We dropped the ball big time on this one. When the International Olympic Committee gave Beijing the 2008 Olympics, China was well-known for its abysmal human rights record. While the decision was being made, advocates for Beijing said that China would improve itself for the Olympics. They cited the 1988 Seoul Olympics, which was closely tied to South Korea’s process of democratization. Unfortunately, they failed to cite the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, where several months before the Games started, Mexico’s authoritarian government brutally repressed student protestors. Democracy has a complicated and often uncorrelated relationship with the Olympics.