Boycott on the Winter Olympics: Selfishness against sportsmanship

Ali RazaAffiliation and correspondence: Department of Pediatrics, Services Institute of Medical Sciences and Affiliated Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan. Email: [email protected]

It’s concerning that some politicians from the United States, Britain, Canada, and other countries have claimed that they would boycott China’s Winter Olympic Games because of such issues as the situation in Xinjiang and human rights(1-5). Why don’t those political elites care about the 2022 football World Cup? Qatar brutally trampled on the human rights of tens of thousands of foreign workers(6). Why didn’t they show their concern for that? Sports have been taken as a political tool. This is not only a mistake in principle but also an issue worthy of reflection.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter tried to force the Soviet troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by boycotting the Moscow Olympic Games. However, the Soviet Union did not withdraw from Afghanistan(7). Instead, the Soviet Army stayed in Afghanistan for another ten years or so. Four years later, the Soviet Union and its allies took the same retaliatory action against the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games(8). History has proved that boycotts will not achieve political goals. Rather, it will only shatter the dream of the athletes who have been trained for a lifetime. If the United States and other countries boycott Beijing’s Winter Olympic Games, China will boycott the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games out of retaliation. It may start a vicious circle. Los Angeles will become the host of the Olympic Games which has been boycotted twice. What is the significance of hosting the Olympic Games in Los Angeles?

It is the spirit of the Olympic Games that athletes and spectators are encouraged to give up prejudice. In ancient Greece, people would stop the war before and after the Olympic Games, allowing athletes to participate in the competition and encouraging spectators to watch the games(9). It was something like a mandatory armistice agreement. There is no war now, but the United States attempts to lead its allies in resisting the Games, which undoubtedly undermines the confidence of the United States to dominate the games. It’s almost impossible for the Chinese government to change its mind even if American athletes are not allowed to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics Games. The Chinese government will host the Winter Olympics Games on schedule, and the world will still greatly appreciate China. At best, the US boycott can only result in letting other countries win more gold medals. The United States should consider the harm this proposal will do to itself: boycotting the Winter Olympics Games is likely to put itself in a dilemma. Many countries do not want to choose between the United States and China. If the United States boycotts the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Games, but few countries join the United States camp, it will be very bad for the United States in that it tells the world that the power of the United States has been weakened. If the United States participates in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Games, it is undoubtedly denying its words and deeds, then the Biden administration may become an international laughing stock again.

It is depressing for athletes not to participate in the Olympic Games. It’s extremely selfish to deprive them of their opportunities for political reasons. What is in the mind of Olympic athletes is not boycotting the Olympic Games, but is how to win their opponents in the competition. The Winter Olympic Games are held every four years. It’s the highest honor for all kinds of winter and ice events. It’s very satirical to let these top athletes sit at home and watch others compete in the games. Athletes have been preparing for this game for many years. Many athletes will get old and injured. Some of them may never have a chance again. In the end, the opportunity to participate in the most important contest in their career will be deprived, so will the important meaning of their life.

The whole of the world is expecting that Beijing can hold a high-level Winter Olympics Game. There is no doubt that the top skiing, skating, and other athletes will appear in the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. This is not only a competition between athletes but also a competition between countries. Beijing’s performance in the 2008 Olympic Games brightened the world’s eyes(10). More than ten years later, the mysterious oriental country will show its development in 2022, which is worth our attention and analysis. Due to the prevailing COVID-19 today, some athletes were infected in the Japanese Olympic Games, so the world will show great concern for athletes’ safety and health. China may have to make more efforts to face the pressure from many sides. We, being supporters of sports, are looking forwards to a successful and energetic Olympics event.

  1. Rogin, J. (2021 November 16). Biden administration soon to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/11/16/beijing-olympics-2022-biden-partial-boycott/
  2. reporters, G. s. (2021). Boycott Beijing winter Olympics? China never plans to invite these us politicians, the source says. Retrieved from https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202111/1240172.shtml
  3. Saul, D. (2021 November 24). Here’s the growing list of countries weighing a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/dereksaul/2021/11/24/heres-the-growing-list-of-countries-weighing-a-diplomatic-boycott-of-the-beijing-olympics/?sh=570eda06ad9f
  4. Nuttall, J. (2021 November 27). Will Canada heed calls to join a diplomatic boycott of Beijing’s winter games? Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/11/27/might-canada-heed-calls-for-a-diplomatic-boycott-of-beijings-winter-games.html
  5. Lee, M. (2021, November 20). Canada in discussions with ‘closest partners’ on possible Olympic boycott. Retrieved from https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/canada-in-discussions-with-closest-partners-on-possible-olympic-boycott-1.5674537
  6. Alawi, N. A., & Belfaqih, H. M. (2019). Human resources disclosure: An exploratory study of the quality in Qatar. World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management, and Sustainable Development.
  7. Corthorn, P. (2013). The cold war and British debates over the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Cold War History, 13(1), 43-66.
  8. Mertin, E. (2012). The soviet union and the Olympic games of 1980 and 1984: Explaining the boycotts to their people. In East plays west (pp. 249-266): Routledge.
  9. Kyle, D. G. (2013). Greek athletic competitions: The ancient Olympics and more. A companion to sport and spectacle in Greek and Roman antiquity, 17-35.
  10. Preuss, H., & Alfs, C. (2011). Signaling through the 2008 Beijing Olympics—using mega sports events to change the perception and image of the host. European sport management quarterly, 11(1), 55-71.

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