The Times podcast: No freedom gold medal for you, Olympics

Two policemen look at a phone in front of a Beijing 2022 sign
Two policemen check the pictures they have just taken in front of a display.
(Andrea Verdelli / Getty Images)

There’s a growing realization that the brilliance of the world’s best athletes isn’t enough anymore to cover some glaring problems that come with putting on the Olympics every two years.

The International Olympics Committee has always claimed the Games are about promoting goodwill and celebrating the brotherhood of mankind. But as it turns out, not only do Olympics not do that, they tend to make democratic states… more authoritarian.

So what does that mean for the Games coming to Los Angeles in 2028?

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Human Rights Watch China Director Sophie Richardson, and Pacific University political science professor Jules Boykoff


More reading:

The ‘Feel Guilty Games’?: China human rights issues have forever marked the Beijing Olympics

2028 L.A. Olympics: Agreement outlines key issues but final price tag remains unclear

Op-Ed: Tokyo’s Olympics have turned nightmarish. L.A., are you watching?

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producers Denise Guerra, Shannon Lin and Kasia Broussalian and producers Melissa Kaplan, Ashlea Brown and Angel Carreras. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our editors are Lauren Raab and Kinsee Morlan. Our executive producers are Jazmín Aguilera and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.