One good thing that comes form having the Olympics in China is that we hear a lot more about China these days. Not only the ‘bad’ things concerning the political, press and human rights situation, but also the good things, like their ancient culture. Nonetheless, it’s a quite meagre result. Looking at the reports coming out of China, not many ‘real’ changes have taken place.
Sports itself should not be political. And the sportsjournalists I see, hear and read from certainly agree on that. They focus on the athletes and leave the stuff that ‘really matters’ to others. Which is a good thing, in general. However, last week I saw a television interview by one of those sportsjournalists that left a nasty taste. The item focussed on the ‘Olympic Village’, which is the area where all the olympic athletes live. Apparantly this olympic vilage is the most beautiful olympic village ever, filled with all sorts of luxury for the olympic teams. This, in the eyes of the reporter and the interviewed athletes was a real good thing and showed what great organisers the Chinese are.
Sports itself should not be political. On the other hand, it should also not be completely stupid and ignorant of the world around you. I am very happy for the athletes that they’ll be living in such wonderful conditions during the three to four weeks they’ll be staying in Beijing. I would however have expected them to have shown some sympathy for the thousands of Chinese people that have been evicted from their homes, seen their neighbourhoods teared down and are in many cases now living on the streets just so you can have that airconditioned appartment. For three to four weeks.
The Olympics can never be a non-political event, no matter how hard you try.