Sunday, February 24, 2008

THE BEIJING OLYMPICS

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.

15 comments:

Marcus LANGFORD said...

Jackie, I will tell you what I told Brianna: You are a super-star, so you may be able to appreciate the tag that I have waiting for you at my blog. (just so that you know, I really do not like doing tags and I really do not understand their purpose, so I will understand if you don't want to participate as this may very well be my last one)

Marcus LANGFORD

Jewells said...

I agree with you, Jackie. There are some things in life that should not be political. Sports is a passion for many, just like writing is for me. If the masses wanted to boycott novels and all reading paraphenelia due to the printers used to print the material being manufactured by 5 year olds, I doubt I would participate.

I don't know.

Brianna said...

touche. or however you spell that word you know i mean.

T.I.C. said...

I'll have to agree to disagree. The Olympics should be separated from politics, but imangine if your country were enslaving and torturing and killing and mutalating its citizens, would you want them to host the Olympics.

Sometimes we must make sacrafices. I know you and others have trained hard for years, but what will you win, a bronze, silver or gold medal, your name in a record book, cheers from the crowd.

Think of your brothers and sisters in Dafur. They're losing their homes, there way of live, their childrens lives as well as their own.

China is just as guilty as those who are commiting those atrocities. If you give someone a gun to rob a bank, and in the process they kill someone in the bank, you are an acessory to murder.

If it were taking place in the Bahamas instead of Dafur, I think you would have a different opinion.

Kareem said...

Hey Jackie,

I too am from the Bahamas. In fact, we both attended QC at the same time although I was a couple of years behind you. I found you through Brianna's website in one of her photos and I sent her an email to verify if it was indeed you.

Anyway, to the question at hand. I agree with you as far as what the Olympics represents. The World coming together and putting aside their political differences for two weeks of sportsmanship.

There is always some wrong doing (tragedies) happening somewhere before, during and after the Olympics. those things are never going away. At least not soon. Even back in the days of Hitler where WW II was looming the Olympics still occurred.

I am sure being from The Bahamas means we have a different perspective on the matter (and many more I am sure).

I am glad to know you are still doing your thing. I will be looking out for you in Beijing.

Jackie Edwards said...

t.i.c: Respectfully, I don't think I would would have a different opinion, to be honest because again I reiterate that the Olympics and what it represents in and of itself has nothing to do with politics and murder and genocide. What China is doing in the fact that they supply weapons is most definitely heinous and equal to committing murder - I agree with you on that, but that has nothing to do with the athletes themselves and the sporting event that is the Olympic Games. Competing in the Games and opposing China's involvement in the atrocities in Darfur and elsewhere are not mutually exlcusive. And far as just winning a medal or cheers from a crowd, if that is all you see that an athlete accomplishes at such an event, then I fear you truly underestimate ALL that the Games encompasses in the mind and spirit of an athlete. 10,000 athletes from over 200 countries coming together in peace and harmony, living together, sharing meals, conversation, cultures and experience far supercedes the very base recognition that you have given one's participation in the Games. But I acknowledge and appreciate your opinion. Thanks.

Kareem: Hi there. I'm trying to place your face. What house were you in? I was in Dyer (Go Blue:). Good to hear from a fellow Bahamian. Thanks for the support. Stay in touch.

Raphew said...

If people who made these decisions realized how much time effort and energy we put in to try and make the teams, they would me alot more hesitant to make decisions like boycottin

Don said...

I can understand and respect all viewpoints which do not coincide with mines. I admire the incredible athletes who sacrifice so much of themselves for the oppurtunity to compete.

With that said, I do think that it would send a message if a boycott took place. True, politics and sports should remain seperate for the most part...but I honestly believe there are some cases where it can and should be used to bring attention to those who act like they don't know.

Sidebar: Jackie, I felt you and Mes Deux could share each other's love for Track & Field. Interesting blog debate.

BloggersDelight said...

We appreciate the time you have taken to stop by our corner of the blog-world and leave a comment. We wish you the best in your endeavors! You have been added to our blog-roll.

Mizrepresent said...

I support you and all the other athlete from around the world...So true, this is not about the politics of the world, but coming together in sportsmanship. Kudo's to your post and your response, it was not only well meant, and spoke of truth, but also well said.

Kareem said...

I sent an email to your aol account with a pic so you can "place my face". I am not sure you would remember me though :). btw - I was your rival @ QC - HEAT!!

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Thats because you are a person of character. I know u will do well and i will look for u again on tv saw you once already, u dont stop by any more, im sad. have a great weekend

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