Olympic boycotts


Olympic boycotts

Olympic boycotts occur when nations eligible to participate in the Olympic Games refuse to do so in order to illustrate a political point such as a protest of the policies of the host country. In many Olympics, at least a handful of eligible countries have boycotted the event. In some cases, boycotts have been much larger. The two largest boycotts, in 1980 and 1984, were closely connected with the Cold War.

Notable Olympic boycotts have included:

*A boycott by 28 African nations in the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal, in protest of a tour of South Africa by the New Zealand All Blacks rugby union team early in the year. Congo's official Jean Claude Ganga led the boycott after the IOC refused to bar the New Zealand team. Some nations (including Morocco, Cameroon and Egypt) had already participated, however, as the teams withdrew only after the first day. From Southern and Central Africa, only Senegal and Ivory Coast took part. Iraq and Guyana also opted to join the Congolese-led boycott. It was also used to protest the Racism in Canada against those of African descent, whom at the time had difficulty obtaining jobs in the Canadian job market.
*The 1980 Summer Olympics boycott, in which 45-50 nations refused to participate in the Olympics held in Moscow in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The exact number of boycotting nations is difficult to determine, as a total of 62 eligible countries failed to participate, but some of those countries withdrew due to financial hardships, only claiming to join the boycott to avoid embarrassment. A substitute event titled the "Liberty Bell Classic" but recognized as the Olympic Boycott Games was held at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia by 29 of the boycotting countries.
*In the 1980 Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid, New York, the Republic of China (Taiwan) refused to compete under the name of Chinese Taipei, and thus became the only nation to boycott the Olympic Winter Games.
*The 1984 Summer Olympics boycott, in which 14 Eastern Bloc countries and allies including the Soviet Union, Cuba and East Germany (but not Romania) refused to participate in the Olympics held in Los Angeles in protest of U.S. sentiments towards the Soviet Union. For differing reasons, Iran and Libya also boycotted. The USSR announced its intention not to participate on May 8, 1984, citing security concerns and "chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria being whipped up in the United States" [Burns, John F. Protests are Issue: Russians Charge 'Gross Flouting' of the Ideals of the Competition. "New York Times", 9 May 1984] .

*In the 1988 Summer Olympics, North Korea, still officially at war with South Korea, boycotted the Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea. Cuba, Ethiopia and Nicaragua joined the boycott.cite web
title = Seoul 1988 Games of the XXIV Olympiad - Did you know?
url=http://www.olympic.org/uk/games/past/innovations_uk.asp?OLGT=1&OLGY=1988
work=www.olympic.org
accessdate = 2007-10-07
]

Threatened boycotts include:

* In 1936, a number of prominent politicians and organizations called for a boycott of the 1936 Summer Olympics, which had been awarded to Germany before the Nazi regime came to power. However, no boycott occurred, and the Olympics instead became notable for African-American athlete Jesse Owens upsetting Adolf Hitler's claims of Aryan superiority.
* Activists in various countries called for a boycott of the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in Beijing, China, in response to various human rights violations alleged against the Chinese government. [cite web|last=Kosyrev|first=Dmitry |url=http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080806/115849259.html|title=Beijing Olympics as a diplomatic convention|accessdate=2008-08-09|work=RIA Novosti|date=2008-08-06] cite news |url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1009630.html|first=Saul|last=Newman|title=Why Grandpa boycotted the Olympics|date= |publisher=Haaretz|accessdate=2008-08-09] Ultimately, no country chose to boycott the games although some athletes boycotted the opening ceremonies. Some individual athletes, notably Portuguese bicyclist Sergio Paulinho and Ethiopian long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie, withdrew from competition after citing air quality concerns.
* In August 2008, the government of Georgia called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics, set to be held in Sochi, Russia, in response to Russia's participation in the 2008 South Ossetia war. [ [http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0711/p06s01-woeu.html Putin Faces Green Olympic Challenge: The Sochi 2014 Winter Games are threatened by a looming international boycott, environmental concerns, and public protests against local development] , "Christian Science Monitor", accessed August 18, 2008.] Sochi is within twenty miles of Abkhazia, a disputed territory claimed by Georgia. The International Olympic Committee has responded to concerns about the status of the 2014 games by stating that it is "premature to make judgments about how events happening today might sit with an event taking place six years from now". [ [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/olympics/wires/08/15/2090.ap.oly.russia.olympics.congress/index.html Lawmakers want Olympics out of Russia] , "CNN", August 15, 2008.]

References


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