China accuses US of paying off athletes to ‘sabotage and interfere with the Beijing Winter Olympics’
US at the Winter Olympics
As the Beijing Winter Olympics inches closer, the tension between the superpowers, China and the United States continues to rise. Despite the global pandemic ravaging the world, the IOC has decided to go ahead with the Games given the success of the Tokyo Olympics last year. As the World gears up for yet another stellar show, the hosts suspect foul play from economic and sporting rivals, the US.
China Daily, an English-language newspaper run by the ruling Chinese Communist Party cited unnamed sources as saying that the United States has a plan to “incite athletes from various countries to express their discontent toward China, play passively in competition and even refuse to take part”.
While infections among the organising committee members soar, the organisers are confident of pulling off a great show. All eyes will be on China as the controversies around the event, especially the boycott by the US and its allies along with the rapidly spreading Omicron variant has put the Winter Games in the global spotlight.
China confident of dealing with any “sabotage” at the Beijing Winter Olympics
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters on Saturday that the report has “exposed the real intention of some Americans to politicise sports and to sabotage and interfere with the Beijing Winter Olympics.” The spokesperson added that he strongly condemned the attempts by some Americans to “buy off” athletes and “cause trouble” during the Games, asserting that these attempts are “doomed to fail”.
The US on the other hand is adamant at its stand. A U.S. Embassy spokesman told Reuters by email on Saturday, “We were not and are not coordinating a global campaign regarding participation at the Olympics. U.S. athletes are entitled to express themselves freely in line with the spirit and charter of the Olympics, which includes advancing human rights.”
The Winter Olympics are officially set to kick off on February 4, but the action actually gets underway two days earlier, on February 2. The Opening Ceremony will take place at the National Stadium in Beijing on Friday. The Beijing Winter Games will see 109 medal events being given out across 15 sports.