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Speed skating great urges US to ignore Games boycott calls

China Daily | Updated: 2021-06-10 09:19
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Apolo Ohno.

American speed skating great Apolo Ohno has urged the United States to resist calls for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, insisting the US should instead focus on the "purity of sport" by competing at the Games.

Some members of the US Congress have called for a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on human rights grounds.

But Ohno, who is the country's most decorated Winter Olympian with eight medals, insists the US Olympic team should be allowed to compete in the Chinese capital regardless of political tensions.

"I believe that America as a team should go and represent the absolute best that we can," Ohno, who won short-track golds at Salt Lake City 2002 and Turin 2006, told US media outlet Fox Business.

"We try to win in every single circumstance and situation.

"My passion for sport to go beyond the borders and the politicized beliefs is something that I hold dearly to my heart.

"I just want to see the purity of sport again.

"We want to see and celebrate and cheer for our countrymen and women who go and compete, regardless of where the Olympic Games are being held."

The Olympic Charter requires the maintenance and promotion of independence and political neutrality of Olympic sports.

United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) chief executive Sarah Hirshland said last month that a boycott of Beijing 2022 was "not the solution to geopolitical issues", and the USOPC has consistently rebuffed calls for a boycott.

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics kick off next February in Beijing and Zhangjiakou, Hebei province.

Beijing 2022 has completed all the 12 competition venues, across three zones in downtown Beijing, its northwest Yanqing district and co-host Zhangjiakou, laying a solid foundation for the Winter Olympics to run from Feb 4-20.

Xinhua

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