Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Could Some Olympic Events Leave Russia?

A lot of people are rightly upset that the Olympics will be held in Russia, even as it institutes draconian antigay laws. At the same time, one can understand how Olympic athletes who have spent their entire lives training for these events are unwilling to boycott them in protest.

I wonder if the athletes could agree to not go to Russia, and instead meet up somewhere else and hold para-Olympic (but not, uh, Paralympic) competitions. The body of athletes as a whole is probably too unwieldy for such coordination, but doing it sport-by-sport might be more feasible. And since a fair number of the countries that are prominent in the Winter Olympics are socially liberal, athletes might have institutional support from their national Olympic committees. Obviously the Russians are going to stay in Russia, but all the A-list stars from some non-Russian-dominated events might be able to entirely move elsewhere. There would probably be plenty of media coverage and support for these alternate-venue events, since they had the top athletes, and that's what people really want to see. 

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