An Introduction: Why The Beijing Winter Olympics Felt Weird
The Beijing Winter Olympics felt a bit strange - that is an understatement. Why? The answer is simple. I'll have you picture a vast stadium. A massive structure that appears from miles away. Moreover, the design resembles a vast nest with steel and metal beams crisscrossing the other—a true beast of steel and metal and architectural genius.
But China is no stranger to world-renowned feats like this. And, with the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, it is no secret that the Winter Olympics, this time, feel strange.
The Birds Nest stadium in China is one of the best projects. The artistry, the execution, and the ideas that formed this stadium are awe-inspiring. What's more, the stadium can hold almost a hundred thousand people. Eighty thousand people, to be exact. Almost as if it was alive and breathing. Even after five grueling years of construction (and several deaths alleged by the western press and that are denied by the Chinese government), the Birds Nest stadium was, in fact, an inauguration of Beijing's National Stadium in 2008. With that said, let's look at the global pressure to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The Rising Tension
In the backdrop of international tensions that surrounded the Games, glimpses of Vladimir Putin could be seen in the audience. Safely couped up in Russia's box, the Russian president observed the ceremony.
The opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics was coming to its end. So, the Olympic torch was passed to Dinigeer Yilamujiang, the 21-year-old cross-country skier. Yilamujiang is a member of China's Uyghur ethnic minority.
It is worth noting that Dinigeer Yilamujiang isn't the first Uyghur to compete in the games. Kamaltürk Yalqun carried the Olympic torch in 2008 as a 17-year-old.
The Global Pressure
Imagine performing with 160,000 eyes are on you—watching every move you make without hesitation and having esteemed guests, like the leaders of various nations, present to watch what you have to offer. So, think of the anxiety, the rush you may feel. And the sheer anticipation of waiting to go out hear the crowd cheer for you is enough to drive anyone mad. What an exhilarating experience this must be. Isn't it? Well, maybe.
China's record - when it comes to the Olympics is truly exceptional! Bagging 635 medals in total, 261 of which are gold. The country itself is on another level. However, some recent events in the past have taken place in the 'real' world that may have to be blamed for having caused tensions between China and the rest of the world's countries.
The timing of the Olympics was also considered iffy as the countries were still fearful of Covid-19 and hesitant to send their best athletes as a result. They feared a lockdown in case things spiraled-- but thankfully, the Beijing Winter Olympics didn't cause any of that.
Of course, the leading cause of tension is none other than the diplomatic boycott by numerous other nations.
Despite these, China sure does know how to throw a ball! The Winter Olympics of 2022 is no less than any other arena globally. Set against the beautiful backdrop of snow and chilly weather, the Winter Olympics are truly a sight. The size of the feat itself, not many nations can brag about.
How Other Nations Reacted
One of the leading nations taking a stand against China, as of now, is the United States. The US did not send an official government envoy to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. However, the US athlete competed in the games as per usual. And the same is the case with all the other nations, including Canada, Australia, The UK, Denmark, and Japan. All these nations did not have official government envoys, but their athletes still competed in the games. This was another weird or strange thing about the Olympics this year. Perhaps one thing to note here is that these countries opted to not send some of their best athletes because of a fear of Covid-19 lockdown in China due to the Winter Olympics.
The Beijing Winter Olympics: International Effect
Indeed all the world's leading nations not sending their envoys to China would have affected the games, but, sadly, no.
The opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Games was a feat in its own right. The symbolic light shows the theme that gave messages of peace, growth, and new beginnings. But all this seemed too on-the-nose. The Beijing Winter Olympic games already started amid global tensions, including violation of human rights, the suffering of lives, and absolute authoritarian rule.
China denies all the accusations. The country is vehemently using this chance to promote a softer side of their country. Strikingly, the opening ceremony starred younger people, teens, and children. In addition, there were no flashy celebrity sightings or cameos in the opening ceremony, which has not happened in the past games.
This theme of using children was present throughout the ceremony. The participants were children, smiling cutely and waving to the massive crowd. The montages portrayed small children and toddlers who were seen skiing and running in the snow. This show of innocence was the most striking thing to watch. Strangely, children were the main face of the show. How about that?
We can agree that the Olympic games remain entertaining even with a problematic backdrop. But it is an undeniable fact that the Beijing Winter Olympics felt strange. I believe it is vital to understand the history behind the movements against it. Moreover, as humans, we need to have a sense of brotherhood and compassion, which the Games provide, every four years. Then, isn't it normal to want to boycott an event held somewhere with plenty of human rights violations recently?
I hope you liked this article. It has been pressing in recent times, and I wanted to share the complete picture. I hope you enjoyed learning why so many countries boycotted the Beijing Winter Olympics and why it felt strange. In the end, as you read above, it came down to many factors combined.
Want to be more knowledgeable? There's more to read, like the Toxic Work Culture In China or Face Recognition in Python. Stay tuned for more exciting content to come soon.