Hazard, Olga, and I were talking a lot today about the recent news that said that Iranian judo wrestler boycotted Israelian wrestler because of political reasons. There are many versions in the media of what really happened. See for example, this BBC article and this blog entry.
As usual, after some time, all concrete talks that we have dive into abstraction. And for the abstraction, it doesn’t really matter what really happened. The important issue was how “OK” it is for sportsmen to boycotte other sportsmen at Olympic games. Olga and I were in the agreement this time. We thought that Olympic games carry a certain symbol and have a distinct goal of promoting world peace. For a goal like this, boycotting competitors for political reasons does the greates harm. Olympic games are the only place for many people to meet and compete against people from other places. Politics should be set aside for the Olympics.
On the other hand, Olympic games are a great financial venture and it is not always possible to be very strict, firm and hard on rules where huge amounts of money are envolved. Olympic commette has to be flexible enough to allow for the biggest and systematic sport event.
These two sides do come in confrontation sometimes. So, it is very interesting to see how Olympic commette will react for a boycotte like this. Commette’s reaction for this incident will show the lean either to the financial side of the Olympics or to the symbolic side of the Olympics. Of course, it is not possible to judge by a single action, but it is an indication never-the-less.
If I had a vote in the matter, I would ban any sportsmen that would boycotte another sportsmen over politics. I am even very much in favour of banning the whole team representing the country. Something tells me this will not happen though…