First held in 1896 in Athens, Greece to promote peace, The Olympics has served as a stage for politics in several instances. This past week, students discussed whether or not political issues should be raised at The Olympics in our #DoNowOlympics post. We asked students Is it cool to bring political issues to the Olympics? When there are strong tensions between nations or concerns over human rights violations, should those issues be left at the door in the spirit of international unity and competition, or should the Olympics be used as a worldwide stage to express political dissent and call attention to perceived injustices?
Before The Sochi Olympics commenced this past month, IOC President Thomas Bach urged leaders across the world to leave their political agendas at home. Bach’s concerns about politics playing a factor in the games arose from a number of leaders who decided not to attend the games based on Russia’s ban on “gay propaganda,” which generated international outrage.
Students commented on how politics is a natural part of society, but also pointed to the intention of the games as a way to create peace. The majority of the students agreed that nations should concentrate on the athletes and leave politics at home.
Keep Politics Out!
Students expressed their outrage about mixing politics and The Olympics Games together.
— Kara Peterson (@karapetersonnth) February 21, 2014
— Caitlynn Gramer (@CaitlynnGramer) February 19, 2014
— Paige (@Peb567) February 21, 2014
Focus on the Athletes
Many students argued that nations should focus on and support their athletes.
The Olympics is show nation's top athletes to fight for glory and gold, not political arguments. #DoNowOlympics
— Przemek Stasik (@Shemusz) February 19, 2014
— Flower Child™✌ (@tmanerTM) February 20, 2014
— Leen (@lilleen__) February 25, 2014
Speak Up for Human Rights
Some students argued that people have the right to express their opinion during the games.
— Jarod Fritchman (@JarodFritchman) February 18, 2014
— A L I S I A H (@Alisiah_Cook) February 19, 2014
Can We Escape Politics?
Other students wondered if nations can escape politics during the games at all.
— Courtney Martin (@courtney6071) February 18, 2014
— Michael Mitchell (@MichaelM2014) February 20, 2014
Check out this timeline students from Judge Memorial High School created, highlighting past instances where politics played a role in The Olympics.
Also, students from Okemos High School created a wikispace to discuss the role politics at The Sochi Olympics.