SALT LAKE CITY – As Utah congressman calls on the United States to completely boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Utah organizers say they will not change their plans to watch the games in China.
In an interview with Dave and Dujanovic of KSL Newsradio, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT2) reinforced his stance on the 2022 boycott of the games.
Representative Stewart backed legislation in March that included plans for America to boycott the games if two things didn’t happen; if the Chinese government was not open about their treatment of Uyghurs, and if the United States could not influence China to close the forced labor camps. Stewart says those two changes never happened.
Stewart says he agrees with critics who say a boycott would be unfair to athletes, but he believes the United States needs to send a stronger statement to Chinese officials.
“There are millions of Chinese Uyghurs, Muslim Uyghurs, mainly put in concentration camps [and] forced labor camps. We have the absolutely malicious way they responded to COVID, and as a direct result of that we have millions of deaths around the world that were 100% preventable, ”Stewart told KSL NewsRadio.
The Utahns on their way to the Olympic Games
Despite the boycott call, Olympic organizers say they have no plans to change their plans, which include sending three members of the Salt Lake City-Utah Games committee to Beijing to observe the Games Olympic Games up close.
The CEO of the committee, Fraser Bullock, said: “We are in a [International Olympic Committee] IOC observer program to see behind the scenes how they run the games, ”Bullock said. “What has changed since 2002?
Bullock says the committee’s sole focus is to learn all it can to win a bid and stage successful games, especially since the process is very different from Salt Lake City who won the bid for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
“We know there are political issues, but that’s not our area,” he says.
Committee chair Catherine Raney Norman applauds the president’s diplomatic boycott, which still allows American athletes to compete in Beijing. She is a former Olympian and says members of the sports community have never forgotten the American boycott of the 1980 Games.
She says: “I can tell you that it still feels throughout the movement as raw as it was in 1980.”
The committee plans to organize events for the 20e anniversary of the 2002 Games in February, and Raney Norman believes the celebrations could convince the IOC that Salt Lake is seriously considering hosting more Winter Games.
“I think this is an opportunity for us to continue showing the IOC that for us it was not just 17 days in 2002, but something that we continued for 20 years,” she said.