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© Olympic Museum and Studies Centre, Lausanne, 2002 - page 9 / 16

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The Modern Olympic Games

The Olympic Games in the 20th century

THE DIPLOMATIC ROLE OF THE GAMES

  • Since the 1950s, the Olympic Games have provided an opportunity for newly created countries to show the world they exist. Their appearance at the Games has often led to more widespread international recognition (e.g. certain African countries, republics of the former Soviet Union). It has even been the case that the participation of certain ath- letes in the Games has preceded the political creation of their country (e.g. East Timor).

  • At the opening ceremony of the 2000 Games in Sydney (Australia), South Korea and North Korea paraded together under a single flag. This act was unprecedented since the breakdown diplomatic relations between the two countries after the Korean War (1950-53).

  • Also in Sydney, the status of the Aborigines was front page news, and several events were organised to make their claims known. The final stage of the torch relay was car- ried out by Aboriginal athlete Cathy Freeman, and the culture of the Aboriginal people was a highlight of the opening ceremony.

© Olympic Museum and Studies Centre, Lausanne, 2002

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