Athleten Deutschland eV has asked the International Olympic Committee to distance itself from the organizing committee for the Beijing Winter Games. The statement by Yang Shu, the organizing committee’s deputy director general for international relations, caused the German sports association “anxiety and concern,” according to a press release on Thursday.
Yang on Tuesday threw up threats about statements made by foreign athletes during the Winter Games starting Feb. 4, when he pointed out that “any conduct or statement that goes against the Olympic spirit can be punished with specific punishment.” , especially when they violate Chinese laws and rules”.
Maximilian Klein, the representative for international sports policy at Athletes Germany, demands that the IOC now “should show its colors and protect the athletes. We expect that the IOC will clearly distance itself from the statements made by the organizing committee.” The IOC must explain how it will guarantee the rights and protection of the athletes. Athletes Germany called for a transparent procedure to resolve the consequences and risks of possible expressions of opinion and to take the pressure off the athletes.
It remains unclear what the significance of the IOC’s reference in its guidelines on Rule 50.2 of the Olympic Charter has to the host country China, according to which athletes are expected to “respect the relevant laws” when expressing their opinions. The IOC has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Observers see the statements made by the organizing committee as an attempt to dissuade foreign athletes from the idea of protesting about issues unpopular with the Chinese government in the run-up to the games. Before the Summer Games in Tokyo 2021, the IOC had defined in its guidelines on Rule 50.2 of the Olympic Charter that political expressions of opinion within the framework of the Games are permissible away from the opening and closing ceremonies, the playing field and the awards ceremony. In addition, German field hockey player Nike Lorenz was allowed to play with a rainbow-colored captain’s armband.