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Beijing Olympics: a diplomatic boycott that gives the choice to the athletes

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Interviewed on the show All morning, at ICI Première on Thursday, former founder Alex Harvey said he agreed with the Canadian position.

I put myself in the boots of athletes who have trained for several months, several years to achieve their big dream, I think that must be a relief, launched the 50 km world champion in 2017.

The choice is theirs, the choice to go to the Games or not to go there to exercise a form of protest. At least we know that this decision is up to them and we know that it is not going to be taken on their behalf.

Same story with long track speed skater Ivanie Blondin, who is in Calgary preparing for a World Cup stop this weekend.

On the issue of human rights, at the origin of this diplomatic boycott, she believes that it is important for Canada to take a stand and send a message, but not to the detriment of its athletes.

A full boycott would affect us and I don’t think that would send a good message either. I believe they made the right decision for us, she confided.

My role as an athlete is to go to the Games and have a good performance and that’s where I focus more on the other things, which the team has to take care of.

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This is a dilemma that often presents itself to athletes. Their sport gives them a platform to express themselves, but they must use it wisely, said Alex Harvey, who believes that the athlete must choose his battles.

Me, my fight as an athlete, it was very much integrity at the sporting level and illegal substances at the doping level, he said. It’s a bit like the fight that I tried to lead in parallel with my athletic career. But I couldn’t fight on all fronts.

I did not want to embark on other fields where I did not have the impression of mastering the subjects. I didn’t want to be cornered by journalists …

He also comes to the defense of the athletes who will not go up to the barricades to raise the question of the treatment of the Uighurs or the tennis player Peng Shuai after his allegations of sexual assault against a former deputy prime minister. Chinese.

It is clear that we will hear athletes express their opinion on human rights which are violated in China, he said. On the other hand, those who are not going to express their opinion, that does not mean that they support what is happening there. Maybe it’s just that they pick their battles, just to focus their energy on their performance.

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Alex Harvey believes the Olympic movement and its leaders have a lot of work to do.

The Olympic movement has been tarnished in the last few years, I would say even in the last decade. We have seen Scandinavian countries rejecting the holding of the Olympic Games by referendum.

We can see that the Olympic rings, these five rings, no longer have the luster of yesteryear and that’s a shame.

We need decisions to be taken within the IOC, that’s clear. I have the impression that there is a message starting to resonate, but I do not believe that it is still loud enough in the ears of the people in the IOC.

On Wednesday, former Olympic and Paralympic athletes Jean-Luc Brassard and Chantal Petitclerc also expressed support for Ottawa’s decision, while questioning the decision of the International Olympic Committee to grant the Games to China.

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