Hosting major sporting events has often been a key indication of a country’s acceptance as one of the core developed nations. Thus, the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo and those in Munich in 1972 saw postwar Japan and Germany accepted back into mainstream diplomatic circles.
Similarly, the 1968 games in Mexico City and in Seoul twenty years later recognised that Mexico and South Korea had been sufﬁciently successful on the economic front to be brought into the political inner circle.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics will likewise highlight the emergence of China. This year’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) may be of more signiﬁcance to policy buffs but, to the world at large, it will be the lighting of the Olympic ﬂame in Beijing which will demonstrate that it has truly rejoined the global mainstream.