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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Crises and risk at the Olympics investigated in new book by Southampton academic

Published: 25 June 2012 Origin:  Politics and International Relations

Senior Lecturer Dr Will Jennings has written a book detailing how the organisers of the Olympic Games have managed crises and risk throughout its history.

Dr Jennings, from the Politics division within Social Sciences, specialises in the study of mega-events, risk and public policy, as well as having research expertise in statistical analysis of politics, policy and society.

In Olympic Risks, published by Palgrave MacMillan, he describes how the Olympic movement now puts the management of risk and reputation at the forefront of its organisation.

Risks that range from security and finance to public opinion are also explored in the book. Events such as the ticketing scandal for the London 2012 Olympics highlight the challenges of governance of the ‘Olympic family’ as the pressure mounts with the Games just weeks away, according to Dr Jennings.

"My book notes that ticketing is often a controversial issue for Olympic organisers," he says. "At Beijing there were criticisms that many seats were left empty, while at the Sydney Olympics there was public outrage over the sale of many of the best tickets to corporate and private customers at premium rates.

"I investigated how this sort of scandal is symptomatic of the tension between the vast amount of money tied up in the Olympics and the decentralised nature of power within the ‘Olympic family’, where smaller national Olympic committees (NOCs) tend to be under financial pressure and do not have the sorts of resources that major nations or the IOC do through their commercial income."

A senior lecturer in politics, Dr Jennings has published a number of studies into the administration of large-scale events and projects. This includes expertise assessing risk, reputation and decision-making.

Olympic Risks by Will Jennings was published on May 29, 2012:

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