US Olympic Chiefs oppose Beijing Winter Olympics boycott

Los Angeles

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) stated its opposition to a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on Wednesday, saying athletes should not be used as “political pawns.”

In remarks to reporters ahead of a US Olympic team media event, USOPC president Susanne Lyons said the organisation firmly believed that boycotts were ineffective.

“We at the USOPC oppose athlete boycotts because they’ve been shown to negatively impact athletes while not effectively addressing global issues,” Lyons said.

“For our athletes, their only dream is to represent the USA and what we stand for on the international field of play.

“We do not believe that Team USA’s young athletes should be used as political pawns.”

The Beijing Winter Games are scheduled to begin on February 4 next year, six months after the summer Tokyo Olympics.

China is facing global scrutiny over a range of issues, notably the mass internment of Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang, which the US has said amounts to genocide.

It is also under pressure for its rights clampdown in the former British colony of Hong Kong.

On Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price was asked if the United States would consider a joint boycott with allies and said it was “something that we certainly wish to discuss.—AFP