Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Sport and public health—an Olympian challenge?

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 28 February 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:509
  1. Karim Khan, associate professor, University of British Columbia, and editor, British Journal of Sports Medicine,
  2. Ken Crichton, sports physician and former deputy chief medical officer of the Sydney Olympic Games
  1. karim.khan{at} kenc{at}

Are major sporting events such as the Olympics a force for good health or a diversion of public funds for the enjoyment of a privileged few? Karim Khan and Ken Crichton examine a new book

For some people, mass gatherings provide the high point of a lifetime: kissing the black stone at Mecca alongside a million pilgrims; kissing a complete stranger at Wembley to celebrate an FA Cup victory. For others, mass gatherings are seen as a locus for illness, injury, and death. Although the diseases that spread at the 1969 Woodstock music festival most probably caused greater inconvenience than incapacity, jolting memories of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster in 1989 and the massacre at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich remind us of the inherent risks associated with major public events.

For seven years Agis Tsouros and Panos Efstathiou carried the responsibility for the safety of all involved in the 2004 Olympic Games in …

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