Crisis in Sports
This thesis examines and compares the terrorist attacks at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the 2013 Boston Marathon in order to assess the ongoing vulnerability to terrorism at international sporting events, in specific, and the global environment, in general. In each of these instances, terrorists took advantage of the vulnerability of large international sporting events and launched attacks that had both political and social implications. Although each attack had separate motives, results, and repercussions, both incidents served as crises in a rising media age and impacted public policy. This paper compares and contrasts the 1972 Munich Olympics and the 2013 Boston Marathon through theoretical analyses of Downs’ Issue Attention Cycle and Birkland’s Focusing Events Theory, as well as through a comparison of the crises’ dominant features. Over the course of the 40 years separating the events, security and emergency response methods have improved, as have technology, media, and information flow. Even with these modern techniques, however, today’s generation, as with its predecessors, still lives in an age of vulnerability to terrorism. The conclusion combines the analysis of the issue-attention cycle and the potential public policy changes in accordance with the 1972 Munich Olympics attack and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings to argue that there is no fool-proof prevention method to the issue of vulnerability to terrorism and that the global community will to continue to be vulnerable in the future.