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This book analyses the relationship between the Olympic Games, with its ethos of openness and collectivism, and the security concerns and surveillance technologies that are becoming increasingly prevalent in the organisation of public events.





Prologue: Olympic Surveillance as a Prelude to Securitization

The modern Olympic Games were founded in the late 19th century with values of egalitarianism, brotherhood, and competition foremost in mind, in some ways close to those of the 18th-century French revolutionaries yet intended officially as utterly apolitical in their application. The Olympic authorities established regulations with which to govern the management of Olympic organization and the rules whereby athletes competed in the Games. In effect, the Olympic authorities began to shape a bureaucracy for Olympic sport and manned this assemblage with officials, just as other officials supervised and adjudicated the competitions themselves. Bureaucracies manage and control by receiving, creating, and modifying classifications by which to order, organize, and surveil realities. The Olympics are no exception. Though the values of the Olympics are given pride of place in discussions of the significance of the Games in the modern era, the bureaucratic ethos of surveillance is no less central to the existence of the Games, indeed is “native” to the Games, to their selections and competitions. I emphasize this point because surveillance is the closest of kin to securitization.
Don Handelman

1. The Olympic Games as Complex Planned Event: Between Uncertainty and Order Through Security Meta-ritual

The juxtaposition of older and recent Olympic Identity and Accreditation Cards on the front cover is an invitation to reflect on the subject of this book, namely a historical and comparative look at how surveillance and security have been serving as means to cope with complexity and uncertainty of the Olympic Games. In the Olympic circles, these identity cards are associated with what is known as “accreditation.” This is a surveillance procedure that makes it possible to manage membership by regularly updating databases on participants and, at the same time, control access to the Games by designing patterns of spatial mobility and social interaction within the Olympic space. Today, the Olympic space has become a maximally controlled enclosure, which separates insiders from outsiders — those who are allowed to enter the space and others who remain outside. Within the enclosure, these identity cards divide the insiders into two general categories: spectators who hold admission tickets for specific competitions or ceremonies and other participants who are “accredited” for entering other areas of the Olympic enclosure. To be “accredited” means to be subjected to precise identification and clear classification into categories of privilege. These correspond to segmentation of the enclosure into subareas that are themselves stratified on the basis of privilege of access. The various codes and designations on the cards are pictorial abstractions of how this procedure of hierarchy of classification of participants works. As such, they provide some insights into how its process may have evolved over time.
Vida Bajc

2. On Security and Surveillance in the Olympics: A View from Inside the Tent

The International Olympic Committee was established in 1894 as the principal outcome of an international Congress convened in Paris by a young French educator, Baron Pierre de Coubertin. One of its ambitious goals was to renovate the ancient Olympic Games and hold quadrennial celebrations of these Games, beginning in Athens in 1896. The event set in motion what has become an extraordinary international sport system, involving hundreds of millions of athletes and spectators, currently in 205 separately recognized countries or territories. The Olympic Games now include Winter, as well as Summer Games, are normally concentrated in a single location and into a 17-day time frame, and are watched by some four billion spectators. They attract huge television, media, sponsorship, licensing and ticketing revenues, on a scale unimaginable even half a century ago, much less than when Coubertin and his initial colleagues launched their initiative. The spin-off of such revenues plays a vital role in the maintenance of the international sport system, which has allowed the Olympic Movement to become, for all intents and purposes, universal. In addition to the visible sport component, the Games now transcend mere sport and exist as an event in their own right as a world symbol, characterizing international understanding, friendship and peace.
Richard W. Pound

Case Studies


3. Modernity and the Carnivalesque (Tokyo 1964)

When the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics took place on October 10, 1964, audiences around the world were watching live on television. Only four years earlier, the 1960 Olympics in Rome were recorded on reels, and these tapes were sent around the world for broadcasting. For the Tokyo Olympics, however, the United States provided the necessary technical support for Japan to be able to broadcast the Games via satellite and in color (Tagsold, 2002: 105–107). The Tokyo Olympics were also the first Games to be staged in Asia. Tokyo had already won the bid to stage the Olympics in 1940 but due to war, the right to the Games was given back to the International Olympic Committee in 1938 (Collins, 2007).
Christian Tagsold

