PARIS – Existe-t-il un lien entre la puissance économique et palmarès olympique? Assisterions-nous à une forme de multipolarité du sport au moment où nous voyons se mettre en place une multipolarité politique ?

En 1992, juste après la fin de la guerre froide les États-Unis et l'ancienne Union soviétique raflaient  a eux  seuls le quart des médailles. Il ya avait alors une bipolarité assez grande  avec d’un côté les pays socialistes et de l’autre les pays occidentaux développés.  À Pékin en 2008, le monde avait déjà sensiblement changé. Au duopole sovieto- américain succéda un duopole sino- américain. Ces deux pays obtenant a eux seuls 20 % des médailles. Londres a confirmé cette tendance. Le duopole sino américain est très présent mais comme sur le plan géopolitique il n’écrase pas tout. L’europe demeure très forte tandis que l’asie et les caraibes progressent très sensiblement.

Il existe en réalité quatre facteurs générateurs de puissance olympique : la morphologie des états, leurs traditions sportives, leur politique sportive et leur niveau de développement. Aucun de ces facteurs pris séparément ne peut expliquer le palmarès des nations. Mais pris collectivement il prend une force explicative relativement grande.

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