Jay: Olympic Disgrace

I read an article this weekend that sorta got my feathers ruffled.  It was in this weeks ESPN The Magazine, written by: Steven A. Smith.  Now before some of you dismiss it as just another opinionated sports columnist with an agenda, the article actually raises a good point.  Athletes that wish to compete in the Olympics are not allowed to partake in any kind of demonstration or protest at any Olympic venue.  Wait, what?  You’re telling me that if, lets say, Micheal Phelps wins his eighth gold medal and on the stand he wears a shirt that says “Free Tibet” on it, he can’t.  Not only does it seem wrong, but it is against everything that America stands for.  Heck, we are a country that started with a protest and demonstrations.  I realize that in a perfect world, we, as Americans, would not take our cues from public stars like athletes, musicians, or actors but this is far from Eden boys and girls.  That’s who we listen to, who we watch.  Yes foreign matters should be left in the hands of diplomats, but would any of us have heard of Darfur if Bono wasn’t spearheading the effort there?  Now China is one of the worst offenders of Civil and Human Rights in the world.  They rule Tibet with an iron fist and our athletes can’t stand up for these injustices when their popularity and exposure is at its highest?  On the front page of the Olympic charter website is this quote: “Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”
The second point of the “fundamental principles of olympisym” is this: The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.

I think that if these two points headline the IOC’s charter, then maybe they should have reconsidered China as host.  They continue to be a major player in human trafficking around the world, international human rights violations, and are one of the last communist countries in the world, but hey lets highlight them for two weeks.  The IOC wouldn’t put an Olympic games in Cuba would they? 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Olympics.  It’s a great two weeks of TV.  I love the fact I work for a company that airs these games every two years.  I also love the fact that I live in a country that doesn’t repress it’s citizens.  We can voice our opinions without fear of punishment(for the most part).  Why would we ask our athletes to all of a sudden do the exact opposite for two weeks.  Are we, as a country, that worried about our relationship with China that we have to be “on our best behavior”?  I say if our athletes wanna protest then they should have the right, and it is completely wrong to hang their life goal over them by saying “sign this or don’t play!”  Our country can and needs to be be bigger and better then this, we should be leaders not tail-between-the-legs followers.  Be Americans!!!

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3 Responses to “Jay: Olympic Disgrace”

  1. Jay's Mom Says:

    It will certainly be interesting to see if our olympic athletes will have to sign such a pledge prior to the next Olympics, heh?

  2. […] my lovely wife.  The Olympic and Human Rights Quiz only takes a few minutes and it relates to a previous blog I wrote.  I’m not saying that Amnesty International is perfect, but it raises some good […]

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