Episode 38 | The Olympics in Asia: Gold, Glory and Geopolitics

Episode 38

The Olympics in Asia: Gold, Glory and Geopolitics

Released on July 12, 2021

Against all odds, and after much compromise, the Tokyo Olympic Games are set to go ahead this summer. With no foreign fans and most spectators banned, it’s certainly not the event Japan would have wanted.

In this episode we’ll assess the impact and significance of past Olympics in the Asian region, as well as what this summer’s event may mean for Japan. Previous Olympics in Asia have often held huge symbolic importance - from Japan’s post WWII ‘coming out’ Games in 1964, right up until most recently in 2008, when a newly powerful and confident China hosted the Beijing games.

Indeed, throughout recent history, hosting the Games has been a chance for countries to not just show off their sporting prowess, but also to demonstrate their cultural and economic power, and to shape powerful narratives about themselves both on the global and domestic stage.

Joining us this week is the man who literally wrote the book on the politics of sport in Asia - Victor Cha, currently the Senior Vice President and Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and author of Beyond the Final Score.

Our other guest is the University of Birmingham’s Shushu Chen, an expert in sport policy and management who has published extensively on the legacies of various Games.

Victor Cha (@VictorDCha)

Victor Cha is Senior Vice President and Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is professor of government and holds the D.S. Song-KF Chair in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service (SFS) at Georgetown University. In July 2019, he was appointed vice dean for faculty and graduate affairs in SFS. He left the White House in 2007 after serving since 2004 as director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council (NSC). He was also the deputy head of delegation for the United States at the Six-Party Talks in Beijing and received two outstanding service commendations during his tenure at the NSC. He is the author of five books, including Beyond the Final Score. He received his Ph.D. in political science at Columbia University in 1994, his Master’s in international affairs from Columbia in 1988, an M.A. with honors in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University (Hertford College), and an A.B. in economics from Columbia in 1979.

Shushu Chen (@Shushu_Chen)

Shushu Chen is a Lecturer in Sport Policy and Management at the University of Birmingham. Prior to that, she worked at Edge Hill University for two years, also as a lecturer in Sports Development and Management. In 2018, she had a prestigious invitation from the UN to attend one of their Expert Group Meetings (for the theme of ‘Monitoring and Evaluation of Programmes and Policies to Leverage Sport for Development and Peace’) at the UN Secretariat. She received her B.Sc. in Bioengineering from Beijing Technology and Business University, M.Sc. in Sport Management at Loughborough University, and Ph.D. researching 'The London 2012 Olympics Legacy Evaluation for a Non-Hosting Region' also at Loughborough University.