4. Repression of Protest and the Image of Progress (Mexico City 1968)

In 1963, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1968 Summer Olympic Games to Mexico City based largely on the perception that Mexico — unique among Latin American nations — was a peaceful land led by a stable government. This image of Mexico had been decades in the making and incorporated a blend of celebrating Mexico’s rich history and indigenous culture along with its growing promise as a modern, urban, cosmopolitan nation. Marketing these ideas began in the late 19th century, when a group of elite Mexican leaders and experts, described by historian Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo as the “wizards of progress,” began portraying such an image through displays at the world’s fairs (Tenorio-Trillo, 1996: 18–19). As historian Eric Zolov has explained, these developments continued in the tourism advertising campaigns of the 1960s, exemplified by the slogan, “So foreign…yet so near” (Zolov, 2001: 248).
Kevin B. Witherspoon

5. Fear of Radical Movements and Policing the Enemy Within (Sapporo 1972)

Before considering the organization of the 1972 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo, it is important to understand linguistic and semantic differences between safety and security. As briefly discussed by Christian Tagsold in Chapter 3 on the 1964 Winter Tokyo Games, in Japanese, “safety” and “security” are generally translated as anzen. When a more subjective, perceptional, and emotional dimension of these terms is considered, the word anshin is preferred. The word chiari has been used in discussing concerns of public safety and national security, while chian-jousei (security situation) or chian-iji (maintaining security) are often used in official discourses like police reports on tasks concerning “law and order.” Actually, chian may imply both public safety and national security, depending on the contexts in which it is used. In recent mass media discourse on criminal activities, we find sensational reporting on police concerns for chian-akka, which means corruption of public safety. This has become a way of legitimizing introduction of tight surveillance policy. In these cases, threat to the public safety is regarded as “crime as violation of law.” In a mundane way of talking about how to realize order in society in response to real or imagined threats, it is often said that we have to ascertain security, or sekyuritii, as the word has been incorporated into Japanese. In recent sociopolitical context of Japan where the threat of crime is somehow exaggerated, the terms chian or sekyuritii could be understood as the counterpart of “public safety” in English.
Kiyoshi Abe

6. “The Most Beautiful Olympic Games That Were Ever Destroyed” (Munich 1972)

The overriding purpose for the organizers of the 1972 Summer Munich Olympic Games was to demonstrate to the world that the post-World War II Federal Republic of Germany (from now on, West Germany) had become a modern democratic and open society. There were two key persons in this process: Willi Daume, the head of West German sport and President of the Munich Organizing Committee, and Hans-Jochen Vogel, the mayor of Munich and Vice-President of the Munich Organizing Committee. Daume and Vogel, together with others on the Committee, wanted to erase the negative memories of Hitler’s 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. As has been shown in the research literature, however, this purpose was not supported by all Germans (see Schiller and Young, 2010; Pfeiffer, 2001; Dwertmann and Pfeiffer, 2001). Especially the other Germany, the German Democratic Republic (from now on, East Germany) was eager to suppress the initiative that the Olympics should be given to Munich.1
Jørn Hansen

7. “The Army’s Presence Will Be Obvious” (Montreal 1976)

There was nothing discrete about the surveillance organizers undertook at the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. In the largest Canadian military operation since World War II, 8940 Canadian soldiers guarded the Olympic venues, hotels and transportation hubs in Montreal and the satellite cities of Bromont (equestrian), Kingston (yachting) and Toronto (soccer preliminaries). They worked in close coordination and communication with 1376 officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 1140 from the Quebec Police Force, 533 from the Ontario Provincial Police, 1606 from the Montreal Police Department, 424 from four other municipal police services, and 2910 private security guards. Most of these officers were heavily armed, equipped with the most technologically advanced communication devices and in full uniform. In airports and the various border crossings, customs and immigration officers were on alert, empowered by temporary legislation that gave them the authority to turn anyone without an Olympic identity card or a Canadian passport away at will. Visitors from Middle East countries entering from the United States were required to have special visas. Along extended stretches of the unguarded Canada-United States border, electronic sensors were installed and air, ground and waterway patrols were initiated in the period leading up to and during the Games.
Bruce Kidd

