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Expectations run high with Beijing 2022 set to unite the world

2021-11-24 09:57:01 Xinhua News Agency

Beijing is set to mark a historic achievement in February, when it will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

The ill-conceived remarks by some western political leaders and media outlets have failed to sway the opinion of the Games' participants. To this day, not a single athlete or NOC has withdrawn from the Winter Games, scheduled to run from February 4 to 20.

Apart from politicizing sport, an Olympic boycott would represent a clear violation of the three core values of Olympism: excellence, friendship and respect.

In a missive to the Olympic community published in September, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach drew attention to the Games' potential to unite the planet.

"The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 come at an important moment to bring the world together in the Olympic spirit of peace, solidarity and unity," Bach said. "It will once again be the athletes of these Olympic Games that will send this message of the unifying power of sport to the world."

A vocal opponent of the boycott calls has been Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president and IOC vice president John Coates.

In a speech to Australia's National Press Club in October, Coates said the sovereignty of host nations must be respected and that no country had a right to tell others what to do.

The most important Olympic Games stakeholders - the athletes - have shown overwhelming exuberance at the prospect of participating at Beijing 2022.

Among those to express their desire to take part is the National Hockey League MVP Connor McDavid, one of the event's highest-profile stars.

"Just to be able to represent Canada at the Olympics and compete for a gold medal would be an absolute dream come true," McDavid said at the prospect of tasting Olympic competition for the first time.

Equally as enthusiastic is Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who will wear the colors of his native Sweden.

"The Olympics is one of the biggest dreams of mine and I haven't been able to participate in one. This might be the last chance I get," the 30-year-old said.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin said athletes should not have to sacrifice a pivotal moment in their careers for political reasons.