In 2008, China was poised upon the brink of world domination. Set to host the Summer Olympic Games in its capital Beijing, China would come off from this two week-long event as a victorious host and dominant world power, or as a failed, backward, socially regressive society, still ill prepared to challenge the West for economic and cultural superiority. To place such a defining emphasis on the influence of this event does not overstate the role of the Olympic Games in modern society building. The Olympics are a global event, they are watched by millions and they continue to govern how sport develops in hundreds of countries across the world. The Olympics constitute the pinnacle of the world of sports. The Olympics provide a prism through which the athletic abilities of a nation can be judged, but in modern society, the Olympics extend far beyond athletics.
Acting as the springboard for country promotion, the Olympics becomes a multi-pronged promotional tool for the host country. If a nation can perform well in the medal count and can also present a seamless Games they may then count the event a success. A nation may use this time to showcase its individuality, its national industries and its pride. If it cannot do these things well, the host nation will undoubtedly suffer. The Games may do more harm than the good that they deliver. It is within this context that we may analyze the impact of sport upon the economic and social development of a nation. Sports have been an historical instigator for social development. Sports, at the highest levels, have provided an impetus for social advancement, which has had a positive impact upon the economic strength of a region or country that embraces sports, a positive impact upon the societal integration of genders and a developmental positive impact upon the growth of a region that is dedicated to strengthening its athletic prowess. The 2008 Olympics helped China take greater strides toward democracy. The Olympics forced China to modernize the society and were instrumental in delivering economic gains to the region. Globalization came to China in 2008 and China showcased the Olympics in style on an international scenario.
[...] Here, sport provided an avenue for social development and an equal opportunity to regain the great figures that the government had expended, while also bringing in tourism dollars to the surrounding cities. The media of the entire world descended upon Beijing. While the gains in tourism may help to increase the economy of a region, there are tremendous organizational and economic requirements that must be artfully executed if a country has any hope of gaining from an Olympic hosting duty. [...]
[...] Other such instances of global anger toward China and toward the Olympic committee for choosing China were lauded in the lead up to the Games. As the Olympic Torch travelled through Europe on its way to the host country, countless demonstrations were held denouncing China. It was important for these issues to be covered by international press, because it showed that China still has issues on which it needs to develop. Bringing attention to these issues will only help the Western world to be more tolerant of foreign countries. [...]
[...] While China continued to face questions and attacks from outside groups regarding its longtime treatment of Tibet, a protest raged during March of 2008, wherein 5,000 Tibetans rioted with the hope of gaining international coverage to spark interest in their struggle. Outbursts such as this could not have been considered a surprise. After China was awarded the games in 2001, concerns were quickly raised about their political treatment of the Tibetan province, and the nationals cry for independence. Drawing light unto these issues was the spotlight of the Olympiad, but it did not prove to derail the Olympic planning process. If anything, this allowed China to deal with, on a national stage, its unique struggles throughout the region. [...]
[...] Progress cannot be isolated simply to economic benefit for China, because the benefit to China during these games touched phases within politics, globalization, economics and development. In the aquatic center, China presented one of the most impressive venues ever for an Olympic sport. In total, China won 51 gold medals setting itself apart from its closest competitor (the United States) by 15 medals. Healthy competition in key sports likely increased the level of play. At the end of the Games, China could review its athletic performance as a resounding success. [...]
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