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Chris Selley: How Can We Avoid China’s Unacceptable Olympics While Keeping The Games

By on November 26, 2021 0


It is surely not beyond human ingenuity to organize all the competitions planned in Beijing elsewhere, just under a banner other than the four rings.

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Whatever happened to Peng Shuai, the 35-year-old Chinese tennis player who accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault – and has since provided no half-convincing evidence of life – c It is fortunate for China that this has happened within a few weeks. before hosting the Winter Olympics and not the Summer Games. It’s hard to imagine that Peng’s colleagues on the women’s and men’s professional tennis circuits, at the very least, wouldn’t have already vowed to stay away from Beijing in protest.


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It’s also hard to imagine gymnastics taking the time to rely on its long-standing sexual abuse to reflect the glory of a regime that may very well have vanished from an elite athlete for exposing a powerful abuser. (If Peng is alive and well, how can it take so long to demonstrate this conclusively?)

The pressure would then be on other athletes and nations to follow suit. And for some of them, it would be a relatively easy decision: an Olympic medal is not the no longer ultra victory in tennis, golf or football. But they are renowned Olympic events nonetheless. By withdrawing, they would deal a major blow.

An Olympic medal is the no longer ultra victory in many other sports, including most if not all of the Olympic winter sports. It is no small thing to ask someone who has worked harder than most of us have ever worked, often putting their career and family on the back burner, to give up their dreams just because the Committee international Olympic decided that China was a suitable host. (It’s not just the medal, either. A Canadian gold medalist in cross-country skiing, biathlon or freestyle skiing is not going to get rich in mentions. But no one would even know who Beckie Scott, Myriam are. Bédard or Alexandre Bilodeau Canada stayed home after the Games.)


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The idea of ​​moving the Olympics to Beijing has always been a fancy one. The International Olympic Committee knew what type of country it was awarding the Games to. There are hundreds of thousands of Pengs locked up in concentration camps in Xinjiang. IOC delegates will send the games wherever officials are ready to fill them with the best wines and flattery, and increasingly to horrible countries. At the end of the bidding process for the 2022 games – which saw frontrunner Oslo pull out due to absurd and clearly undemocratic demands from the IOC – the only two cities remaining were Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan.

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But that’s one more reason not to reward the IOC, or even China. It is surely not beyond human ingenuity to organize all the competitions planned for Beijing elsewhere, just under a banner other than the Four Rings – if not by the end of this northern hemisphere winter, then certainly by the end of the next one.

It will not be “the same”, of course. But you can bet people will be watching, if only for the novelty and geopolitical intrigue. And that would also have other advantages: the alt-Olympics could visit countries which could not otherwise hope to welcome for lack of a suitably mountainous geography. Why shouldn’t the Netherlands welcome long track speed skating, or short track speed skating in Quebec, or ski jumping in Poland, or curling in Scotland (or Manitoba)? Really, if the Olympics are to continue, decentralization is one of the few defensible models. This is the opportunity to show the way.


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This is a particularly compelling proposition from a hockey perspective – men’s hockey in particular. It’s unclear why exactly NHL players made the Olympics their ultimate international award. (With all due respect to Canada-World Cup, maybe it’s because there weren’t really any serious ones before.) But the IOC is putting on an objectively terrible tournament: only 12 days to go. to decide the best of the 12 teams, which is at least four too many teams, one of which this time is China, the 32nd men’s hockey team in the world, just ahead of Australia and Israel. That will only improve slightly in 2026, with Italy, 17th, welcoming in Milan.

Canada’s three preliminary round hockey games are against Germany, the United States and China – a corker, an almost certain thing and a complete waste of time. Vancouverites will log in at 5:10 am to watch these games. The Haligonians will wake the children up to watch the gold medal game at 12:10 am on a Sunday morning. How the hell can this be the first showcase for international hockey?

Everyone involved – the NHL, the players, the broadcasters – would do much better to find a few arenas in North America or Europe and organize a suitable tournament instead. He would miss the prestige of the Olympics at the start, of course, but everything lacks prestige until he settles down. And at the rate the IOC is expressing its prestige, there may not be much left to aspire to anyway.

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