Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics

July 18, 2016

Jules Boykoff

Monday, July 18, 7:00PM–9:00PM, Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre

Book launch of Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics and talk by Jules Boykoff.

A timely, no-holds barred, critical political history of the modern Olympic Games

The Olympics have a checkered, sometimes scandalous, political history. Jules Boykoff, a former US Olympic team member, takes readers from the event’s nineteenth-century origins, through the Games’ flirtation with Fascism, and into the contemporary era of corporate control. Along the way he recounts vibrant alt-Olympic movements, such as the Workers’ Games and Women’s Games of the 1920s and 1930s as well as athlete-activists and political movements that stood up to challenge the Olympic machine.


“Jules Boykoff tells an Olympic history that simply hasn't been told. If we are going to have a more just future, we need to have an honest accounting of the past. Thank you Jules, for setting it straight and being right on time.” – Dr. John Carlos, 1968 Olympic medal winner

“Jules Boykoff takes us deep into the heart of the Olympic industry to look at the experiences of the people most affected by the Games – you and me. Power Games chronicles a wide range of resistance efforts, including Indigenous people who have struggled to defend their lands and rights against the Olympic juggernaut, showing us how all of our interests are intertwined. A must read” – Janice Forsyth, former Director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at Western University in Ontario, member of the Fisher River Cree First Nation

Jules Boykoff writes on a range of subjects, including political activism, the Olympic Games, and climate change. He is the author of three books on the Olympics—Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics (Verso, 2016), Activism and the Olympics: Dissent at the Games in Vancouver and London (Rutgers University Press, 2014), and Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games (Routledge, 2013). He also wrote two books on the suppression of political dissent—Beyond Bullets: The Suppression of Dissent in the United States (AK Press, 2007) and The Suppression of Dissent: How the State and Mass Media Squelch USAmerican Social Movements (Routledge 2006).

Boykoff has written across academic disciplines for more than a decade, publishing peer-reviewed articles in fields such as political science, sociology, geography, environmental studies, and history. Boykoff holds a Ph.D. in political science from American University. He currently teaches political science at Pacific University in Oregon. He lives in Portland with his wife Kaia Sand and their daughter Jessi Wahnetah.