The human rights abuses in China makes it a wonder how they were selected as host for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics, with Beijing to become the first city to hold both the Summer and Winter Olympics in sports history.
Protests hoped for nations to boycott Beijing 2022, similar to when the USA and allies boycotted the Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which then triggered the Soviet Union and its allies to boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Maybe it’s not realistic for international sporting events to have hosts with 5-star Yelp reviews, so when World Sailing selected Oman to host the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championship, the odds for some trouble were pretty good.
Perhaps someone somewhere was hoping that Israel would perform poorly, since Oman does not officially recognize country, but they didn’t, and when it came to the playing national anthems for the gold medal winners, the victory by Israeli Gal Zuckerman in the Female Kiteboarding event cancelled the playing of anthems for everyone.
Upon hearing this news, questions came for how US Sailing could have sent a team to an event in which not all participants would be treated fairly. Is equality not a principle for which the country stands for?
But according to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), for which US Sailing serves, boycotts are ineffective
“An athlete boycott of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is not the solution to human rights or geopolitical issues,” said USOPC chair Susanne Lyons. “The USOPC is opposed to athlete boycotts because they have been shown to negatively impact athletes while not effectively addressing global issues.”
While participation can be viewed as an endorsement of host policies, should athletes be used as pawns to effect change? Much like the Olympics, where the opportunity to participate is limited, there is a limit age period to compete at the Youth Sailing Worlds. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
The only good solution, from an athletic perspective, is to pursue hosts with 5-star Yelp reviews.