Picking up on my “sports is politics by another means” post from yesterday, Michael Wilkerson, over at FP’s Passport blog, put the call out to readers for more examples. Commenter Chembai points out a couple I missed, including China’s Ping Pong diplomacy and the Beijing Olympics. The boycotted 1980 Moscow games are in the latter category as well, characterized as “one big political statement.” Not really match-ups in the way I was thinking. The Ping Pong diplomacy, too, escaped my memory, because I was thinking more along the lines of confrontation. The brilliance of the Ping Pong diplomacy of course being the way it transformed the confrontation of sports into conciliatory engagement.
If you’ve got any examples that come to mind, drop them in the now user-friendly discussion thread, or e-mail them and I’ll add them as updates.