Tuesday, October 3, 2023

2022 Winter Olympics were just the tip of sports political iceberg.

March 4, 2022 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Whenever the Summer and Winter Olympics are near, there are always questions about whether athletes will participate in political demonstrations. This is especially true in recent Olympics due to more professional athletes speaking out about social issues over the past decade. Athletes like Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Naomi Osaka and Megan Rapinoe have been among the more outspoken athletes of social issues of the last decade and their words have been polarizing for some.  Many sports fans feel that sports and politics don’t mix and feel that is especially the case with the Olympics. Ironically, the history of the Olympic Games themselves are a clear example of global politics and the 2022 Winter Olympics were another clear example of that.

Prior to the opening ceremonies of the 2022 Winter Olympics, the U.S. White House said that the Biden administration won’t send U.S. officials to attend Winter Olympics in Beijing “to protest Chinese human rights abuses”. Boycotts of the Olympics aren’t anything new and there were discussions for many Black U.S. Olympic athletes to boycott the 1968 Summer Olympics. Of course, the boycott didn’t occur and instead one of the more powerful images in sports history was created by sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith. Earlier than that, the first calls to boycott the Olympic games occurred in 1936 as a response to the Nazi regime and their crimes against humanity. It is a bit interesting that the U.S. ignored these calls and participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympic games and decided to take a stand against China in 2022. Historically, the U.S. has been a perpetrator of heinous human rights violations both domestically and internationally which makes any diplomatic Olympic boycott hypocrisy.

Going into the 2022 Winter Olympics, the opinions of American citizens when it comes to China weren’t very positive according to several polls conducted by Pew Research Center. Data from Pew Research Center showed that when asked what comes to mind when they think of China, Americans frequently brought up human rights and that between 2020 and 2021, Americans in both parties expressed growing concern about China’s policies on human rights. However, that is a sharp contrast to how Chinese citizens feel about their own government. Chinese citizens’ trust in their government rose to 98 percent several months into COVID-19, according to a survey published on Washington Post. American citizens often have notoriously low approval ratings for most political figures including U.S. presidents regardless of whether they are Democrat or Republican.

During the course of the 2022 Winter Olympics, a lot of coverage by U.S. media, including the host outlet NBC, seemed to constantly bash China. The anti-China media coverage was noticed by U.S. Olympic skier Aaron Blunck, who alleged that his Twitter account was suspended after he praised China for a “stellar job” hosting the Winter Olympics. Fellow U.S. Olympian Tessa Maud shared the quality treatment she received in China which debunks a lot of myths. But now that the 2022 Winter Olympics is over, a lot of attention in sports has turned to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and how athletes have been affected by it. Because professional sports are a global entity, there are several Ukrainian and Russian athletes who have reacted to the conflict. It is important for all athletes and people who aren’t from those nations to educate themselves and get an understanding of the history involved of what’s driving what is going on.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines

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