8. “To Guarantee Security and Protect Social Order” (Moscow 1980)

According to the Soviet Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs B.T. Shumilin at a meeting in December 1979, the Soviet leadership saw the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow as not only a unique opportunity but also a huge responsibility: “For the first time in the history of the Olympic Movement, the Games are taking place in a socialist country, a country which advocates the strengthening of security of nations, facilitates a wide international cooperation, and is unshakable…in its implementation of Leninist world politics of peace.”1 During the Cold War, international sport was one of the areas where the East and the West would seek to demonstrate to each other the superiority of their respective political systems. Interestingly, however, Robert Edelman (2006) notes that, during the pre-Olympic period, the theme of the Cold War was largely absent from the Soviet discourses. The Olympics were already popular in the Soviet Union by 1952, following the first successes of the Soviet athletes in Helsinki. To the Soviet sport leaders at the time, the Olympics would be an opportunity to leave the international isolation of the Stalinist period behind and present to the world the new Soviet leadership as peaceful and progressive (Prozumenshchikov, 2004: 191).
Carol Marmor-Drews

9. Cross-National Intelligence Cooperation and Centralized Security Control System (Seoul 1988)

The 24th Seoul Summer Olympic Games were a significant mega-event for both South Korea and the international sporting community. South Korea was able to showcase its economic progress following the devastation left by the civil war and, through this event, enter the world of the developed countries. Modern sport, introduced to Korea about a hundred years ago, was now transformed successfully into a global phenomenon through the Olympics (Ok, 2008). The choice of Seoul as the host city, however, highlighted the conflict on the Korean Peninsula, including protests by North Korea to the International Olympic Committee, the fatal bombing of high-ranking South Korean officials in Myanmar in 1983, and the bombing of South Korean Air Flight 858 on route to Seoul in 1987. In this context, the Seoul Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, a number of international intelligence agencies, and the security and surveillance agencies in South Korea collaborated closely to establish a nationwide security and surveillance system. The Seoul Organizing Committee commissioned two South Korean private computer and software-related companies, Sangyong Computer and Hangooksoft, to develop what they named Seoul Olympic Management System. This system built on measures implemented during the domestically hosted international events such as the 1986 Asian Games, as well as on the experiences of other cities that hosted the Games. An integral war room was set up during the Games to jointly resolve matters related to performance and safety1 Various agencies conducted coordinated operations and rounds of comprehensive rehearsals at each venue to strengthen measures against North Korea and international terrorist organizations and to practice dedicated personal security for participants (Kim, 2004).
Gwang Ok, Kyoung Ho Park

10. Platform for Local Political Expression and Resolution (Barcelona 1992)

The 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics are remembered as a model of urban regeneration, especially in terms of their ability to change the spatial structure and image of the city (Garcia-Ramon and Albet, 2000; Marshall, 1996, 2000, 2004; Monclús, 2003). These outcomes were partly facilitated by the safe and secure staging of the event, which, while not considered to be “high risk” by the organizers, did present some potential challenges. At the global level, there was some thinking about possible reprisal attacks on competing nations in the Olympics for their involvement in the Gulf War (1990–1991) (Coaffee and Johnston, 2007:146). Domestically, there was some concern that the Olympics might be used as a platform for publicity by those seeking greater political autonomy from the centralist state based in Madrid. Notably, there had been long-standing tensions in the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia, where a strong sense of social and cultural identity had underpinned demands for greater political and economic independence (Conversi, 1997). The location of the Games in Barcelona, the most populous and powerful city within these potentially divergent autonomous regions, obviously had particular resonance. By analyzing the spatial organization of the four main Olympic venues across the city, the coordination between the multi-sectoral agencies involved in surveillance and their strategies to counter any potential threat of disruption, the argument taken in this chapter suggests that, in terms of security, the success of the event had more to do with political debate and the recognition that any disruption would be counterproductive to the respective causes. The principal threats to the tranquillity of the Games stemmed more from political and regional tensions within Spain than from externally generated instability. However, in terms of security, the success of the event was partly determined by the recognition by potential dissidents that disruption to such a globally high-profile event would be counterproductive to their causes.
Stephen Essex

