The Olympic Games Aren't Just for Sport

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RIO DE JANEIRO - FEBRUARY 3, 2016: Shadow silhouette of athlete holding an Olympic flag in anticipation of the 2016 Summer Games.
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Like separation of church and state, the separation of sports and politics has never been cut and dry. Bans and boycotts have existed since the earliest days of the Olympic Games.

With the opening ceremony in Rio just days away, David Goldblatt, a renowned sports writer and author of "The Games: A Global History of the Olympics," reminds us that the games are more than just fanfare and competition — they're a proving ground of sorts for new refugee teams and emerging societies where admission is an inroad to exploring identity and nationalism.  

In 1896, the opening ceremony in the first modern Olympics in Athens, Greece welcomed 280 athletes from 13 nations. On Friday, more than 200 countries will participate in the opening ceremonies in Rio.

Here, Goldblatt examines the modern evolution of the Olympics.