"The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play." –Olympic Charter
The current Google doodle is beautiful and understated yet no less powerful in its message. But what about me personally? How should I handle a beloved event when I don't agree with the politics of the country in which it is being held?
Do I watch the Olympics from Sochi or do I boycott them because of the Russian government's severe anti-gay and lesbian laws?
I love the Winter Olympics, even more than the Summer Olympics. There is something so exhilarating about men and women throwing themselves down icy ramps and steep hills, going airborne with nothing more than a few feet of thin board under them, spinning and jumping gracefully over ice, or working for hours to maintain a pace over miles of packed snow. Every four years for weeks, I become one with the athletes who have sacrificed so much to push and challenge themselves toward greatness. I cheer from my sofa with gusto.
So here's the thing:
- If I boycott the telecast, am I hurting the athletes more than standing my ground? After all, they aren't the ones bullying and trampling on people and their human rights.
- Will my lone single voice matter? I am an older straight woman who supports gay rights. Does anyone care? Or is it not my fight?
- In the end, will any of it matter? Hmmm, tell that to Rosa Parks or the Suffragettes, or more recently to Malala Yousafzai.
If you think it's still okay to watch the games, just swap the word "black" or "Jew" for "gay." Now how does it sound?
I would never support any organization, country or event that would exclude people for their religion, race or gender, so how is this different? Frankly, it's not.
So to all the Olympians out there, please know that I am still behind you 110% and when you win your medals or take your falls, I will have to learn about it second hand but will feel no less excitement or sadness.