11. Rupturing Performer-Spectator Interaction

Audience-spectator-performer interactions are central to public events because they are meant to encourage interpersonal relations and collective sentiments in public spaces. This is particularly the case with the Olympics because their original purpose was to bring together performers and spectators from different parts of the globe. When surveillance procedures dominate the organization of the event, these interactions take on interesting forms. I became aware of these restricted relations while studying the Lillehammer Games of 1994 as part of a team of anthropologists. I shall draw attention to these interactions through methodology by trying to show how the organizational design of the Olympics as a global event and the strategies of surveillance put in place to ensure its success set specific conditions for fieldwork and hence affect the research process. More specifically I shall discuss how these conditions shape the questions that we are able to pose and the kind of data we are able to collect. When I studied the Winter Olympics in 1994 as member of a research team, I did not see surveillance as a research topic in its own right. I just found myself subject to the rules and regulations that surrounded the arrangement.
Ingrid Rudie

12. National Special Security Event (Salt Lake City 2002)

The 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games began in February just five months after the events of September 11, 2001.1 This tragedy combined with the memory of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games created a sense among some that such global public events bring unnecessary risks. In fact, a group of security experts convened by the Jane’s Information Group in the days after the attacks debated about the relative merits of moving forward with the Olympics considering the uncertain future public safety landscape. Some wondered if this event might “divert security resources from airports and other public facilities where critics say security is inadequate and underfunded.”2 The decision to move forward with the Games sent a clear message to the public that the spirit of the Olympics would not be deterred. In the months leading up to the Games, there was a sense of foreboding and anticipation of an extended period of uncertainty, fear, and economic instability. For many in the United States, the pending Olympics represented both an opportunity and a threat, a time for healing but also a time of anxiety. As Bellavita (2007: 1) observed, “The Games became a symbol of national resolve in the face of barbarism.” These sentiments underscored the importance of the symbol of the Olympic Games, something that prompted the host organization to spend more and more money, increasingly involving the federal government and its security institutions.
Sean P. Varano, George W. Burruss, Scott H. Decker

13. Asymmetric Power Relations (Athens 2004)

This above statement was made in 2010 by the Minister of Defense before the Greek Parliament’s investigation committee in the lead-up to the 2004 Athens Olympics. The committee was investigating the security scandals involving Siemens and the security system called Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Information (C4I).2 In some respects, it could perfectly sum up asymmetric power relations between Greece, the host country of the first post-9/11 Summer Olympics, and what could be qualified as a United States-led hegemonic group3 of Western countries (Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Israel, and Spain) that sought and eventually managed to shape the Greek Olympic security dispositif. To highlight what lies beneath this rather unusual official confirmation of fierce left and radical left denunciation of the “Olympic fiesta that endorses collaboration between domestic bosses and multinational firms, foreign political command centers and security agencies,”4 one has to go back in time. Unraveling the way 21st-century concerns over security threats mingle with protection of economic, political and geopolitical interests in the Athens Olympics’ context cannot be achieved unless this web of interactions is seen inter alia in light of the evolution both of security policies and international relations in the postwar era.
Anastassia Tsoukala

