Coach Pete

Expert advice for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches

Another Opinion from Australia

Games boycott no answer: Hackett

Grant Hackett ... wouldn't want to see a boycott.

Grant Hackett … wouldn’t want to see a boycott.
Photo: Getty Images

March 21, 2008 – 2:45PM

Australian swim team captain Grant Hackett says boycotting the Olympics has never been the correct solution as the pressure on China mounts following its response to unrest in Tibet.

His comments come a day after five-time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe said he did not believe athletes should boycott the Beijing Games.

China’s human rights record has again come under scrutiny, with its crackdown on protesters in the Himalayan region leading to calls ranging from snubbing the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics to a full boycott of the Beijing Games.

However, Hackett said he believed boycotting the Olympics was never an appropriate response and the decision for countries to skip the 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles Games on political grounds had been counterproductive.

“I don’t think that is the answer to the problems, to be totally honest,” he said before the Olympic swimming trials starting tomorrow in Sydney.

“I would not like to see people do that.

“I don’t think that was the answer back in the ’80s and I don’t think it is a sustainable resolution to the problem.

“So, in saying that this team will not boycott, certainly that has been said by (Australian Olympic Committee president) John Coates, it has been said by (Australia swim head coach) Alan Thompson.

“I guess what issues escalate over there in the next few months, well hopefully that does not happen … and we can be focused on the positive things that are happening in China with the Olympics coming there and the great performance of athletes.

“And hopefully that issue (Tibet) does die down a little bit.”

The AOC has vowed Australia will not boycott the Games despite a renewed focus on China’s human rights record and a call to do so from some athletes and Tibetan groups.

Thorpe yesterday agreed with the AOC’s call.

“The Games is a peacetime event, it’s a peaceful event,” he said while in Canberra for an indigenous health summit.

China has denied using deadly force to quell the unrest, saying the only deaths so far were 13 “innocent civilians” killed by rioters in Lhasa on Friday while 325 people were injured.

But the exiled Tibetan government believes the death toll is more like 30, and possibly as high as 100.

April 7, 2008 - Posted by | Coaches, Masters Swimming, Parents, Triathlons

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