green Games and sustainable development fell. It was greenwashing ; Paris is even dirtier and more polluted than before, and traffic is extremely poor. “

Paris, soon to be an “Olympic” city?

Mr. Perelman’s latest work delicately dissects all its aspects. For example, he deals with the “Olympicization of monuments” in the City of Light, a jewel of humanity. Versailles will host horse riding competitions, the Grand Palais will be used for fencing, the Eiffel Tower for beach volleyball. This privatization of public spaces, including to display sponsorship logos, shocks the professor.

” The monuments (monument, derived from the verb moneo, to remember) […] will become mere signs (some will be covered with tarpaulins with the Olympic effigy) veiling their façade, exhausting their historical content, disintegrating their memory, ”protests architect Perelman. He recalls that initially, Mayor Anne Hidalgo was against the presentation of the Games in her city.

The case of Notre-Dame de Paris seems even more disturbing to him. The day after the cathedral fire, in April 2019, President Emmanuel Macron promised to rebuild the cathedral “even more beautiful” within five years, with the deadline for the opening of the Olympics in 2024. Architects heritage estimated that it would take double the time, or even four times as much, to do well.

“The risk was to go too fast to get Notre-Dame to take part in the Olympic race,” said Professor Perelman. She also had to win her participation in the Olympics. Fortunately, common sense and necessities have won the day: the work will be extended. 2024, the inauguration of Notre-Dame des Jeux did not take place …

Criticism of Olympic Criticism

Watch video

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.