One year from today. 8-8-08 Should we boycott the Beijing Olympic Games?

Having recently posted a story of “This day in History” I thought I would look ahead with this post.

When we were in China this past April/May we visited many cities including Beijing who will host the 2008 Summer Games. While we were in Tian-anmen Square one of our guides discussed their being superstitious as the reason for the starting date of 8-8-08. Will it end up being a “lucky” date for China is the issue of the day!

During our four days in that city we passed several finished and other game venues under construction. China committed $30 billion dollars for this exposure. Over one million peasants were brought into the city from the outlying villages to prepare that city for next year and beyond. The Chinese government desperately wants to showcase next years Summer Games and actively working to clean up their act. Clean up their pollution as well but that’s too much to cover for this post. That said, I do not understand their saber rattling of our finances as was reported in the print media today.

As we debate Barry Bonds record setting day yesterday, and focus on sports, what action, if any should the USA take with regard to the policy making decisions of their government including providing weapons that have been used to kill thousands of innocent citizens of Darfur. Or their internal human rights violations and limitations on religious expression?

Should we mix politics with a major international sporting event?

I recall US President Jimmy Carter asking Americans to boycott the 1980 Moscow Games due to Russia’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. While the IOC refused to move the sponsor location the USOC agreed to a Boycott. When the dust settled 60 teams eventually boycotted that years games.

While we have participants from every corner of the globe, who train for years to compete against the best of class, where do we draw the line for boycotting these International games?

Is this just another event for which we can blame our government for action or inaction?

About Larry Gilbert