Olympics Boycotts and Human Rights

Olympics = fitness. So into my blog it goes.

There are many LBGTQ and Allies that are saying we should boycott the winter Olympics this year because of Russia's intolerant and violent opposition to people being people. While I think it's important that we stand for our brethren and against those who sacrifice human rights, an Olympic boycott will hurt more people than it will help.

In an ideal situation, I would like to see the Olympics moved out of Sochi all together.

However, when we boycotted the 1980 Olympics, athletes who had worked THEIR ENTIRE LIVES, sacrificing so much in pursuit of their goals, really had the rug pulled out from under them. In an effort to make a statement, a statement that fell flat, we punished the hardworking citizens of our own country.

The only effect was that at the next Olympics, 1984 in LA, those who were boycotted against boycotted back. Not exactly progress:

Wikipedia Page on the 1980 Olympic Boycott

Athletes still annoyed, 25 years later

Yet look back to the powerful imagery that we have from the 1968 Olympics, when Black athletes made their presence known and displayed to the world that our athletes are human and stand for more than speed and agility. We stand for human rights.

Wikipedia Page on the 1968 Olympic Black Power Salute

Smithsonian Article looking back on the effects

I say, we stand by our athletes. We protect them, we let them do their thing. Let them make their statements if they so chose. Don't force them to be pawns in a political game that will only punish them.