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Jules Boykoff

Professor of Politics and Government, Pacific University

About Jules

Boykoff is a political scientist whose research and writing focuses on political activism, media politics, and sport mega-events like the Olympic Games and World Cup. He is former professional soccer player who also represented the U.S. Olympic Soccer Team in international competition.


No Jargon Podcast

In the News

Opinion: "We All Lose if the Olympic Surveillance State Becomes the Norm," Jules Boykoff, CNN, April 17, 2024.
Opinion: "The 2024 Olympics Are Already Dealing With Multiple Political Crises," Jules Boykoff (with Dave Zirin), The Nation, April 15, 2024.
Opinion: "Will the Olympic Games Be As Costly for L.A. as They Are for Paris?," Jules Boykoff (with Dave Zirin), Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2023.
Opinion: "Tokyo’s Olympics Have Turned Nightmarish. L.A., Are You Watching?," Jules Boykoff, The Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2021.
Opinion: "The Human Costs of the Pandemic Olympics," Jules Boykoff (with Dave Zirin ), The Nation, July 21, 2021.
Opinion: "The IOC Says the 2032 Olympics Are Coming to Brisbane," Jules Boykoff (with Dave Zirin), The Nation, June 16, 2021.
Opinion: "Tokyo Is Learning That the Only Force Stronger Than a Pandemic Is the Olympics," Jules Boykoff, The Washington Post, May 27, 2021.
Opinion: "A Sports Event Shouldn’t Be a Superspreader. Cancel the Olympics," Jules Boykoff, The New York Times, May 11, 2021.
Opinion: "The Coronavirus Exposes Why the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Should Be Canceled," Jules Boykoff (with Dave Zirin ), The Nation, March 4, 2020.
Opinion: "Donald Trump Is the Ugly Face of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics," Jules Boykoff (with David Zirin), The Nation, February 20, 2020.
Opinion: "The World Cup in Russia Could be a Display of Bigotry, Xenophobia and Ultranationalism," Jules Boykoff, Los Angeles Times, May 14, 2018.
Opinion: "Winter Olympics 2018: the Latest Battleground between Athletes and Trump?," Jules Boykoff (with Ben Carrington), The Guardian, January 10, 2018.
Interviewed in "From Russia Waiting to Learn Fate for 2018 Winter Olympics," National Public Radio, December 4, 2017.
Research discussed by Emily Albert Reyes and David Zahniser, in "L.A. is Vying to Host the Olympics in 11 Years — but is Hustling to Meet a Deadline Next Week," Los Angeles Times, August 10, 2017.
Opinion: "Los Angeles has the Perfect Chance to Push Back against a Troubled IOC," Jules Boykoff, The Guardian, June 9, 2017.
Opinion: "What Makes Brazilians Sick," Jules Boykoff, New York Times, July 18, 2016.
Opinion: "On With the Summer Games, and Bring on the Protests," Jules Boykoff, New York Times, May 16, 2016.


"What Are the Olympics For?" (Bristol University Press, 2024).

Explores the discrepancy between the slogan "athletes first", which is often touted by the International Olympic Committee, and the reality behind the scenes of the Olympic Games. Delves into various troubling issues faced by athletes, including physical, mental, and sexual abuse, as well as grievances around equity and human rights. Highlights problems such as corruption in the awarding of the Games, displacement of people for Olympic venues, and environmental damage caused by Olympic construction. Argues that radical reforms are necessary to address these issues and truly prioritize the well-being of athletes.

"Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics" (Verso, 2016).

Takes readers from the Olympic's nineteenth-century origins, through the event's flirtation with Fascism, and into the contemporary era of corporate control. Along the way, recounts vibrant alt-Olympic movements, such as the Workers’ Games and Women’s Games of the 1920s and 1930s as well as athlete-activists and political movements that stood up to challenge the Olympic machine.

"Activism and the Olympics: Dissent at the Games in Vancouver and London" (Rutgers University Press, 2014).

Provides a critical overview of activist efforts to challenge the machinations of the Olympic Games before zeroing in on protesters at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Games in London.

"Celebration Capitalism and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics" Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies 22 (2013): 39-70.

Applies the theory of “celebration capitalism” to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia.