I enjoy watching the Olympics. I like to cheer people on from my country and always am astounded by some of the great athleticism and skill that these athletes display in front of the world. These athletes have pushed their bodies to their physical limits all to be the very best in the WORLD in a particular sporting event.
In upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics, the athletes have taken second stage to the protests against the host country, China, and its treatment of Tibetans. Several world leaders have even said they will boycott opening ceremonies. This isn't the first time the Olympic games have been boycotted either.
The first recorded boycott was at the 1956 Melbourne summer Olympics. The countries Lichtenstein, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden boycotted the games in protest of the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Additionally, The People's Republic of China refused to participate due to the allowance of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to participate in the games. My question to you is this the right place for political activism?
Let me take a moment to say that I am all for the human rights and I think China's lack of respect for women, and treatment of Tibetans should not be something that is just shrugged off. In my opinion, the Olympics is not the place for political activism. These athletes work extremely hard and this may be their one and only chance to win that gold medal, after all athletes have a short time span these days.
Yet still are the Olympic Games an appropriate place for protest? That is why Sport in Society is hosting an event, Olympism vs the Olympics: A Sport in Society Roundtable Event this Tuesday, May 6, starting at 6pm at Northeastern University. It will provide you an opportunity to gather and dialogue about the power of sport and to what extent the Olympics actually promote peace and dignity.
The even will be feature panel discussions by:
- Nathaniel Mills, U.S. Olympic Speed Skater and Director of the Olympism Project
- Whitney Post, U.S. Olympic Rower and Women's Sports Foundation
- Jennifer Molina, Mexican Olympic Soccer Player and Sport in Society
- Eli A. Wolff, U.S. Paralympic Soccer Player and Sport in Society
- Andy Wise, U.S. Paralympic Powerlifter
- Roz Puleo, Right to Play
- Tina Noles, U.S. Olympic Alumni Association
Hope to see you there, and we can carry this discussion on further.