The Best Olympics Ever?

Social Impacts of Sydney 2000

By Helen Jefferson Lenskyj

Subjects: Popular Culture
Series: SUNY series on Sport, Culture, and Social Relations
Paperback : 9780791454749, 262 pages, July 2002
Hardcover : 9780791454732, 262 pages, August 2002

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Table of contents


Abbreviations and Websites


1. The Mass Media: Olympic Industry Boosters and Critics

2. Police, Protest, and Olympic Legislation: "You've Got to Keep the Buggers under Control"

3. Black and White Australia: Reconciliation and Sydney 2000

4. "You Can't Share the Spirit if You Can't Pay the Rent": Housing and Homelessness in the Olympic City

5. Olympic Values, Impacts, and Issues: The Real Legacy

6. Productive Partnerships: Corporatized Universities Meet the Olympic Industry

7. "I'm Not Against the Olympics, But. . . . ": Local and Global Resistance

8. Bondi Beach Volleyball Stadium: The Battlers Lose the Beach

9. September 2000 in Melbourne and Sydney: Democracy at Risk





Uses the Sydney Olympics as a prism through which to explore recent Olympic scandals, media coverage, reform efforts, and controversies.


Despite International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samarach's proclaiming the Sydney 2000 Olympics as the "best ever," the truth of the matter is much less one-sided. In The Best Olympics Ever? Helen Jefferson Lenskyj discloses what the Sydney 2000 Olympic industry suppressed: the real costs and impacts.

Helen Jefferson Lenskyj is Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Inside the Olympic Industry: Power, Politics, and Activism, also published by SUNY Press; Women, Sport, and Physical Activity: Selected Research Themes; and Out of Bounds: Women, Sport, and Sexuality.


"A solid and comprehensive analysis of the 'hidden' side of Sydney 2000, this book is bound to provoke controversy. It is hard to think of any other event that could be justified on the basis that it will make the nation feel good for a couple of weeks and to hell with the expense and the practice of democratic procedures. Lenskyj includes a range of topics that are usually 'written out' of accounts of the Olympics. " — Jim McKay, University of Queensland

"The Best Olympics Ever? is provocative, stimulating, and challenging. In the best tradition of radical literature, it forces us to confront our assumptions and stereotypes and in so doing we are served well—especially with regard to the Olympic Games, an institution shrouded in myth and illusion. " — Jeff Segrave, Skidmore College