THE ATHLETES OR THE SLAVES? RABINER AGAINST OF BOYCOTTING OLYMPICS
- Igor Rabiner / Sport-Express
After the IOC prohibited Russia to perform in Pyongchang under its own flag and anthem, many people in the country, including high-profile politicians, called for a boycott of the 2018 Winter Olympics. In January, when this idea became especially popular, Igor Rabiner writes a tough column against the boycott. He states that the decision would indicate whether Russia would opt for a civilized “the-state-for-a-person” way, or a hard-line “person-for-the-state” one. The athletes, from the teenage figure skating superstars Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva, to veteran hockey giants Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk, could not be suddenly deprived of their lifetime dream because of the state pseudo patriotism. Rabiner insists that Russia itself was to blame for the IOC’s decisions, adding that the promotion of ex-Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko to Deputy Prime Minister is a confirmation of Russia doing everything against itself. He concludes that if the Russian athletes suddenly started refusing the Games “voluntarily”, they should not be called athletes, but state slaves.
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