Let’s focus on the Games, not the grievances

 I wonder if all those who think it's appropriate to use the Sochi Olympics as a platform to protest Russia's laws regarding homosexuality feel the same about terrorists (or should I say "freedom fighters") who

I wonder if all those who think it’s appropriate to use the Sochi Olympics as a platform to protest Russia’s laws regarding homosexuality feel the same about terrorists (or should I say “freedom fighters”) who also want to use the Olympic games to further their political objectives.

The Tsarnaev Brothers planted a bomb at the Boston Marathon as a way to get world attention and action against USA foreign policy in the middle east. Terrorists killed several people at the Munich Olympics in 1972. A domestic terrorist detonated a bomb at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

At the international political level, states have been doing tit for tat boycotts for years over one issue or another. If one group can use sporting events to gain attention for a cause, then why not any other group, for any other cause and by any other means?

OK, we can all agree that terrorist acts at sporting events of any kind are way beyond any reasonable measure of legitimate protest, but really, lets consider the broad picture.

Right now, we have Russia in our sights, but are there any countries, including ours, that are so pure and righteous that no one would ever find fault with them and a reason to use the Olympics as a foil for a protest no matter which country is the host?

If Canada again hosts the Olympics, is it possible that the minions who dislike our carbon emissions record will protest, bomb, boycott, fly flags at half mast and do everything they can to disrupt the games on our soil to make their point to us and to the world? Or is it only OK to make a fuss when the Russians are the hosts?

Perhaps the point can be better made by postulating similar campaigns against our sporting events right here at home. For example, since we Yukoners know the Americans are scooping out unsustainable catches of salmon (and in the case of bycatches, wasting our beautiful chinooks by dumping them overboard), why don’t we boycott the Yukon Quest, especially given that the start of this year’s Quest was in Fairbanks?

What about the Arctic Winter Games – would that not be a great sporting event for us to trash to force our territorial governments to ban all ATVs, snowmobiles, bikes and perhaps all but a certain low impact on the environment type of footwear? Can we not find a sporting event, like say last year’s international fastball tournament, where we could really leverage our protest against development of the Peel?

My point is not that all of these issues are not important and we should not make our views known, but rather that, in my opinion, we ought not to use sporting events whether local, national or international, and especially not the Olympics, as opportunities and leverage to promote and achieve our political and social views.

We all live in glass houses, so let’s just leave our politics, grievances, preferences, and protests in whatever form and regarding whatever subject alone, and let the sports events be sports events without judgement. There is plenty of time and opportunity to promote grievances without linking them to sports.

Enjoy the Olympics.

Rick Tone

Whitehorse