Fluctuating International Relations in a Covid-19 World and the Politics of Sport Mega-Events

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Since the outbreak of coronavirus, global politics has observed a series of crisis and conflict. This paper considers how the current fluctuating international relations would shape the undertone of the upcoming sports mega-events to be held in a (post) Covid-19 world, namely the 2020(1) and 2022 Olympic Games in Tokyo and Beijing and the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Few major international sporting events take place in a political vacuum, but these three occasions are more liable to be entangled in nationalist politics and the tensions amongst nations. The relations between Japan and South Korea are particularly thorny nowadays mainly due to the trade dispute in 2019, and the coronavirus epidemic has added more complexity to nationalist politics on both sides. At this juncture, Tokyo 2020(1) may present a platform where such worsening old-foe relations are played out. Chinese politics has recently become more ambitious, and the West, especially the US, is wary of the increasing influence of China on international affairs. While the Sino-American hostility is intensifying, the Covid-19 pandemic creates an environment where China scepticism flourishes in the West. If this mood persists, Beijing 2022 can turn into a new Cold War game. The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will be the first major international sporting event to be staged in post-Brexit Britain. The UK Government initiates the “Global Britain” project as its new foreign policy agenda. Additionally, the Black Lives Matter movement, which spread rapidly in the UK during the Covid-19 lockdown, triggers “culture wars” over Britain’s colonial past. In this context, Birmingham 2022 may disclose the uneasy intersection between the UK’s global imagination and its postcolonial identity conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2020
Event2020 Global Sport Science Virtual Conference - Seoul National University (Zoom), Seoul , Korea, Republic of
Duration: 13 Nov 2020 → …


Conference2020 Global Sport Science Virtual Conference
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
Period13/11/20 → …


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