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Olympics controversy

September 6, 2013

With harsh criticism and the threat of boycotts over Russia’s controversial and repressive anti-gay laws, many people are unfairly asking athletes to not compete in the Winter Olympic Games being held in Sochi, Russia that are only five months away. This is coming after Russian President Vladimir Putin recently enacted a law that bans “gay propaganda” and from people giving information to children about gay or lesbian lifestyles. Even with these laws, we should still support our athletes and understand that they will not be able to show their political stance on the issue under the Russian law and International Olympic Committees (IOC) rulebook.

However, The Associated Press reported IOC spokesman Mark Adams via email as saying Rule 50 “has seldom if ever been ‘enforced’ with a ban, expulsion or similar. So banning and sending home from the games are a little wide of the mark.” This minimal punishment has not stopped many athletes from committing to the Winter Olympics, a goal they have been working toward for most of their lives. People have to realize the amount of physical and mental training these athletes have gone through to make it to the games.

Russia may not be the most unblemished country to host one of the Olympic Games, but it has not been the only one. Think about how the Olympics were held in Nazi Germany during 1936 or when the United States hosted the games in 1904 and 1932 when racism against African Americans was still rampant. When the 2008 Olympics were held in Beijing, the United States still sent the best of our athletes even though China is a communist country.

The anti-gay laws have caused many people to expect their country’s athletes to protest the games or not participate entirely. It is unfair, in every sense of the word, to prevent these athletes from showing the world that they deserve to be in the Olympics. Would it not be a great statement to have an athlete from a country that does support a LGBT lifestyle to win a gold medal?

Remember to support your nation and admire the hard work these athletes have put in over the past years. Do not boycott the athletes or Olympic Committee for choosing Russia.

Alistair Ramsay

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