Beijing Olympic Games: U-M experts can discuss

February 1, 2022
Written By:
Debing Su


University of Michigan experts are available to talk about issues related to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games and China.

Mary Gallagher is the Amy and Alan Lowenstein Professor of Democracy, Democratization, and Human Rights and director of the International Institute.

“If the 2008 Olympics were China’s coming out party, these 2022 Olympics are meant to solidify China’s stature as a leading global power. The image and narrative presented will be a strong China, a China in control, a China that is confident in its own institutions and governance,” she said. “The backdrop of the pandemic still raging in many parts of the world will be used to reinforce this message. Parts of China that have breakouts will be put on lockdown severely so that this message is not disrupted by China’s own difficulties in managing the pandemic.”

“I think these Olympics will have less of an impact on Chinese nationalism. These games are more closed off due to the pandemic and many citizens may feel that their own mobility and even ability to enjoy a New Year’s holiday has been adversely affected by the government’s focus on a zero-COVID Olympics. Olympic fatigue might even hit China like it has many other countries.”


Stacy-Lynn Sant, assistant professor of sport management and member of the Center for Sports Venues and Real Estate Development, focuses on sport event impact, destination marketing, and strategies for social and economic development. She can discuss athlete activism and the trend of awarding the Olympic games to autocratic states with dubious human rights records.

“Simply put, they do not have many other options. Bid cities in democratic countries have faced intense local opposition and scrutiny due to the exorbitant costs of bidding for and hosting the games,” she said. “This lack of public support has led many would-be hosts to cancel their bids. With democratic cities shunning the games, cities in nondemocratic states become far more appealing to the IOC.

“Authoritarian regimes with dubious human rights records can ignore or stifle local opposition to Olympic bids, limit speech and spread propaganda through state-run media. These regimes also relish the idea of hosting one of the world’s largest sports events, so they can signal to the globe that they are here to stay. The only way the IOC will veer away from this practice is if its revenue is threatened–– that is, boycotts by key sponsors, key national teams and media.”

Contact: 734-647-2704,

Ann Chih Lin is the director of the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies and associate professor of public policy. Her work examines international variations in the assignment of blame for the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as racial and ethnic differences in the experience of the pandemic in the United States.

“China’s ability to put together an event of this magnitude with the world still in the throes of the pandemic is a great achievement, and the world should not lose sight of it,” she said. “But Beijing and the IOC also dodged a bullet: The pandemic ban on travel all but guarantees that political protesters will not be among the guests.”


Dae Hee Kwak, associate professor of sport management, is an authority on sport consumer behavior and psychology, and sports media behavior. He directs the Center for Sport Marketing Research.

Contact: 734-615-2884,

Stefan Szymanski, the Stephen J. Galetti Collegiate Professor of Sport Management, is an expert on sports economics; sports history, culture and society, with a focus on Detroit’s Olympic bids; and international sports federations and the governance of sport, particularly soccer.

Contact: 734-647-0950,

Judith Grant Long is an associate professor of sport management and urban planning and director of the Center for Sports Venues and Real Estate Development. Her expertise includes the intersection of sports, tourism, city planning and economic development; planning for sports and tourism megaprojects, with a focus on the Olympic Games; and assessing and improving host city experiences and outcomes.

Contact: 734-647-4762,


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