The Winter Olympics will continue. They always do.
The opening ceremony took place on Friday in China, which is celebrating sport and solidarity even as the country is embroiled in international controversy over its human rights record.
Amidst commotion and celebration, Beijing authorities will be asked about their persecutions in Hong Kong and Tibet as well as their repressive treatment of the Muslim Uyghur minority.
Perhaps the organizers or the International Olympic Committee will give dim assurances about the well-being of tennis star and former track athlete Peng Shuai, who, after accusing a former senior official China’s high for sexual assault, has essentially disappeared.
Eternal Olympic Movement. Its game takes place every four years when not interrupted by terrible circumstances such as the pandemic that moved the recent Tokyo Olympics to the summer of 2021. It continues to play out, season after season. , despite a long list of troubles:
Bribery and drug scandals.
Athlete censorship and excess costs.
Destruction of the environment and displacement of local residents.
But Beijing 2022 is on a completely different level of discord.
Many people, myself included, are asking if these Games should take place?
Should a second Olympics in a row be held amid a pandemic that has killed more? five million people worldwide?
China’s effort to hit back against the virus would make the strict measures implemented in Tokyo like a kindergarten game, in a country leaning towards authoritarianism that has gone unnoticed by the IOC.
Again, there will be fewer fans in the stands. NBC will broadcast the Olympics in the United States while keeping its announcers at home because it thinks it’s unsafe for them to be in China.
Here we come to another Olympics where Russia stands like a ghost. It was only eight years ago – the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics – when Russian troops were massed on the border of Crimea. Then, when Sochi ended, Russia annexed Crimea, challenging the international community. The worry now is that a similar fate will befall Ukraine after the Olympics are over.
In Sochi, the Russians waged one of the most brazen doping scandals in sports history – a sophisticated campaign to replace dirty doping samples with clean ones involving more than 1,000 athletes. motivators and dozens of coaches and officials.
However, Russian athletes have competed in every Olympics, winter and summer, since that 2014 match. Although they are not allowed to march under their flag, they will be there in Beijing, which the IOC has deemed “clean”.
The IOC does not want to take on the powerful. That is why Russia came out virtually unscathed after Sochi.
“By not commenting on political issues, you are not taking sides” Thomas Bach saidpresident of the IOC, after he faced harsh criticism for failing to impress China on Peng Shuai and human rights.
Bach refuted this position with an often sublime idealism that obscures reality, and he later classifies that idealism as hyperbole. “Otherwise, we cannot fulfill the mission of the Olympics – to bring and unite the world,” he said.
But politics, protests and the infiltration of disgruntled world affairs have always played an important role in the Olympics. They did when Jesse Owens embarrassed Hitler in Berlin in 1936, when Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black-gloved fists in protest in Mexico City in 1968, and when terrorists represented an affiliate of the Palestine Liberation Organization killed 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team in Munich in 1972.
“The Olympics must go on,” Avery Brundage, head of the IOC, said after the massacre.
The remaining athletes vent their sadness and practice until the end. Their courage and determination cannot surprise; It is the Olympic competitors who always atone for the Olympics. (Most of them are, at least, not dopers and other cheats.)
To stem the unstoppable stream of epidemics, what will save Beijing 2022 will be more sportingly brilliant – on the ice and the mountains, in this case, covered with a thick layer of man-made snow. unusually dense because it is located in an arid region.
Mikaela Shiffrin, daring and dominant, aims for five more golds.
Nathan Chen, gliding on ice and twisting in the air in figure skating.
Shaun White and Chloe Kim in half situation.
Eric Frenzel of Germany in Northern Europe combined.
Canada, waging an ongoing battle with the United States for supremacy in women’s hockey.
Of course there will be other stars, other memories to be formed. Expect a fascinating stream of virtually unknown track and field athletes, athletes with legends of the ages, no chance of winning and indomitable.
Expect grace notes; This kind of fair game has become a hallmark of the Tokyo Olympics.
Think of the games that took place just five months ago. I was one of many critics who sounded the alarm about the usual scandals and soaring costs of the day. The biggest concern is that the Switzerland-based IOC has pushed the Olympics down the throats of the Japanese public with legitimate worries that a major event coming to their island nation could undermine their lives. fight against coronavirus.
Most Japanese people want the Olympics to be canceled or postponed again.
The IOC mocks, mocks and pushes forward.
Then the games begin. As always, viewers around the world were understandably intrigued by the drama unfolding in the gyms and on the fields and tracks surrounded by a stadium devoid of fans.
For the next three weeks in China, expectations are the same. Expect the same grandeur, the same sporting grace – a miracle for all of us – but always remember what is really going on.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/sports/olympics/china-winter-olympics-covid.html Once again the Olympic Games will begin, in spite of everything