Published In

The International Journal of Sport and Society

Document Type


Publication Date



Olympic Movement; Olympic Games; International Olympic Committee (IOC); Evolution; Triple Bottom Line of Sustainability; Economic Sustainability; Environmental Sustainability; Social Sustainability


Growing public expectations that the Olympic Movement and Olympic Host City Organizing Committees be socially, environmentally and economically responsible has made a commitment to integrate sustainability principles and practices a common theme in the bids of cities competing to host the Games. To understand the growing role of sustainability as an Olympic theme, the authors trace the evolution of the sustainability aspirations of the Olympic Movement by looking at the key Olympic Games and bids in this process. The authors determine that unlocking the potential of the Olympic Games to use sport to attract new audiences to sustainable living cannot be done in the absence of the IOC and Organizing Committees deploying credible efforts to “walk their talk.” These efforts include embracing frameworks that produce, track and report on key Games-related economic, environmental and social outcomes, as well as collaborating with credible non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Furthermore, these outcomes could lead to further positive results by creating the foundation to pursue the unrealized potential of the Olympic Games to transform the way individuals and organizations act on the choices involved in living sustainably.