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Podcast: The IOC's Dick Pound on how sports and politics should mix

Listen: On the GZERO World Podcast, a look at the long history of protest at the Games with Dick Pound, the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee and a former Olympic athlete himself. With COVID rates rising globally, this year's Olympics faced some major hurdles. But the pandemic was only part of the picture. The Tokyo Games played out against a backdrop of mounting global tension surrounding gender equality, racism and human rights, leaving many people to examine the place of politics on the playing field and podium.

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Dick Pound: Olympics successful despite COVID tensions

Before the Olympics, most Japanese people were against the Games due to fear of COVID. As the tournament got on, the International Olympic Committee's Dick Pound says that most resistance vanished, but some resentment still lingers among Tokyo's residents. "There's that tension, that still exists, but it's not interfering with the sport," Pound tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch this episode on US public television - check local listings.

How should athletes protest at the Olympics?

For Dick Pound, the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee, protesting at the Games is fine — as long as it doesn't "interfere" with the competition itself or awards ceremonies. The Olympics, in his view, are an oasis of calm in the middle of an increasingly tense world, and "we shouldn't be spoiling that by pointing out the obvious , which is that there are social and political problems." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World on US public television.

How political sports boycotts (really) work

In recent days, America's pastime has become deeply embroiled in America's politics. US Major League Baseball pulled its annual All-Star Game (an annual friendly matchup of the sport's best players at every position) out of Atlanta to protest the Georgia state legislature's recent passage of restrictive new voting laws.

Just a week into baseball season, the move is a big deal in the US. But more broadly, it's the latest in a series of increasingly high-stakes sports decisions around the world that have a lot to do with politics.

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Olympic Bronze medalist on safety of Tokyo 2020 Games

Meet Mikako Kotani, Sports Director of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for Tokyo 2020. A two-time bronze medalist in synchronized swimming, Kotani explains to GZERO Media the importance sports and competition have had in her life and describes the inspiration the Olympics are to Japan and the world. The 2020 Games, postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, face unprecedented challenges for organizers and athletes. Kotani says they can also be an opportunity to bring the world together in her home country, and details the protocols and safety measures the Olympic Committee are enacting to protect all who participate. The series "Japan in 60 Seconds" is produced in partnership with the Consulate General of Japan.

This video is sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan.


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