Beijing is set to create a record when it
will host the Winter Olympics in February 2022. The Chinese capital will be the
only city in the world to host both the Summer Olympics and the Winter
Olympics. But what brought the Games in the spotlight was the recent diplomatic
boycott by the United States. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New
Zealand also followed the US in boycotting the upcoming Winter Olympics.
France, however, ruled out boycotting the Winter Olympics. It must be noted
that Paris will host the Summer Olympics in 2024.
As five countries imposed a diplomatic
boycott on the Beijing Winter Olympics, there are, of course, questions
regarding the participation of athletes from these countries.
does a diplomatic boycott affect athletes’ participation?
No, this diplomatic boycott will not affect
athletes’ participation in the Beijing Winter Olympics, starting February 2.
Unlike the 1980 Moscow Olympics and 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, when thousands
of athletes skipped the Olympic Games due to the Cold War between the US and
the undivided USSR, athletes and officials from all countries will take part in
the Winter Olympics in Beijing unhindered. At the same time, no athlete has
even expressed a desire to skip the Games. It means all those who have qualified
for the Games will participate in the Winter Olympics.
This is majorly due to the amount of money
involved. The Olympics are a billion-dollar property and a boycott could cost
teams and a sport a great deal, especially the US since American broadcaster NBC
pays billions of dollars to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to show
the Games in the country. So, if US athletes do not take part, their revenue,
too, will be significantly impacted.
is a diplomatic boycott?
It means that the US, UK, Australia, Canada
and New Zealand will not send their government delegations to Beijing during
the Winter Olympics. The host country’s government invites their counterparts
to send a high-ranking official to attend the Olympics. These officials are
labelled as ‘VIP visitors’. But it is not mandatory for the head of a country
to attend the Olympics. Also, the Winter Olympics are not as famous as the
the diplomatic boycott have any impact on the Winter Olympics?
No. China has already said that it will not
invite any government delegations from other countries due to
coronavirus-related restrictions. In the meantime, sponsors and broadcasters
are unlikely to pull out, given the amount of business involved.
participation, on the other hand, is guaranteed as well because they also would
not like to miss the chance of participating in a mega event, which comes once
in four years. Missing the event would also cost them monetarily. The US has
also said it will fully support its athletes even as they diplomatically
boycott the Winter Olympics.
the US-led boycott have any impact on the Olympics in future?
Likely. China, which finished second behind
the US in the Tokyo Olympics in August this year, could opt for a similar move
in the near future. The US and Australia are the hosts of the 2028 and 2032
Olympic Games. The US is reportedly looking to host the Winter Olympics as well
in the near future. And with many key Olympic sponsors being Chinese, it could
get tricky for the US bid.