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While Thomas Bach’s point (below) that the Olympic Games should never be about politics, it is a bit rich for the president of the International Olympic Committee to warn protestors against demonstrating – it’s a free world.
The political muscle-flexing that governments often do around the Olympics, demonstrates the chasm of power that exists between large organisations, like governments and the Olympic Games versus citizens.
For example, the IOC used the 2016 Rio Games as their political soundstage. Ten refugee athletes were selected to compete in the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team. They created this team to bring the refugee crisis to a big stage. Athletes from Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were chosen for the team, and each athlete trained in a host country (Kenya, Belgium, Luxembourg, Brazil, or Germany). The athletes were judokas, distance runners, sprinters, and swimmers. They entered the opening ceremonies before host country Brazil marched in, carrying the “neutral” Olympic flag. A nice message, but political in nature.
In 1976 more than 20 countries from Africa boycotted the Games. The IOC had refused to ban New Zealand after their rugby squad toured South Africa which at the time had apartheid policies.
Four years earlier Palestinian terrorists attacked Isreal’s team, killing two and taking others hostage, demanding the release of 200 Palestinian prisoners.
Airbnb, a global corporation, does not participate in local tax programs in the same way that hotels do. Although a unique and interesting business model, they profit corporately so-much-so that they are now a major sponsor of the Olympic Games. They reportedly have paid out $500-million to hobnob with the likes of Coca Cola, Dow, Bridgestone, Panasonic, Toyota, and Visa.
If the people do protest, perhaps they should consider protesting Airbnb. Medical, housing, infrastructure and other core support systems are paid for by contributing to local, regional and federal tax pools.
Furthermore, the Olympic Games are guilty of helping to create white elephant facilities that host countries pay billions of dollars to build, contributing are hotels, typically more-so than Airbnb.
From Inside the Games
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has warned athletes against protesting in any form at Tokyo 2020, claiming the Games “must never be a platform to advance political or any other potentially divisive ends”.
In his New Year’s message, Bach urged athletes to respect their fellow competitors at Tokyo 2020 by refraining from political demonstrations.
The IOC President reiterated his opposition to the “growing politicisation of sport”, which he claimed “leads to no result and in the end just deepens existing divisions”.
A similar sentiment was expressed during an Olympic Summit in Lausanne last month, although podium protests by athletes were not directly mentioned.
There were two protests in the space of 24 hours by American athletes at the 2019 Pan American Games, while Australia’s Mack Horton and Britain’s Duncan Scott refused to share the podium with China’s Sun Yang during the World Aquatics Championships.
The IOC’s Rule 50 states that “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas”.
“The Olympic Games are always a global platform for the athletes and their sporting performances,” Bach said.
“They are not, and must never be, a platform to advance political or any other potentially divisive ends.
“We stand firmly against the growing politicisation of sport because only in this way can we accomplish our mission to unite the world in peaceful competition.
“As history has shown, such politicisation of sport leads to no result and in the end just deepens existing divisions.”