The Olympic Games are some of the most prestigious athletic competitions in the world. Held since the Ancient Era, they represent the pinnacle of physical excellence and are a uniting force when it comes to international competition. Sadly, it would seem that the upcoming, 2024 Olympics are going to be facing quite a bit of trouble.
Recently, the Polish tourism minister, Kamil Bortniczuk, announced that a boycott of the Olympic Games could make the entire competition pointless. Mr. Bortniczuk’s statement came after his own country, in coalition with Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia rejected the International Olympic Committee’s proposal to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the 2024 Olympic Games.
Countries Threaten to Boycott the Olympics
The 2024 Olympic Games
The 2024 Summer Olympics will be held in France. Scheduled to take place from July 26 to August 11, 2024, the event will be spread across 17 cities, with Paris, understandably, functioning as the main host city. The Games will mark two major events. The debut of breakdancing as an Olympic sport, and the final year of President Thomas Bach’s stint as president of the IOC.
However, recently the games have also been marked by controversy. The IOC has proposed that Russian and Belarusian athletes be allowed to participate in the event. The proposal was not meant with much of a positive response. Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Poland all rejected the idea, with Polish tourism minister, Kamil Bortniczuk saying that it will result in a boycott of the Olympic games.
The Olympic Boycott
Threats to boycott the Olympics are nothing new. The Olympics have faced boycotting campaigns before, and they’ve endured regardless. However, it is true that no boycott campaign has ever reached the level of what is being threatened now. According to Mr. Bortniczuk, as many as 40 countries could boycott the upcoming Summer Olympics. And if that truly is the case, then many are arguing that the whole event would be pointless.
Already, Ukraine has made threats of boycotting the Olympics if Russians compete. And while their reaction is understandable, considering the situation between Russia and Ukraine, the IOC said that any boycott would only be punishing the athletes. Still, Bortniczuk believes it is possible to form a coalition large enough to block the committee’s plan, or at the very least make holding the games pointless.
The Polish tourism minister hopes that if they get the United States of America, Great Britain, Canada, and other similarly powerful countries on board, it could result in a pressure on the IOC to make their voices heard.
The IOC’s Response
For their part, the International Olympic Committee is looking for a peaceful solution to the problem, which would satisfy everyone involved. The IOC are attempting to find a way to allow the Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete, while also addressing the concerns of the Ukrainian government. In a recent statement, the committee announced that athletes should not be punished or barred from competing because of the writing on their passport.
The United Kingdom’s government did not find the answer satisfactory, stating that the IOC’s plan was ignoring the reality of war. Ukrainian politicians are still calling for a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing or threatening a boycott. Still, the International Olympic Committee’s president, Thomas Bach, insists that athletes should not be ostracized based on nationality or ethnicity.
The International Olympic Committee is still attempting, to the best of its ability, to come to a neutral conclusion that will not disappoint any side. However, the coalition is not budging. The sports ministers of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Poland said in a recent statement that any effort to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete will be met with pushback, and legitimizing the decision as neutral is detrimental to the cause.
The White House has thrown its hat into the mix as well. Press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre said that if athletes are allowed to perform, they should do so as individuals, making it abundantly clear that they don’t represent their home country. For their part, the IOC is not budging, maintaining that a ban on athletes goes against their principles.