Beijing Olympics boycott is a mistake

The US has announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over concerns of China’s alleged human rights abuses. Predictably, Australia and the UK, members of the newly created AUKUS military alliance designed to counter China, followed suit, as has Canada.

Boycotts are a diplomatic practice used by states to express disapproval on various matters. In this case, the states in question are refusing to send diplomatic representatives to the Games – but they are not blocking their athletes from competing. This illustrates why boycotts of this nature are not only difficult to pull off but can actually undermine the value sport brings to international relations.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is made up of members who represent the organization in their own countries – not the other way around, like in the UN. This model has helped the IOC maintain political neutrality over the years. Its president, Thomas Bach has stated that allowing politics in will mark the end of the Games.

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