SWEEPING THE SOFT POWER PODIUM: A QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF OLYMPIC SOFT POWER'S IMPACT ON THE HOST NATION’S INTERNATIONAL IMAGE
LeBlanc, Peter J.
Houck, Shannon C.
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In February 2022, China will host the Winter Olympics in Beijing. During historical periods of international tension, nations use these types of mega-events as an extension of geopolitical competition to exercise soft power strategies and advance national interests. This thesis analyzes four Olympic case studies (2008 Beijing, 2010 Vancouver, 2012 London, and 2014 Sochi), using public international favorability polling to explore how Olympic hosts influence global perceptions and determine the measurable effects. Quantitative analysis of these factors reveals a strong correlation between increased international favorability ratings and hosting the Olympics, particularly when compared to non-Olympic hosted years. Considering the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, and future mega-event bids, this thesis provides associated recommendations to support the U.S. national and defense strategy shift toward strategic competition. These suggestions focus on sports diplomacy; promoting the culture and values of the allied host nation vice host city; publicly refuting an adversary host's false strategic narrative via media and government channels; and solutions to increase allied Olympic bidding that mitigate historical adverse financial, social, and environmental effects. Lastly, the thesis provides a metric to track and analyze mega-event soft power effects to shape future strategy.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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