Should the Biden Administration Send Athletes to the Winter Olympics?

November 28, 2021 Updated: November 29, 2021


In a little over two months from now, Beijing will host the Winter Olympics. Should the United States attend? This has been a question on the lips of many Americans, including prominent politicians, for quite some time. 

In April of this year, a number of conservative Republicans asked President Joe Biden to justify the United States’ participation in the Beijing games. He failed to provide a credible answer. Their question came at the very same time as the president was voicing his support for Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta, Georgia.

The MLB’s decision, it’s important to note, was in response to a controversial voting law. The Republican lawmakers accused the Biden administration of hypocrisy. Why support the MLB’s decision yet fail to acknowledge the abuses in China?

Seven months on from the Georgia controversy, Biden announced that the United States was seriously considering a diplomatic boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing China’s human rights abuses as the reason why.

However, such a move would only prevent American dignitaries, not American athletes, from attending the games. Is this really enough? The answer is an unequivocal no.

The old idiom, “go hard or go home,” applies here. By forbidding dignitaries from attending, but allowing athletes, what sort of message is being sent to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)?

An Olympics without American athletes would send a message—perhaps the strongest message in recent sporting history—to the world: The United States is still that “city on the hill” and still a shining beacon of hope.

An Undeserving Host for a Tarnished Event

Does communist China, under the control of Xi Jinping, really deserve to host the Olympics? Of course not. Nevertheless, some people believe that the United States should still attend, as it will provide a “platform for values both American and universal.” By forbidding athletes from attending, some say the United States “would lose the global symbolism of our young American heroes standing atop the medals podium, hands to their hearts, as ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ plays on Chinese soil.” I find this argument somewhat ridiculous.

By entering the enemy’s backyard, the United States is quite literally validating the CCP’s particular style of governance. The Chinese regime is carrying out a genocidal campaign in Xinjiang; it’s spreading harmful propaganda about the origin of COVID-19; it’s responsible for the recent cyberattacks that crippled thousands of organizations, including U.S. branches of government.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also has a lot to answer for. In 2015, when the IOC announced that Beijing would host the 2022 Winter Games, sports enthusiasts around the world were somewhat shocked. Why? Beijing made history by becoming the first city to host both the Summer (back in 2008) and Winter Games.

Moreover, the collective shock stemmed from a rather important fact: there is very little snow, the very thing needed for a number of winter sports, in Beijing. According to China’s state-run Global Times, the National Alpine Ski Center is busy creating artificial snow for the upcoming event. The IOC, we’re told, has “strict requirements for the size, thickness, hardness and density of snow particles for competition,” yet it still had the audacity to award Beijing the upcoming games.

As the journalist Kristin Capps noted back in 2015, shortly after China was awarded the event: “It’s a testament to the weirdness of the bidding process for the Olympic Games that an arid desert climate is not considered a disqualifying obstacle to hosting the Winter Games.”

Furthermore, the Olympics has a history of corruption, including illegal payoffs and payments.

Perhaps, some could argue that it’s time for a new Olympic Games—a Great Reset. What would it look like? First off, it would forbid violators of human rights from participating.

Biden still has time to forbid dignitaries and athletes from attending. Initially, he would receive a great degree of blowback from some sections of society, including a number of American athletes. However, in the long term, his decision would carry a great deal of weight. History would look favorably on his decision.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published, among others, by the New York Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, and The Spectator US. He covers psychology and social relations, and has a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.