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Hey Sen. Graham; Hands Of f the Olympics
By Sally Haase
July
18, 2013



               It’s very rare that politics and sports mix, and if it does it’s usually when a
political leader is at a game.  If Senator Lindsay Graham has his way the political
fallout with Russia over possibly granting asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden
the United States will boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics.  Graham said that the
boycott would be the most unequivocal signal I could send them (Russia).  Yes
Senator, because our Winter Olympians have everything to do with this NSA leak.  
These two issues could not be further away from one another, and do you really
think that Russia will be so upset that Team USA will not attend the Olympics
because they granted asylum to Snowden that they will change their mind.  Not
likely.  NBC will be more upset about the boycott than Russia; the network spends
millions on the games and if Team USA refuses to participate, guess how good the
ratings will be for the games?  A boycott would take away what the spirit of the
games is supposed to be about.  It will be all about the absence of Team USA and
very little about the games.

               The United States did do a boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games
because the United States objected to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.  
The boycott is known was one of the worst decisions of the less than stellar Jimmy
Carter Presidency.  The Soviet Union then responded with a boycott of the 1984
Summer Olympic Games held in Los Angeles.  The boycotts really do nothing but
help the other athletes who are competing in the games, with the United States
boycott of 1980 gave other countries a chance to win medals in events that Team
USA usually dominates and in turn the ’84 games helped Team USA take home
medals they had never won before.  It’s fairly safe to say that Mary Lou Retton would
not have won the Gold in the all-around gymnastics competition if the Soviet Union
gymnastics team was there.

               Right now its sounds like the only person talking about the Olympic ban is
Senator Graham, even his ally, Senator John McCain is not supporting the boycott
and pointed out that the 1980 boycott did not work out very well.  Thank you Senator
McCain for not blindly supporting your party.

               The Olympics have nothing to do with the political standing of the world.  
The athletes could care less if their country is fighting with another country.  They are
there to represent the world in sports, not politics, the athletes are all able to live in
harmony every two years, and it makes me wonder why our leaders can’t do that.  
Also, does Senator Graham not realize all the hard work and training the Winter
Olympians are doing right now?  Many started their journey in 2010 soon after the
closing ceremony with their minds focused on Sochi, Russia in 2014.  They are not
going to want to pack it in so easily and give up their dream. Many men and women
train for years to get to this one Olympics and they may never get back and to have
the rug pulled out from under them over one person is completely unfair.  

               There has to be other non-violent ways for the United States and Russia to
resolve this Snowden issue than to bring the Winter Olympics into it.
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