Runner who missed 1980 games: Boycotts put athletes in the middle


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEXSTAR) — Because the world will get prepared for the Beijing Video games, some could surprise why the Worldwide Olympic Committee picked China as the situation for the Winter Olympics.

Internet hosting an Olympics places a metropolis and a rustic on a pedestal. Greater than 3 billion folks around the globe tuned into the Tokyo Video games, and with that a lot consideration, it’s no surprise that politicians and advocates with an agenda use the Olympics to boost their voice.

But it surely’s the athletes who get caught up within the center.

Human rights is the rally cry across the Beijing Video games. China has been accused of genocide towards the Uyghur Muslims. President Joe Biden has carried out a diplomatic boycott and others have adopted.

However some are saying that’s not sufficient and the video games ought to be boycotted altogether.

“It’s basically aiding and abetting the Beijing regime, to hold out its propaganda and to cowl up a sports-washing of its genocide,” Pema Doma, the campaigns director at College students for a Free Tibet, stated.

This can be a highway america has been down earlier than. In 1980, former President Jimmy Carter pulled america from the Moscow Video games to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Greg Meyer was an elite athlete on the time, and the boycott value him his shot in 1980.

“I’m torn. As a result of as an individual who values human life, most of that is round human rights points, genocide,” Meyer stated. “Once they took that away it was like, for what? It simply made you indignant that you simply had been singled out to make a press release, no one else was, and it harm.”

Three years after lacking out on Moscow, Meyer gained the Boston Marathon, however his Olympic dream by no means got here to fruition.

Meyer stated he met Carter years later, and Carter admitted the boycott was a mistake.

“I nonetheless really feel to this present day, the athletes in ’80 had been used. It didn’t change something. I feel in China proper now, if we’re going to tug out, pull out,” Meyer stated. “However pull all of it out, don’t go half means. Have you ever ever seen anyone win a recreation the place they solely gave half effort or a fraction of an effort? No, doesn’t work.”

If athletes had been to be requested to tug out, Meyer says that firms — like Olympic sponsors and NBC — also needs to be requested to as effectively.

“We’re making choices on a bunch of athletes that haven’t any affect on our economic system or scale of life. It’s actually on their life,” Meyer stated. “Whenever you begin asking firms or networks to say, ‘No, we’re not going to do enterprise till they modify.’ That hurts the economic system. That hurts them. No one is keen to try this.”



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