2014 Olympics: 5 Reasons Why A Boycott Would Be Foolish
5 Reasons Why A Boycott Of 2014 Olympics Would Be Foolish
As the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia approach, there has been a ton of talk about whether or not the United States should boycott the games.
While every singe nation reserves the right to send or not send athletes to the games based on whatever reason they deem necessary, it is somewhat expected of any nation that has the ability to send athletes to do so. Yet, should a nation deem it prudent to boycott any Olympiad, it is their right to do so.
Boycotts are common in the Olympics, dating back to the first one when Ireland boycotted the 1936 Berlin Summer Games when they were required to restrict their team to the Irish Free State instead of the whole of Ireland. The 1956 Melbourne Summer Games saw a deluge of boycotts for a laundry list of reasons – including the temper tantrum of China (PRC) over the inclusion of the Republic Of China (Taiwan).
The Cold War is when the boycotts started to get seriously real. This culminated in the 1980/1984 battle of boycotts between the United States and their arch-nemesis, the Soviet Union. The United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Summer Games over the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, which history later proved to be ironic foreshadowing. The Soviet Union threatened to boycott the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games, but then sent athletes when they realized they could lose to the United States in hockey. They followed through and boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games, which succeeded in allowing the United States to tear everyone else to shreds, thus causing McDonalds do lose billions in their “When The U.S. Wins, You Win” promotion.
Georgia is already boycotting Sochi due to the 2008 South Ossetia War, yet there is an outcry for the U.S. to lead a boycott of the games due to Russia's horrendous policy of discrimination against LGBT citizens. The movement has gained momentum as it becomes clearer and clearer what a horrible place Russia is to be gay.
While it is wonderful for LGBT rights to take a world spotlight, here are five reasons why a U.S. boycott of the Winter Olympics would be awful
5. It Only Hurts The Athletes
The Olympics have always been about sports. While other distractions have kicked in, at the end of the day, its about the Olympic motto "Citus, Altus, Fortus" (faster, higher, stronger).
It is nowhere near fair to force athletes who have worked their entire lives to get to the Olympics to forfeit what might be their only shot at this dream -- over a political stance.
4. It Would Assume Everyone Agrees
The United States can't even get its citizens to agree on an American Idol contestant, let alone a sociopolitical stance.
While many athletes might agree, what about those who don't? Wouldn't forcing someone to go along with a boycott that violates their beliefs make us no better than those who would punish others for their sexual orientation?
3. Would Russia Really Get The Hint?
The former Soviet Union was notorious for being incredibly dense. You could shout at them for days until they came around to noticing things -- like Chernobyl.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has already tried to answer their critics. He released punk-art band Pussy Riot from prison, which has absolutely nothing to do with LGBT citizens and Russia's treatment of them.
It's doubtful that there are neon lights bright enough to get Russia to figure this puzzle out.
2. Would Russia Actually Do Anything?
Let's assume they notice the United States isn't there.
What would Russia realistically do about it? When the U.S. boycotted the Moscow games, did that cause them to pull out of Afghanistan? For that matter, did the Soviet boycott of the Los Angeles games cause Rocky IV to not be made? No, the USSR stayed in Afghanistan until the occupation failed to the point of absurdity and Rocky IV was one of the most awesome movies ever.
How is an Olympic boycott going to get Russia to treat LGBT citizens like actual human beings?
1. It Would Make The U.S. Total Hypocrites
Stop and look at this rationally for a moment.
Say the United States boycotts the Sochi games because Russia discriminates against LBGT citizens. Yet in the U.S., only a fifth of the states allow LGBT citizens to marry. On top of that, half the states in the U.S. have laws or even state constitutional amendments specifically outlawing same-sex marriage. Benefits for same-sex couples are touch-and-go at best in the U.S. Five states specifically outlaw transgender citizens from changing their gender on their birth certificates.
With the governmental discrimination of LGBT citizens, as well as the horrific social discrimination, is the United States really in any position to tell Russia what's what when it comes to LGBT equality?