How do the historical events cited in this article support the author's purpose?
The writer mentions the politicised Berlin Games when Hitler used the Olympics in an attempt to prove German superiority, the victory of the African-American athlete, and the Soviet Union's treatment of the Olympics during the Cold War.
Part of the author's main contention is that the spirit of amateur athletic competition which was intrinsic to the original spirit of the Olympics has been replaced by political nationalism being attached to the games. Nations now view the games as a form of nationalism, whereby athletic achievement meant to bring people together has become replaced by national zeal that serves to keep people apart:
The Olympics also encourage the very crudest form of loud, boasting, triumphalist nationalism. Individual achievement seems no longer to be the point: it is more a question of how many medals each country has won. But why should athletes compete under national flags? Why not make the Games a competition of individuals, with each country being entitled to enter a certain number of competitors who then run as people, not flag fodder?
For the author, this politicization and nationalism started with Hitler and the Berlin Games. The author contends that Hitler pivoted the games away from athletic achievement meant to bring the world together and sought to use the games as a political platform to advance his own agenda of racial superiority and German nationalism. From this, the Soviet Union's treatment of the games as a way to advance Communism over democracy was a continued attempt to use the games as a way to keep people apart and not as a unifying force. The purpose of mentioning these historical events are ways to bolster his basic thesis in how the games are becoming more political and less about individual amateur athletic achievement. The author's mention of both historical examples are meant to inspire the automatic embrace of his thesis as few would wish to be associated with the Nazi use of the Olympics or the Soviet zeal towards the games.