Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin; two grown kids playing in the Olympic Games sandbox

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© Copyright – 2018 – Athletics Illustrated

In the proverbial Summer Olympic Games buildup as a metaphor for war; the kids in the sandbox are beginning to hide their toys.

Keeping politics out of the Olympic Games is nigh impossible. Pierre de Coubertin, who started the modern Olympics and died in 1937, stopped rolling over in his grave after the 1972 Munich Olympics, a Games marred by the Munich Massacre. It was a terrorist attack by the Palestinian group Black September and their target was Israeli athletes. It was a statement and perhaps retaliation amid tensions between the two countries and a 234-person hostage taking (by imprisonment) by the Israelis.

And poor West Germany, they just wanted to finally shed their warring image with a friendly games. Not to be, and perhaps not so for Tokyo 2020.

It may come as no surprise that the Trump-Putin-Kim Jong-un triangle is mounting the stairs to the international stage as we speak; to trumpet their global position of authority.

Are the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games building up to be a proxy-like event in place of the brutality of actual war? Louis the XVI would be envious.

In place of sanctions, will there be boycotts pending? The rift between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump appears to be carrying over to the Olympic movement.

Trump, a petty man who clearly knows little-to-nothing about training for sports, certainly at the Olympic level has found his administration dictating the transport of exercise equipment from Russia to North Korea.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) requested to the United Nations to allow the export of sports equipment to North Korea. The exercise or sports equipment is meant to be used in training for the Olympic Games. The only country to block the request was the US.

Does the Trump administration know something that the rest of the UN does not know?

Apparently, the requested exemption was for a limited number of athletes so that they can prepare for the 2020 Olympic Games near Japan.

The Russian news agency TASS reported the block. The block, according to TASS happened after rising tensions between Putin and Trump began after their meeting in Russia.

Perhaps the US does not want to see North Korea in the Olympic Games. The IOC, however, has been working hard to include the embattled country, led by Dictator Kim Jong-un. Perhaps Jong-un may not deserve inclusion, but his people are victims, but that is a whole other political debate; Jong-un’s desire to participate in the Olympic Games has nothing to do with empathy for his people and everything to do with being the new kid in the sandbox; he wants to play too.

Japan is also reluctant about North Korea’s participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.  Japan has a ban in place on North Koreans from entering the country.

North Korea didn’t help their relationship with Japan when they shot missiles over them in 2017, testing the arsenal in an international display of authority; the tensions between those two countries are also high.

Where this petty blocking of the transport of exercise equipment from Russia to North Korea leads will be representative of the egos at play; it shall escalate, how that transpires will be entertaining.

The Olympic Games isn’t just a playground for athletes, the presidents want to play too and they are getting off to a banner start.