First of all, let me say congrats to all of my friends who competed at the US indoor champs this weekend. It was just as nervewracking watching you guys on TV as it would have been had I been competing myself. Glad it's over....
Now, one of my readers, Don, pointed me towards another blog today and I read the posting over there on Mes Deux Cents (http://www.mesdeauxcents.blogspot.com/2008/02/real-agony-of-defeat.html) and it spoke about the upcoming Olympics this year in Beijing and how she felt that there is a need for countries to boycott the Olympics to protest China's involvement in the genocide in Darfur, amongst other things. Quite a lot of people responded and many of them agreed with her.
While I can completely and respectfully appreciate her point of view, I felt compelled to respond from the point of view of an athlete. I have cut and pasted the response I wrote over there.
MDC: Thanks to Don for directing me to your blog. As far as boycotting the Olympics goes, I am one of those Olympic athletes who will actually be going to Beijing to compete in the long jump. I am not an American. I am from the Bahamas and I am pretty certain that we will not be boycotting The Games.
I think it's a very tempting and very easy idea to suggest that athletes and countries boycott in protest against whatever the world at large views politically as unfair, wrong and unjust. And when the injustice is like that which we see in Darfur, it makes the reasoning seem all the more compelling.
However, at the core of the Olympic Games is the sentiment, at least amongst those of us who have competed in the Games before and who intend to dare to dream to compete there this time around is the fact that there remains this one true and pure endeavour in sport. One where the entire world can put aside its differences, its discrepancies, the horrors that plague many nations - all for the glory of fair competition, self-sacrifice and achievement. In and of itself, it is a noble cause and the ability to represent one's country and have that pride truly is unparalleled, if I do say so myself.
It would be such a shame to take what should just be sport plain and simple and contaminate it with all that ails the world. The Olympics are not politics, at least they shouldn't be anyway and for those of us who have worked tirelessly our entire lives to fulfill our athletic dreams, it would be life-changing, heart-breaking, soul-wrecking, to have that opportunity taken away to compete with the rest and the best in the world based on the fact that government policy so dictates it.
For many, this chance only comes around once in a lifetime and we do not take it for granted or lightly that the we are a part of the world and so what matters to the world matters to us too. But some things should be kept separate, I think and the Olympics is one of those things.
In addition to the fact, unless a majority of nations chose to boycott, I am not sure the effect would be significant enought to China herself but would rather more so do damage to the individuals whose dreams were shattered. I know many people won't agree with me, but this comes from my heart.
Feel free to give your opinion on whether or not you feel that countries should boycott the Olympics.
I gave my best...
5 years ago