The Invisible Web

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Helen Jefferson Lenskyj (with Am Johal) on IOC and Olympic sacrafices

Posted by invizweb on July 1, 2008

Below is an excerpt from an interview of Helen Jefferson Lenskyj conducted by Am Johal for Seven Oaks Magazine in regards to the International Olympic Committee, the Olympics, and negative impacts of these international games.

Helen Jefferson Lenskyj is the author of Inside the Olympic Industry (2000), The Best Olympics Ever? (2002) and the forthcoming book Olympic Industry Resistance. She spoke over the phone with Am Johal.

AJ: Since the UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Adequate Housing visited Vancouver in the middle of October 2007, there have been three more low income rental buildings planning to evict tenants and convert by the end of February 2008. Over 700 have already converted since the Olympics were awarded to Vancouver and the City of Vancouver predicts that another 660 are under threat. Is this the usual story of Olympic promises not being kept?

Certainly. Why would they have bothered with this inner-city inclusive commitment statement if it wasn’t for public relations. It was window dressing and it is part of a very common process for Olympic Organizing Committees.

Not only does this divide community groups on the ground, it doesn’t really lead to results. It seems either a moderate or a more radical approach doesn’t seem to effect policy-making. There seems to be simple menu of public policy options available that they seem to be neglecting either through incompetence or poor planning.

In watching and monitoring everything that happened including pushing out homeless people, Olympic watchdog groups in Australia were partially effective in raising issues. Certainly homelessness would have been worse if they hadn’t been there. They had an important role to play.


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