The year was 1968: a year of political and cultural change in America. On a hot, sunny October day in Mexico City, during the XIX Olympiad, U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, winning gold and bronze medals in a track and field event, stood atop the medal podium. As our National Anthem was played, both bowed their heads and raised black-gloved fists.
It was the first Olympic games I had ever watched, and the actions of Smith and Carlos were utterly lost on me. But not on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who stripped them of their medals and sent them both packing to the United States and their disgruntled fans.
The modern-day Olympiad is the greatest spectacle around the globe for athleticism, grit and determination, and national pride. It is the foremost international sports competition on a global stage, and audiences watch with rapt attention, rooting for the most exceptional participant in each sport. But it should never be the stage for political dissent and rhetoric.
Chapter five of the Olympic Charter states, “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in the Olympic areas.” Hopefully, all athletes have read this chapter, above all else, and will comport themselves in accordance with Olympiad protocol.
But I have my doubts. We are talking about an international platform on which they can act out akin to a spoiled, privileged child; who could possibly pass up that opportunity?
Lindsey Vonn, an Olympic Gold Medalist in Alpine Skiing, is on my list of potential act outs, as last December she stated emphatically, “Well I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president.” An excellent skier, this one, but a bit out of touch since ‘we the people’ elected the guy.
Another athlete, openly gay figure skater Adam Rippon, who feels that President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are beneath his audience at the White House, had this to say about the Olympic opportunity to protest:
“No, I’m a U.S. athlete representing my country. I will continue to share my story, but I will participate in no form of protest. I’m representing myself and my country on the world stage. I have a lot of respect for this opportunity. What makes America great is that we’re all so different. It’s 2018 and being an openly gay man and an athlete, that is part of the face of America now.”
His message is thoughtful and one his teammates should heed. Always outspoken, Rippon tore into Pence for his views on gay marriage, but has said he would welcome a meeting with Pence, “If I had the chance to meet him afterwards, after I’m finished competing, there might be a possibility to have an open conversation.” Both men should do just that in the spirit of understanding one another.
Americans take pride in the country seriously. Nowhere in recent history has that been more evident than fans boycotting the NFL due to players kneeling during the National Anthem. What was accomplished? Millions of once faithful viewers abandoned the NFL (God, country, and family before football), sponsors scrambled to pick sides, franchises lost millions, and Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed.
We love the Olympic games and our athletes. We cheer those stories of incredible comebacks and against the odds epics. No one will forget chants of “USA, USA, USA” as the 1980 Olympic battle dubbed Miracle on Ice between the U.S.S.R and the U.S. ended with an American gold medal – or when Mary Lou Retton was the first American woman to win individual Gold in gymnastics when no one believed that was possible.
The Olympics are a matter of honor and performance and bring joy to fans around the world; they should not be marred by political division. We are all Americans on the global stage, and I hope our athletes realize that the games are not their platform for personal vendettas and causes. Let’s just kick international butt, win medals, and return home proud. Please and thank you.
Liberty Nation Today:
A Sneak Peek
China Protests: Did Not Xi that Coming – C5 - The oppressive regime of Xi Jinping has the people demanding his resignation. - Watch Now!
Is a Storm Coming? – LNTV – WATCH NOW! - How much worse will things have to get for America to fire the Democrats? - Watch Now!
Is the Greater Idaho Movement Coming Closer to Success? - In Idaho, crime is down, quality of living is up, and Antifa is terrified of rural areas – why wouldn’t rural eastern Oregon want to join? - Read Now!
Fact-Checking or Censorship? Google Doles out $13M to Poynter - The answer lies in what gets labeled misinformation and who picks up the tab. - Read Now!
Biden Pulls Air Marshals From the Skies to Babysit Migrants - Officials warn the president is risking another 9/11. - Read Now!