Political And COVID-19 Storm Clouds Hover Over The 2022 Beijing Olympics

A diplomatic boycott may be in the works.

The 2021 Beijing Marathon was scheduled for October 31st and was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic with the hope of getting it in before the end of the year. But marathon organizers have given up on holding the event and that may not be a good sign for the 2022 Winter Olympics which begin in less than two months. The latest COVID-19 variant is in circulation and while its impact is not yet known, it potentially can play havoc with the International Olympic Committee’s signature winter event. The National Hockey League which has seen COVID-19 outbreaks is scheduled to send some of its players to compete for Olympic gold and NHL owners and players want a part of the lucrative China sports market. The NHL did not send players to the 2018 South Korea Olympics because the potential to make money was not all that promising. China, of course, is a different story.

On the diplomatic front, there are countries who are going to send athletes to compete in the Beijing Games. But countries are not happy with China’s human rights record, Uyghur oppression and then there is the curious story of the missing Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. The United States has accused China of committing genocide on the Uyghurs. There are also questions about the origin of the COVID-19 illness and whether China could have done more to stop its spread two years ago. That has led to suggestions that there will be a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. President Joe Biden said that the U.S. was considering a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 games. Australia, Canada, Lithuania and the United Kingdom may also be considering a diplomatic boycott, Meanwhile Russia and India are supporting China. The IOC is standing strong with its Beijing partners, after all there is money to be made.

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191  

FILE – China’s Peng Shuai (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)