Dietrofront in Beijing: “Nobody wanted to compete with them”
There is really no peace for the Beijing Games. If the pandemic was not enough to make the Olympics already complicated and the Paralympics even more complicated, with the numerous restrictions to avoid any contagion, here is that the tragic events of the last week have left their mark even in what should only have been a world holiday.
Sport and politics should not be intertwined, but history teaches us that it is pure theory because in practice the two spheres have often crossed for more or less dramatic facts, from the Nazi Olympics in Berlin 1936 through the massacre in Mexico City to the immediate eve of the Mexican Games and for the terrorist action of the Palestinian group Black September in Munich 1972 up to the era of the boycotts: the African one in 1976 to protest against apartheid to the back and forth of Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984 in full Cold War.
This time the war is much more bloody and it is the one that sees Russia and Belarus bring Ukraine to its knees. The athletes of the two invading countries were banned in the last hours by the various Federations with different formulas while, initially, on Wednesday the IPC (the International Paralympic Committee) had decided to admit them as neutral individuals and without being able to affect the medal table. On the Chinese afternoon yesterday, however, the sensational turnaround, due to the pressure received.
There was a bad air in the Paralympic Villages between the Chinese capital and the mountains, as reported by IPC president Andrew Parsons: “Many Committees and other individual athletes have threatened not to compete and this would have made this Paralympic Games impossible.” Those directly affected reluctantly accepted the decision and shot a video online of the Russians singing the national anthem with a few tears thinking about the umpteenth missed opportunity: they are absent from the Winter Games from the home edition of Sochi 2014 following the disqualification for state doping. “Now that we sing our hymn, they will not let us participate”, played down a skier for an already sealed destiny.
In Beijing it will be difficult to talk only about sports. –
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