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Olympic-IOC welcomes support for Olympic teams despite diplomatic boycott

Olympic rings are pictured in front of the IOC headquarters in Lausanne
Image of the Olympic rings in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, December 7, 2021. REUTERS / Denis? Balibouse

December 8, 2021

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday said it welcomes governments’ support for their national Olympic teams for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics despite a Several countries announced a diplomatic boycott of China’s human rights record.

The United States, Australia and Britain have said they will not send any government officials to the Olympics to protest China’s “atrocities” on human rights, while other allies are considering similar moves.

China said the United States would “pay the price” for its decision and warned of countermeasures, but gave no details.

“The IOC has always been interested in the participation of athletes in the Olympic Games,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a video conference. “We welcome the support given to their Olympic teams, all of which the government has emphasized.

“This gives certainty to athletes and this is what the IOC is all about.”

This decision may not affect the Games’ operations, but it is a blow to the IOC and its main product – the Olympics – less than two months before they begin, especially after when the delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics were held in July without spectators due to COVID-19.

The diplomatic boycott, encouraged for months by members of the US Congress and human rights groups, comes despite efforts to stabilize the two nations’ relationship, including a meeting video last month between President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping.

“We welcome them (athletes) to be there, we welcome their support by their national governments. The rest is political,” Bach said.

“The presence of government officials is a purely political decision by each government.”

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Alison Williams and Ed Osmond)

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Huynh Nguyen

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