Sports Outside the Beltway

British Olympic Athletes can’t criticize China

Wouldn’t it be a better world if Politics had little or nothing to do with Sports? From the Daily Mail-

British Olympic chiefs are to force athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China’s appalling human rights record – or face being banned from travelling to Beijing.


The controversial clause has been inserted into athletes’ contracts for the first time and forbids them from making any political comment about countries staging the Olympic Games.

It is contained in a 32-page document that will be presented to all those who reach the qualifying standard and are chosen for the team.

From the moment they sign up, the competitors – likely to include the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips and world record holder Paula Radcliffe – will be effectively gagged from commenting on China’s politics, human rights abuses or illegal occupation of Tibet.

Any athlete who refuses to sign the contract won’t be allowed to travel to Beijing this summer. I’m a advocate of free speech, having defended the rights of people to say what they want from Cindy Sheehan to Ann Coulter, but the BOA is probably within in its right under British law. With hindsight the wisest course of action would have never been to award China the Olympics in the first place till they got their house in order. Needless to say I don’t think this summer will be anything like Berlin 1936.

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Needless to say I don�t think this summer will be anything like Berlin 1936.

A very low bar indeed.

Posted by charles austin | February 18, 2008 | 05:38 pm | Permalink

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