Sport, Discrimination, and the Olympic and Paralympic Games

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This introduction outlines some of the core themes and concepts that cut across this special issue. We begin by discussing the Olympics and Paralympics and how athlete activists have used the Games to highlight inequity and social injustice. With television audiences surpassing five billion people, these mega-events have the potential to not only reach onlookers from across the world but perhaps change attitudes, practices, and policies. Despite IOC-imposed restrictions around athlete activism, we offer an array of campaigns and activist organizations in the French context to illustrate how discriminations are being challenged in advance of the Paris Olympics and Paralympics. At the 2024 Games, it is highly likely that issues of discrimination will be highlighted, and athletes are central to this discussion. Therefore, across this special issue, we focus on representations of gender and ethnicity in television, radio, and newspaper coverage; social media abuse directed at athletes; and disability inclusivity at the Games. Using an intersectional approach where possible, we illustrate how this myriad of identities shapes experiences and the mediated representations of individuals, groups, and nations. Every article within the special issue offers recommendations for positive and transformative change, or possible areas for future research. We end this introduction by presenting some of these core recommendations designed to challenge inequalities.