The Beijing Olympics will be remembered as the largest, most
expensive, and most widely watched event of the modern Olympic era.
But did China present itself as a responsible host and an emergent
international power, much like Japan during the 1964 Tokyo Games
and Korea during the 1988 Seoul Games? Or was Beijing in 2008 more
like Berlin in 1936, when Germany took advantage of the global
spotlight to promote its political ideology at home and abroad?
"Beyond the Final Score" is one of the first books to look at
the 2008 Beijing games within the context of the politics of sport
in Asia. Asian athletics are bound up with notions of national
identity and nationalism, refracting political intent and the
process of globalization. Sporting events can generate diplomatic
breakthroughs (as with the results of Nixon and Mao's "ping-pong
diplomacy") or breakdowns (as when an athlete defects to another
country). For China, the Beijing Games introduced a liberalizing
ethos that its authoritative regime could ignore only at its peril.
Victor D. Cha& mdash;former director of Asian affairs for the
White House& mdash;evaluates Beijing's contention with this
pressure considering the intense scrutiny China already faced on
issues of counterproliferation, global warming, and free trade. He
begins with the theoretical arguments tying Asian sport to
international affairs and follows with an explanation of athletics
as they relate to identity, diplomacy, and transformation. Enhanced
by Cha's remarkable facility with the history and politics of
sport, "Beyond the Final Score" is the definitive examination of
the significance of events& mdash;both good and bad&
mdash;that took place during the BeijingOlympics.
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