Five Rings over Korea: The Secret Negotiations behind the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul

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In 1981, when the International Olympic Committee chose Seoul, South Korea, to be the site of the 1988 Summer Games, the decision was considered risky at best, potentially explosive, perhaps even fatal to the Olympic Movement. Amid a tenuous political climate, caught between the polarized agendas of North and South Korea, the IOC - guided by its skillful president, Juan Antonio Samaranch - was forced to become both an international trouble-shooter and a conciliator. The IOC had traditionally concerned itself with...
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Overview

In 1981, when the International Olympic Committee chose Seoul, South Korea, to be the site of the 1988 Summer Games, the decision was considered risky at best, potentially explosive, perhaps even fatal to the Olympic Movement. Amid a tenuous political climate, caught between the polarized agendas of North and South Korea, the IOC - guided by its skillful president, Juan Antonio Samaranch - was forced to become both an international trouble-shooter and a conciliator. The IOC had traditionally concerned itself with the sports-related aspects of the Games, staying clear of political confrontations. But faced with the prospect of the Games once again becoming the victim of boycotts and protests, the IOC took the uncharacteristically bold step of inserting itself fully into the arbitration between the two Koreas and their allies. From this intense, four-year process, a delicate and complex feat of diplomacy, emerged a political triumph, and one of the largest and most successful Games in history. In this comprehensive and precise account, Richard W. Pound, who was an important member of the IOC throughout this period, chronicles the secret steps that were taken to make the 1988 Olympics both possible and peaceful. He provides a rare, insider's perspective into this exclusive, somewhat mysterious organization, while also offering a fascinating historical overview of the Games, with notable highlights of recent politically charged Olympic events. Five Rings Over Korea is an uncommon, behind-the-scenes view of political intrigue and conflict resolution, of consensus building among the world powers. In the end, it offers an inspiring message, and new hope for the future of global politics.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1981, when Seoul was chosen as the host of 1988 Olympics, beating out Nagoya, Japan, the decision was widely criticized as risky or foolhardy given the instability of South Korea's military regime and tensions with North Korea. Cuba and North Korea boycotted the games, but thanks to pressure from the Soviet Union and China, with the U.S. acting as a power broker, other possible boycotts were prevented and North Korea agreed not to disrupt the Seoul Olympics. Pound, a member of the International Olympic Committee, details the behind-the-scenes maneuvers of Reagan, Gorbachev, Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze and others. And he re-creates the 1985-87 negotiations between North and South Korea held in Switzerland, in which the North insisted on cohosting the games. This is an instructive case study in international consensus-building and the politics of sports. Photos. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Pound, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), presents a fascinating, in-depth look at the negotiations that brought the summer games to South Korea in 1988. Pound clearly shows how, but for deft handling of the situation by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, the awarding of the Olympics to Seoul could have been a recipe for more chaos and hard feelings coming as it did on the heels of the U.S-led boycott of the Moscow Games in 1980 and Moscow's retaliatory boycott in 1984. Even though we know the ending, this story is nevertheless riveting in its recounting, particularly in light of the current events on the Korean Peninsula. Written in a precise manner that makes this sometimes complex story easy to follow, the book is further enhanced by Pound's breakdown of Olympic political problems since 1936. Chockfull of sometimes annoying (but always informative) bottom-of-the-page footnotes, this book is a worthy addition to most public library shelves.-David M. Turkalo, Social Law Lib., Boston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316715072
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 9/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 466

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Decision in Baden-Baden: 1981 3
2 The Legacy: An Olympic Tinderbox 18
3 The Potential for Boycott and Past Lessons 39
4 Setting the Tone for Korea in 1988 58
5 Planning for the North-South Negotiations 87
6 The First Joint Meeting with the Koreas 103
7 Take Two: The Second Meeting with the Koreas 120
8 Take Three: The Third Meeting 159
9 Hiatus - The Tension Mounts: No Agreement 195
10 Once More into the Breach: The Fourth Meeting 241
11 Invitations Go Out; Acceptances Come In 258
12 Keeping the Acceptances and Chasing the Strays 276
13 Upon Reflection ... 318
Glossary of Terms 340
Chronology of Events 342
Index 435
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