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Almost-Olympian sees other side of global extravaganza

Jules Boykoff has a unique perspective on the Olympic Games, having played for the U.S. Olympic Soccer team. Boykoff, now a Pacific University political science professor, still loves soccer and the Games, but he’s emerged as one of this country’s sharpest critics of the Olympics — and will be sharing his views during a Feb.19 presentation at the Walters Cultural Arts Center.

In a guest column for the Hillsboro Tribune, Boykoff said he’s looking forward to the Winter Games next year.Jules Boykoff

“I’ll be tuning in to root for my favorite athletes from around the globe,” he wrote. “But as someone who believes in fairness, equality and democracy I will also be tracking what have now become commonplace sidecars to the Games: cronyism, displacement and hyper-commercialism.”

A high school soccer star in Wisconsin, Boykoff was selected as one of the members for United States men’s Olympic soccer team in 1989. Although he didn’t realize his dream of playing in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, he remained within the pool of players until 1991, while starting for the University of Wisconsin.

That same year he transferred to the University of Portland on a soccer scholarship, where he played and trained under the legendary Clive Charles.

After graduating from UP in 1993, Boykoff was drafted into the National Professional Soccer League by the Portland Pride, an indoor soccer team that played in the Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Garden.

Boykoff hung up his spikes after four years of professional soccer and headed to the classroom, launching his teaching career at Whitman College where he taught from 2004 until 2005.

The next year he took a job at Pacific University as a political science professor, where he has focused on political dissent. But his interest in the Olympic Games, present since his childhood, never flagged.

His writing on the Games has been featured in the New York Times and the Guardian of London. He recently completed two books, “Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games,” due out in July from Routledge Press, and “Activism and the Olympics: Dissent at the games in Vancouver and London” (Rutgers University Press), which does not yet have a release date.

Get your Games on:

What: Jules Boykoff will discuss “The Olympic Games — Beyond the Celebration.” The event is free and open to the public.

When: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Where: Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 E. Main St., Hillsboro.

Learn more: Boykoff’s guest column on the Olympics appears on A6 in the Commentary section of this issue of the Hillsboro Tribune.




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