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The grand scale aside, Russia is hardly the only country where Olympic sports, Formula One racing (also to take place later this year in Sochi) or World Cup football is a boon for larceny and graft.Nazi Germany's race laws were firmly in place when the 1936 Berlin Olympics were held, as were curbs on free speech in China in 2008 .Over and over, whether it is in Brazil or Qatar preparing for the World Cup or the Olympic Games held in oppressive and authoritarian societies, the same contradiction becomes apparent.As a result, sport becomes political.In a world so often torn apart by military strife, Coubertin believed that peace and international brotherhood could be achieved by reviving the ancient Greek Olympic Games. He insisted from the beginning that his games would be above politics, because politics is divisive, whereas the purpose of the games would be to bring people together.Charles Maurras, leader of the deeply reactionary Action Francaise, saw Coubertin's Olympics as a liberal Anglo-Saxon plot to undermine racial vigor and native pride.Let us spare a thought for the homosexuals and other vulnerable citizens who will have to live under Putin's venal and increasingly despotic rule once the party has moved on.
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