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Title: Operation Olympics: The Global Security Model and Navigating the Olympic Legacy
Authors: Hatcher, Ashley
Advisors: Carvalho, Bruno
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: The mega event phenomenon encompasses a variety of shared themes and characteristics, most notably the creation of what has been deemed a state of exception. That is to say, in hosting a mega event, countries tend to suspend routine systems of operations in the interest of executing the event successfully (though what defines “success” in this case may be of concern). A key aspect of the preparation surrounding this state of exception is the intensification of security infrastructures. To analyze this issue, I utilized the Summer Olympics as a lens. With security investments totaling over a billion dollars for several Summer Olympics, concerns have been raised regarding the excessive nature and questionable sustainability of such expenditures. In response to related criticisms, a rhetoric surrounding the “legacy” impact of investing in security infrastructures has evolved. The legacy defense argument claims that the permanence of these surveillance mechanisms will benefit local communities by improving safety after the Games. However, it seems probable that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and other parties tend to overstate the post-event benefits of Olympic security, and mold the rhetoric of a legacy investment to justify their extravagant surveillance costs for hosting the Olympics. Many citizens are concerned with the resources spent on these infrastructures, and others are concerned with the lasting impact this surveillance may have in their communities. Such concerns speak to a larger discourse on privacy and the militarization of public space. To analyze this further, I conducted a case study of London and its hosting of the 2012 Summer Olympics, then used my findings to make justified projections for the impact of the Rio 2016 security model. My findings suggest that while amplified surveillance from the Olympic model may help reduce crime during the event, its effects thereafter are minimal in comparison to those claimed by the IOC. Furthermore, there are several negative aspects of the Olympic legacy that tend to be underrepresented. I propose recommendations for the IOC in selecting and preparing host cities: first, consider plans for the prevention of displacement, preservation of civil rights, and reduction of socioeconomic segregation when evaluating bids. Second, facilitate the host city’s unique adaptation of the Olympic security model. And third, strive not for a preemptive doctrine reliant upon private security, but for policy that strengthens the trust and authority of local state officials. Thus far, Rio de Janeiro’s variation is following a relatively successful trajectory.
Extent: 114 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2017

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