BFA News

April 13, 2021

It’s time to rethink the Olympics

April 12, NY Times:

It’s time to press pause and rethink the Olympics. I have come to believe that even when the entire effort to completely close is permanently closed.

What do you say

First, let’s think about it in the short term.

In July, yet another highly over-budgeted Summer Olympic Games, originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to a pandemic, will begin in Tokyo.

The timing remains terrible.

Japan has been working hard to get rid of the coronavirus, but now the number of cases is increasing and the vaccination rate is lagging. The organizer has just arrived in the city of Osaka after changing the route of the torch relay scheduled for this week. Health officials said the medical system was “on the verge of collapse” due to the spread of new variants.

In this problematic environment, 11,000 athletes from around the world come down, along with coaches, executives, Olympic support staff, media workers and more. The Tokyo Olympics will be a three-week superspreading event that can lead to death and illness not only throughout Japan, but far beyond.


The Japanese people have grown wisely against health risks. We also recognize estimates that tournament costs have risen by $ 3 billion last year alone to a record $ 15.4 billion. According to a recent survey, nearly 80% of Japanese say they need to postpone or cancel the game again.

Next is the Winter Olympic Games in and around Beijing in February 2022. China has been repeatedly accused of abusing its own people, so the expectation was centered on whether it should be boycotted. China has denied such claims, but the Biden administration, Parliament of Canada, UN officials, and up to 180 human rights groups have stated that China is engaged in the massacre of Muslim minorities.

In addition to the current record of the Chinese administration’s brutal crackdown on the oppositions in Hong Kong and Tibet, authorities continue to deny it.


What is the best way to respond?

Should the Biden administration push for a full boycott of keeping athletes home, even if China’s foreign minister warned of a “strong China response” last week?

Should US Corporate Sponsors Resign? Should American broadcasters refuse to make China look good?

Do winter athletes go to Beijing while American diplomats are clearly maneuvering? Some experts believe that protesting the medal podium at the opening ceremony and competition can give athletes the sharpest signal.

But it calls on many groups locked out of true power by the International Olympic Committee. The International Olympic Committee is still on the books with Rule 50, the Articles of Incorporation, which strictly prohibits the display of dissenting opinions. Opposing it risks being locked out of future competition.

“I’m afraid to protest in China. If my American teammate decides to stand up, I’m afraid,” said Noah Hoffman, who has experienced two Olympic cross-country skis. Is currently a member of the board of directors of Global Athletes, a non-profit organization that is driving the reform of the Games.

Hoffman said the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee recently agreed to allow athletes to protest, but athletes’ voices would continue to be muted until the IOC did the same.

Recall that the 2014 Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russia. The host country not only carried out large-scale doping activities during the event, but also annexed Crimea shortly thereafter, spreading international criticism. Why did the IOC confer the 2022 game to yet another dictatorship with an unsightly human rights record?

In 2015, when the final decision was made, there were only two options left. China held the Summer Olympics seven years ago. And another dictatorship, Kazakhstan. Countries that appear to be more ideal host countries, such as Norway and Sweden, have dropped out as part of a skeptical trend about the cost of hosting the Olympics.

Founded in the 1890s as a way to showcase “the joy of effort, the educational value of a good example, and a life based on respect for universal basic ethical principles,” the modern Olympics are now of many types, including: It has become synonymous with the scandal of. Doping, bribery and physical abuse of athletes.

They caused suffering among the poor working class in the host city through gentrification and the deportation of tens of thousands of residents at venues from Beijing to Seoul and Rio.

Don’t forget to report from the expensive and newly constructed arena of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Then head to the nearby shantytown. Poor Nagaya communities are scattered throughout the port city.

There, I heard about the suffering of the inhabitants who were expelled from a small house to give way to the construction of the Olympics near the sewers where the rivers of urine and dung flow. I also saw the ever-present features of the game: paramilitary-style police seemed to be in every corner, towing machine guns, evoking street children from every corner, and the city giving the world a sterling image. We monitor the locals so that they can be maintained.

Rio couldn’t afford the Olympics. Athens caused the Summer Olympics turmoil in 2004, costing nearly $ 11 billion (twice the initial forecast) as a precursor to Greece’s financial crisis when the country was on the verge of bankruptcy. .. Most of those cities are not alone.

It’s time to ask big questions about Olympic companies.

Is the benefit worth the cost?

Should the Olympics continue to exist if they continue to cause such harm?

What does real reform look like?

Here are some ideas.

Stop awarding games to authoritarian nations that explicitly ignore human rights.

Give your athlete great power. Not only will you be able to protest from the medal stand, but you will also be an equal partner in shaping the entire Olympic movement.

Instead of jumping around the world, consider alternatives. Maybe you will park the game permanently in two commonly used venues. One for summer and one for winter. It will reduce costs, environmental damage, and mobility. It will also end the termination of the corrupt bidding process.

Or decentralized. During the three-week period, we will host individual events on already-built sites around the world. Certainly, we have to give up the sight of the gorgeous opening ceremony and the thoughts of athletes of various sports mixed in the Olympic village. But is it still essential in an interconnected world full of gorgeous sights?

Sure, there aren’t many easy answers, but it’s time to work towards a new future.

It’s time to rethink the Olympics.