Beyond the Final Score

The Politics of Sport in Asia

Victor D. Cha

Columbia University Press

Beyond the Final Score

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Pub Date: December 2008

ISBN: 9780231154918

200 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $32.00£24.00

Pub Date: December 2008

ISBN: 9780231154901

200 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $95.00£70.00

Pub Date: December 2008

ISBN: 9780231519298

200 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $31.99£24.00

Beyond the Final Score

The Politics of Sport in Asia

Victor D. Cha

Columbia University Press

The Beijing Olympics will be remembered as the largest, most expensive, and most widely watched event of the modern Olympic era. But did China present itself as a responsible host and an emergent international power, much like Japan during the 1964 Tokyo Games and South Korea during the 1988 Seoul Games? Or was Beijing in 2008 more like Berlin in 1936, when Germany took advantage of the global spotlight to promote its political ideology at home and abroad?

Beyond the Final Score takes an original look at the 2008 Beijing games within the context of the politics of sport in Asia. Asian athletics are bound up with notions of national identity and nationalism, refracting political intent and the processes of globalization. Sporting events can generate diplomatic breakthroughs (as with the results of Nixon and Mao's "ping-pong diplomacy") or breakdowns (as when an athlete defects to another country). For China, the Beijing Games introduced a liberalizing ethos that its authoritative regime could ignore only at its peril.

Victor D. Cha—former director of Asian affairs for the White House—evaluates Beijing's contention with this pressure considering the intense scrutiny China already faced on issues of counterproliferation, global warming, and free trade. He begins with the arguments that tie Asian sport to international affairs and follows with an explanation of athletics as they relate to identity, diplomacy, and transformation. Enhanced by Cha's remarkable facility with the history and politics of sport, Beyond the Final Score is the definitive examination of the events—both good and bad—that took place during the Beijing Olympics.

This is a thematically strong and informative book. As Victor D. Cha shows, sport is not just sport. Sport both expresses and influences some of the most dramatic developments in society and politics.

Andrew J. Nathan, Columbia University

Beyond the Final Score provides wonderful insights into how sport and politics are a potent combination in an Asia buffeted by nationalism, shared identity, and pride. While offering insightful accounts of Asia's contemporary sporting events-the first Olympics in Japan, the Korean World Cup, the hard-fought Little League contests, and the recent drama of the Olympics in Beijing-Victor D. Cha explains how and why sports provide a complex venue for strategic competition and cultural dynamics across the region. With the rise of Asia and its gaining strategic importance to the United States, Americans need to be more attuned to all aspects of Pacific politics. Cha has written an essential guide to how and why the playing fields of the Asian-Pacific region matter to us all.

Kurt M. Campbell, chief executive officer and cofounder, Center for a New American Security (CNAS)

Reading Beyond the Final Score during the Beijing Olympic Games was like having a side-door opened on the back story. Victor D. Cha not only illuminates the myriad ways in which sports have helped illuminate the societies that hold such international sporting events, but he also reminds us how they have catalyzed relations between countries, both for good and ill. Beyond the Final Score is a fun book about a serious topic.

Orville Schell, Arthur Ross director, The Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society

In a style both meticulous and delightfully absorbing, Victor D. Cha uses his rare, firsthand knowledge of diplomacy in Asia to construct an insightful theory on the space in which sport and politics interact. One is hard-pressed to imagine anyone more qualified to perform the task. As former director of Asian affairs at the National Security Council and a highly skilled practitioner and scholar on northeast Asian affairs, Cha brings a clear expertise to Korean peninsular issues as well as an intimate familiarity with Japan and China. Add to the mix an impressive grasp of the history and politics of sport, and the result is a truly distinctive, fascinating contribution to scholarship on the dynamics of Northeast Asia.

Yoichi Funabashi, editor in chief, The Asahi Shimbun

[Cha] illuminates both the good and the bad roles sports can play in a society.

Song Woong-ki, Korea Herald

A profound study of the cultural and political dynamics of the Asia-Pacific region.

Jean Brisebois, Taiwan Today
List of Figures and Tables
Preface
Chronology
1. Purism Versus Politics
2. The Argument
3. More Than Just National Pride
4. Greasing the Wheels of Diplomacy
5. The Olympic Facelift
6. Catch-22
7. The Slippery Slope of Change
Notes
Index
Web Features:

About the Author

Victor D. Cha is the D. S. Song-Korea Foundation Chair in Asian Studies and professor of government in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He won the 2000 Ohira Book prize for Alignment Despite Antagonism: The U.S.-Korea-Japan Security Triangle and is coauthor of Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies. He is the former director of Asian affairs on the National Security Council and deputy head of the United States delegation to the six party talks.