14. Spatialities of Control (Turin 2006)

Turin, a city in northwestern Italy with a population of about 900,000 and a metropolitan area of about 1.5 million was the host of the 2006 Winter Olympics. As the capital of the Piedmont region of 4.3 million inhabitants, Turin is the fourth-largest Italian city. Thanks to the headquarters of automobile manufacturer Fiat, the city was recognized as the Italian capital of automobile production, and as such, Turin has often been compared to Detroit (see Vanolo, 2008, 2015). As in many other cities dominated by one corporation, the general crisis of the Fordist-style factory manufacturing, beginning in the late 1970s, has been dramatic, thus laying the foundation for a debate on the economic future of the city. Following a devastating automobile crisis in 1996, the metropolitan administration launched an initiative to support the city’s economic diversification and a change in its industrial image.
Alberto Vanolo

15. People’s Olympics? (Beijing 2008)

Granted, the question mark was not included in this main slogan of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Beijing Olympics generated heated debates worldwide on China’s authoritarian governance, environmental pollution, human rights situation, alleged indulgence of humanitarian disaster in Darfur in southern Sudan, and its policies toward Tibet. Indeed, many observers believed that not all people shared the same dream. The charge of China’s indulgence of humanitarian disaster in Darfur made Steven Spielberg withdraw in January 2008 from his cooperation with Zhang Yimou to design the spectacle of the Opening Ceremony — a step that did not cause much debate within China itself. The months preceding the Olympics were thus ridden with events unplanned by the authorities, events that disrupted the intended promotion of the Olympics.
Gladys Pak Lei Chong, Jeroen de Kloet, Guohua Zeng

16. Promoting “Civility,” Excluding the Poor (Vancouver 2010)

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics ushered in “the most complex domestic [surveillance] operation ever undertaken in Canada.”1 Preparations began at least four years prior to ensure the smooth interinstitutional collaboration between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canada’s federal policing arm), municipal police forces, the Canadian Armed Forces, and private security firms, which together became the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit. These “official” aspects of surveillance for the Vancouver Games were supplemented by legislative changes, the implementation of new bylaws, and city “guidelines” for residents of Vancouver. This chapter traces these initiatives, as represented within media reports, legislature records, and official documentation, and asks: for whom are these practices intended? Through a qualitative research project designed to investigate the experiences of homeless and street-involved youth in the year prior to and during the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the chapter attempts to illuminate the effects of such surveillance regimes on the most marginalized members of host cities. In doing so, I wish to highlight larger issues pertaining to the neoliberalization of city spaces, intensified under the auspices of Olympic preparations, and the implications these have for marginalized residents’ citizenship rights within urban spaces.
Jacqueline Kennelly

17. Public-Private Global Security Assemblages (London 2012)

On July 6, 2005, London was selected as the first host city to be awarded the Olympic Games for the third time, solidifying its prominent role in modern Olympic and international sporting history. Matthew Llewellyn (2011) offers a useful analysis of this history. Great Britain held local, national and empire Games as early as the 17th century and also contributed to the founding of the modern Olympics. In spite of early indifference on the part of the government as well as the public, the British Olympic Association was founded in 1905 which made Great Britain an important participant in the pivotal 1906 Intermediate Games in Athens. This helped London to be selected to replace Rome as the host city for the 1908 Games in which Great Britain accounted for more than one-third of the participating athletes and received the greatest number of medals. As discussed by Richard Pound in Chapter 2 of this book, the four decades between London’s first and second hosting of the Olympics were marked by an ambiguous relationship between Great Britain and the Olympics, as the Games were canceled once during World War I and twice during the World War II. In 1948 London held the first Olympics in 12 years at the time when the city was still recovering from the devastation of the war, people lacked housing, and food was still rationed.
Joseph R. Bongiovi



18. Olympic Dilemmas: Surveillance, Security, Democracy

Attentive readers of this book might be in a similar state to that depicted in Bruce Beattie’s cartoon (Figure 18.1), intellectually confused, overwhelmed by contradictions to the point of listlessness, and depressed by their own indifference.
Vida Bajc


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