Opinion

Olympic Games in for a rude awokening, focus on wrong kind of ‘race’

The Olympic Games in Tokyo are doomed. Before the opening ceremony, before even the torch is lit, it’s not going to be OK. The Games, I’m afraid, just aren’t woke enough. Apologies to Tokyo and Japan — and #StopAsianHate and so on. But for the international left, sport no longer matters unless it can be used to win on Twitter and advance the War for Progress. 

Professional football can no longer be about the game. It must be a staging ground for raising awareness of racism and police brutality. Classrooms can no longer be about math and reading. They must be a nursery for implanting and implementing critical race theory. Now, the Olympics must be about anthems, swimming caps — and weed. 

During the US Olympic track and field trials, Gwen Berry refused to face the flag on the podium and stood with a disinterested mope, before breaking out a T-shirt she had clearly preplanned for the event should she find herself on the winner’s podium. The fact she had not won the hammer event — she finished third — did not deter her

She did, however, trend to the top of Twitter. Several American media outlets lavished praise on her. ESPN ran a full front-page splash — not on the winner of the competition, DeAnna Price, who broke her own world record in the hammer to qualify for the Olympic team. The story, the drama, the viral element was Gwen Berry. 

Gwen Berry displays an Activist Athlete shirt as she celebrates finishing third in the Women's Hammer Throw.
Gwen Berry displays an “Activist Athlete” shirt as she celebrates finishing third in the Women’s Hammer Throw.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

What was even more extraordinary about Berry’s stunt was that she claimed there was a large conspiracy to play the national anthem at the specific time that she was standing on the bronze finisher’s podium. The media, of course, mostly went along with this nonsense. 

Another controversy arose when American sprinter and Olympic gold-medal favorite Sha’Carri Richardson tested positive for marijuana use, to which she admitted. She accepted a one-month ban. This effectively eliminated her from competing in the 100-meter heats at the Olympics. There can be a debate about the rule, or if cannabis should fall under an international doping policy for the International Olympic Committee. Federal and state drug laws in the United States had nothing to do with Richardson’s suspension. Yet many in media and the left began to push the debate on decriminalization immediately. President Biden defended the suspension by stating the rules and saying that the athlete should have known to abide by them. 

It got racial, inevitably. Michael Eric Dyson, a noted professor and political commentator on race, took to Twitter to say: “Smoking weed ain’t the problem. It’s weeding out the hypocrisy of a nation that started a war on drugs to justify its assault on Black folk.” His tweet continued, “What we really need is to smoke out the racism that blunts the lives of too many of our people.” 

“Weeding out,” “blunts” — such wordplay! They don’t make you a professor for nothing, you know. 

The IOC is based out of Switzerland. The current president is German and the only American that sits on the governing board of the IOC is an African-American woman. That, of course, did not stop Dyson or several other media outlets and outrage mongers from using this incident as just another racial wedge to justify their petty grievances and causes. 

Another episode saw opinion columnists work themselves into a lather of indignation about swim caps. Yes, swim caps. FINA, the international water-sports body, had ruled out the use of Soul Cap, a swim cap designed for natural black hair and created by a black-owned brand, on the grounds that the cap does not fit the natural form of the head. Once again, the debate should be centered around the rights and wrongs of FINA’s policy. Oh, no. It became, natch, about structural racism in the United States. 

Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah attributed the ban to “white folks still trying to think of ways to make it harder for black people to swim,” in a since-deleted tweet. Once again, though, white folks cannot exclusively be blamed for the rule. FINA is not an American organization. It is overseen by Husain al-Musallam, a Kuwaiti national. He was elected FINA president last month. 

What these stories have in common is that none has to do with racism — unless, of course, you believe, as many seem to, that everything is racism. 

The anthem was not aimed at Gwen Berry, whatever she believes. Richardson’s suspension is not down to her race, nor is it down to harsh drug laws in the United States that target poor black communities. The ban on a certain type of swim cap was not about white people keeping black people out of swimming pools. 

Sha'Carri Richardson will not be competing at all in the Olympics this year.
Sha’Carri Richardson will not be competing at all in the Olympics this year after getting a one-month ban for testing positive for marijuana.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

However, once again, an event that is meant to bring peoples together in the name of sport must become a woke circus on a world stage where bad-faith actors can take advantage. The anthem will become another kneeling-type BLM controversy. The flag is to be treated as a racist symbol — perhaps as part of a political stunt from a Nike-sponsored athlete with a new range of sportswear coming out soon. These competitors should enjoy the spectacle they create. At this rate, they will be the only ones watching. 

From The Spectator US 




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