Commentary: Diplomatic boycott will not halt global passion for Olympic Winter Games

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BEIJING, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- As the Beijing Winter Olympic Truce Resolution was adopted by the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, the Games was recognized as an opportunity to demonstrate the value of human solidarity, resilience and international cooperation.

Sport was recognized as a tool to bring the world together to overcome the epidemic, achieve peace, and promote dialogue and reconciliation.

With Winter Olympic and Paralympic test events for Beijing 2022 in full swing, calls for a diplomatic boycott and threats of not sending athletes to Beijing 2022 by some western politicians do not change the fact that the Games will be a gathering of the world's winter sports athletes.

The Olympic Games has never been about the politicians but rather athletes. As the Olympic Charter has noted, the Olympic Movement "reaches its peak with the bringing together of the world's athletes at the great sports festival, the Olympic Games."

President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Stanislav Pozdnyakov echoed that thought. "I would like to note that the Olympic movement is not a part of the global political system," he said. "We believe that sports must be distanced as much as possible from complicated political issues."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that a successful and splendid Olympic Games requires the concerted efforts of the big Winter Olympic family, and is not dependent on whether a handful of countries' government officials will attend or not.

It is the voice of the athletes that should be heard, respected and accepted when talking about the Olympics.

According to Beijing 2022 organizers, National Olympic Committees (NOCs) from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some European countries have submitted 14,206 registration applications as of November 17, including 1,528 applications from the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee alone.

In the meantime, athletes are sending out the same message with their actions and words: nothing can stop their aspirations for the Olympic Games.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin said athletes should not have to sacrifice a pivotal moment in their careers for political reasons.

"The Olympics is big, and it's something that you shoot for, and you don't want to miss it," the 26-year-old American said, explaining that the Beijing Winter Olympics "can actually bring hope to the world at a very difficult time."

After the test runs for bobsleigh and skeleton between October 5 and 27, German skeleton athlete and 2018 Olympic silver medalist Jaqueline Lolling said the track invokes "pure motivation and inspires you to compete at the highest level."

German bobsleigh head coach Rene Spies called the venue "architecturally outstanding" as it is "smoothly embedded in the landscape."

"Everything was perfectly organized," Spies added, calling the trip to China ahead of several European Cup events a success.

Bree Walker of Australia, who is set to make her Olympic debut in the newly-introduced women's monobob, or individual bobsledding, has also tested at the Yanqing National Sliding Center and commended the venue as "world class."

"If the facilities are anything to go off, I think these are going to be a spectacular Olympics," Walker added. "It's going to be anyone's game here in February."

Madagascar-born Alpine ski racer Mialitiana Clerc, the first Malagasy woman to compete at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, designed her Olympic competition suit for Beijing 2022 with the motivation to "inspire all Africans and inspire my followers."

The modern Olympic Games has always been one of the driving forces for peace and mutual understanding amid crises. Therefore, as the world still faces severe challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, people should cherish the opportunity to gather around and practise the Olympic motto of "Together."

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova made clear that Russia opposes the politicization of Beijing 2022. "We wish China the same success, not to succumb to provocative statements, but to organize everything in the name of sports and peace, on behalf of athletes and sports fans."

Enkhbat Badar-Uugan, secretary-general of the Mongolian National Olympic Committee, believes "it is wrong to boycott the Olympics in any way."

In the face of a diplomatic boycott, preparations for Beijing 2022 have not been affected, but have proceeded smoothly into their final stages. From October 5 to December 31, 10 international events, three international training weeks and two domestic test events are being held at eight competition venues in the three competition zones of Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, while the torch relay will be held in the three zones from February 2 to 4, 2022.

In 63 days, the Olympic flame will be lit again at the opening ceremony of Beijing 2022, bringing together hope, courage, peace and solidarity from around the world under the Olympic flag. China will once again realize its solemn commitment to the world. Enditem

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