© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has not considered cancelling the 2024 Paris Olympic Games while the atrocities in the Gaza Strip and Ukraine rage on.

“We have a very strong geopolitical tension. To say we will sacrifice the Games would be the completely wrong approach,” said Bach speaking at a forum in Germany.

“We have had many wars between governments and countries, but the athletes have always taken part in the Games. That is in line with the Olympic mission,” he emphasized.

“I don’t know if we have a world war. Betraying the basic idea of sport is not possible with the International Olympic Committee. According to the United Nations definition, there are currently 28 wars in the world. Our mission is a humanitarian mission for athletes and sports. We try to take this into account. People also need something to unite them,” he said.

The 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships took place this summer. Kyiv and Budapest are just 1,116 kilometres apart from each other on the E40/M06 highways. They are closer than that as the crow flies. Paris to Kyiv is 2400K via the A4 highway. Overlapping conflicts, protests and general concern for the safety of spectators, athletes, media, administration and anyone involved should be a priority. Bach, should have a backup plan in place.

Also for consideration is the fact that Russia is not permitted to compete in international sports due to the conflict they have exacted on Ukraine — never mind its proximity within Europe. Russia continues to stumble in regard to cleaning up its systematic doping issues and related governance. It has been a veritable Keystone Cops comedy of errors and failures.

According to Bach, there are 28 conflicts going on at this time throughout the world. The major issue in addition to the Russia-Ukraine conflict is the Israel-Palestine war, which has escalated recently. Afghanistan is a decades-long battleground. All three of these battles are an East-West conflict, to one degree or another they are proxy wars between the US and Russia. Several civil wars (unrest) continue including in Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan among others. Mexico has a drug war ongoing.

While many war-like events are often referred to as “civil unrest,” “conflicts,” “insurgencies,” and “terrorist activities,” these events are far too complex to be considered traditional war-like battles. For example, one country attacks another to take them over as per Russia and Ukraine. However, the Russian war on Ukraine is big, violent and could spill over. Certainly, civil unrest could rise leading up to the Paris Games. The Olympics often seem to attract protesters regardless of what is going on in the rest of the world. Now may not be the best time to protect the billions the Olympics make, while people are dying nearby.

Bach and the IOC should have a contingency plan to move the Games away from Europe if there is any sign of spillover from Ukraine or terrorism erupting from the Middle East. Certainly postponing the Games should be on the table as was done for Tokyo due to the Pandemic.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.