Publishers Weekly Review of NOlympians

NOlympians
Inside the Fight Against Capitalist Mega-Sports in Los Angeles, Tokyo and Beyond

By Jules Boykoff  

Boykoff (Power Games), a political science professor at Pacific University in Oregon, examines anti-Olympics activism in this informed yet somewhat repetitive account. Focusing on the backlash to the planned 2028 Summer Olympics in L.A., Boykoff contends that growing public awareness of the economic downsides of hosting the Olympics and “dwindling bidder interest” have left the Games in a vulnerable place, which organizations such as NOlympics LA are exploiting to spread their democratic socialist message. Boykoff accuses the International Olympic Committee and host governments of laundering human-rights abuses (“sportswashing”); diverting public funds to the construction of “white elephant stadiums”; displacing poor and minority communities; militarizing local police forces; and, in the case of the 1984 L.A. Olympics, contributing to the death of a bald eagle from smog-related lung disease. On the other hand, he praises the intersectionality and satirical humor of NOlympics LA, whose actions to combat homelessness and other social ills include spray-painting discarded mattresses with slogans such as “Fuck Rainbow Capitalism.” Though knowledgeable and passionate about leftist politics and Olympic malfeasance, Boykoff doesn’t fully reckon with the cultural and historical allure of “mega-sports” and frequently repeats his larger points about the evils of capitalism. Still, progressive groups will consider this a useful guide to launching their own anti-Olympic campaigns.

— Publishers Weekly, April 2020

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