Exhibition: Politics and Olympics: Ideals and Realities, The Free Word Centre, London, until September 8 2012
Despite the consistent attempts of organisers to keep the Games apolitical, the Olympics have been inextricably tied to international events and political movements throughout their history.
From protests over the participation of women during the early 20th Century and manifestations of racism to the tension of Cold War politics and controversies surrounding body shapes, numerous social issues have been played out on the Olympic stage.
The Free Word Centre, a London-based meeting space hosting discussion and debate, explores this complex relationship with a display of historical and contemporary photographs highlighting the way politics have infiltrated the Olympic movement.
While celebrating the positive capabilities of the Games as a platform for sporting achievement and promoting progressive attitudes, it also seeks to counter the myth that the event is a show of international diplomacy, immune to the political climate of the time.
A programme of talks and discussions explore the themes revealed in the exhibition, taking place both at the centre in Farringdon and online.
A wide range of contributors, including urbanists, freedom of expression campaigners and historians, explore the bonds between the biggest global sporting occasion and contemporary affairs.
The exhibition will be simultaneously staged at Newcastle Central Library and Nottingham Central Library.